This article is about setting the demonically oppressed free and “ proclaiming liberty to the captives” (Luke 4:18) using deliverance prayers. It is not about the demonically ‘possessed’ but about the everyday spiritual battle which Christians face against “the dragon and his angels” (Rev. 12:7) in these ominous times!
Immediately after my diaconal ordination, 11 years ago, mysteriously and providentially God brought spiritually afflicted people into my life that I might help them. The truth be known, I was afraid and hesitant to help them, but then God gave me an image of a sheep with a wolf [demon] ripping into its flesh; plus He also let me know that I could either be the hired hand fleeing when the wolf comes, or be the shepherd who lays down my life for the sheep;
“The hired hand is not the shepherd and doesn’t own the sheep. So when he sees a wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock!” (Jn. 10:12)
Many exorcists will tell you that the most common occurrence is not the demonically possessed, but the demonically oppressed/obsessed. This is “ground zero” of where the battle between “St. Michael and his angels” (Rev. 12:7) occurs against the dragon and his angels. Therefore, I would like to share a few of those experiences from the different parishes I have been at in case they benefit someone.
The Bad Samaritan
One morning many years ago I sensed the Lord asking me to place Fr. Gabriel Amorth’s (Vatican’s exorcist) deliverance prayers inside my car. These prayers can be found at the end of the book, “An Exorcist Tells His Story,” (Order here) and they are for the use of lay people. This was years before Fr. Chad Ripperger put out his great book, “Deliverance Prayers for Use By The Laity” (Order here). I simply obeyed. In the evening I went to do my daily holy hour, but before entering the chapel I saw a girl being prayed over by a lay group of holy people I knew. I could see the young woman was sad and spiritually afflicted, and in my fear and selfish attitude I said to myself in my mind, “See no evil, hear no evil, just keep on going, don’t stop.”
When I came out of my holy hour, they were still praying for her. Like the parable in the gospel of the Good Samaritan, I walked by like the priest and Levite (deacons of the Old Testament) and simply repeated what I had said earlier. When I reached the door of my car I heard an inner voice in the depths of my heart, “coward!” I knew it was the Lord so I reached inside my car and got the deliverance prayers. I went back and asked if I could help with special prayers, and a blessing, and they said, “Yes!”
By now she was in a lot of anguish. Compelled by the Holy Spirit, I prayed the deliverance prayers plus a blessing, and she seemed very at peace when I finished. I then proceeded to leave since I didn’t want to get involved as there was plenty of “accompaniment” and pastoral care.
A few days later I saw those people who were praying for her, they related that she had recently given birth to a baby, and that every time her baby cried she couldn’t stand his cry, and therefore she hated the baby. She had a roommate who had a boyfriend who was a real warlock who had cast a spell so that he could marry her, but also so that she would abandon the baby. She said midway through the deliverance prayers she saw something dark leave her stomach and that as soon as she got home she could hold and love her baby even when he cried.
I received an email from the parish that the priests were not available, and asking if I could help a parishioner. I called the person and set up an appointment. The parent brought their teenager who related in tears and much distress that she could see shadows, dead souls, nightmares, etc. I asked how long ago this had been occurring, and the teenager said it started when a cursed object was given to her when she was younger. (This had been discerned in spiritual direction some years earlier). The object was burnt but the side effects had continued. With the parent’s permission, I started praying the deliverance prayers and midway she let out an emotional sigh of relief and smiled so I paused to ask her what happened. She said “it” had lifted, and she now felt at peace and joy for the first time in a very long time. Her facial countenance had changed and the happiness was visible in her face. We finished the prayers and I gave her some guidelines of living a prayerful and sacramental life. A couple of weeks later she was volunteering at church as a totally new and normal teenager.
Unbaptized 3 Year Old
Ten years ago, the parish receives a call and no one is available so the call is forwarded to me. The parents explain that their unbaptized three-year-old claims to see the devil and begins to cry uncontrollably every time. They are from the neighboring mega Protestant church and their pastor told them that Catholics know what to do! I meet with the couple but as the three-year-old comes into the church, she sees a giant statue of St. Michael the Archangel slaying the devil, at the entrance, and tells her mom in tears, “That’s the one! That’s the one!” even though she had never been inside a Catholic Church. I used the pre-baptismal anointing with the Oil of the Catechumen along with the designated prayer, and the child went from afflicted to peaceful tranquility. She never again complained of seeing the devil. For the unbaptized, the prayer with the oil produces a spiritual “cleansing and strengthening,” (CCC 1294) effect in their “struggle between the flesh and the spirit.” (RCIA paragraph 90) plus paragraph 100 explains that “for particular reasons, a priest or deacon may confer the anointing privately…”Of course all this should be done with the permission of the pastor and the minor exorcism prayers for the unbaptized in section # 94 should be the first option.
The US Bishops have put out a new book on deliverance prayers (Order here) which the lay faithful can pray. I have already met some lay people who prefer these prayers because the prayers are gentler when praying them for themselves. Finally, for the clergy, keep in mind what the new rite of exorcism states concerning helping lay people with deliverance prayers,
“…the faithful, who think themselves victims of evildoing, of bad luck, or of a curse brought by others upon them, their dear ones, or their goods… He should not deny them spiritual help.” (1999 De Exorcismis et Supplicationibus Quibusdam)