"And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." - Joel 2:32
And strangely, the depression provided comfort. I could physically feel it blanketing me like a cloak. And it's okay that it's there, because I'm not to blame for my circumstances - God did this, or my boss, or my spouse, or my parents. Or if it was my fault, what could I do about it now? I was winning at some point there, but life happened, and now any hope for getting out of this situation is circling the drain. Like Solomon said in Ecclesiastes, "Meaningless, meaningless, everything is meaningless!" At least I have heaven to look forward to, so I guess I'll just bide my time with the hand I've been dealt until I reach that place of bliss.
Despite the amazing things that I had been blessed with in my life, all the books I'd read, the freedom classes and programs I'd attended, the songs I heard on the radio every day, and the Word of God I read regularly, this is the place I'd found myself in.
But then I saw a video on YouTube titled, "How Demons Can Cause Negative Thinking" and decided to check it out. Derek Prince, a pastor who specialized in deliverance ministry until his passing in 2003, had a similar period of depression that he couldn't shake, despite prayer and fasting, and reading the Word. To become free, he found Isaiah 61:3's reference to putting on "the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness," and learned that 80% of the battle is realizing that his depression came from a person (demon), not himself. There are some areas of bondage that originate from our earthly flesh and sin nature, but many times a demon is responsible for the onslaught of negative emotions - depression, anger, loneliness, fear - that we allow into our thought life. And if we permit those negative emotions to take root through agreement, it can take us down a dangerous path.
The other 20% of the way to deliverance comes from calling on the name of the Lord (Joel 2:32). So as Derek led the audience in prayer, I prayed his prayer along with them:
"Lord Jesus Christ, I believe you are the son of God and the only way to God. That you died on the cross for my sins and rose again from the dead. I now confess to you any sins for which you have made me conscious, and for all sins committed by my ancestors. (Confess any sins the Holy Spirit brings to your mind). Lord, I repent of all sins I have ever committed. I hate them and I turn from them. I turn to you Lord Jesus for mercy and forgiveness.
If I have been involved in the occult, I repent and I renounce it. I severe myself from it through the blood of Jesus. If I have occult objects in my possession, I commit myself to get rid of them.
Lord, I forgive any person who has ever harmed or wronged me. I forgive them, just as you forgive me. (Name the persons you need to forgive. The one that is hardest is the one you most need to say.).
Lord, to the best of my ability, I have met your conditions and I now claim your promise: "Whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be delivered." I am calling on you now. In the name of the Lord Jesus, deliver me from all evil spirits. I hate them. They are not my friends. They are my enemies and I command them to go from me now, in the name of Jesus."
Praying over the audience in commanding the demons present to leave, Derek said something I had never heard before: "He is not your friend. You hate him. He has to go. Get out!"
What a strange thing to say! Of course he is not your friend. But the following morning, while driving to work, I went into my place of depression as I prepared for another difficult day of work. And I felt myself "putting on a cloak" as I mentally shifted into my now familiar state of depression. But something interesting happened - it wasn't there! I could physically feel that it was gone, and from everything I had heard the night before in the video, it all suddenly made sense. It was a spirit that I had allowed to become part of my identity, even if it was destructive. And it was surprisingly difficult to let go - I even found myself "missing" the feeling when I realized it was gone, because it was an easy excuse to remain in my present situation. This aligns to other accounts of demonic oppression I had read about, where the first step in casting out the spirit is that the person has to want it to leave.
Do you have any demonic spirits that have become part of your identity? Demons with names like Anger, Depression, Fear, Rebellion, Pride, Loneliness, or Rejection? Or maybe they are "familiar" spirits that have been passed on to you from your family line with a history of addiction, mental illness, or dealing with the occult. Pray the prayer I shared above, and tell it to go. He is not your friend. You hate him. And invite your true friend, the Holy Spirit, to come into that space in it's place, so you can experience the fullness of joy in Christ.
(For more resources and help with your freedom journey, visit Gateway Church's Freedom page here.You can also view Derek Prince's deliverance video in Part 1 and Part 2, or contact me for any other help you may need!)
"Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom."
- 2 Corinthians 3:17