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Jesus gained authority over sickness and disease as well as over sin and death, and He has given us His authority to heal the sick and to cast out demons. Therefore, He expects us to exercise the authority He has given us when we pray for the sick. This is why we are looking at some prayer styles that allow us to exercise this authority. Some authority prayer styles include:
We discussed the first two in previous lessons, so now let's look at the rest of them.
CASTING OUT INFIRMITY
There are spirits that cause sickness and infirmity. In fact, most of the people who I pray for have some sort of spirit causing the infirmity that needs to either be cast out or have its assignment against the person canceled. There seems to be demonic involvement in a lot of sicknesses. So when I am not sure what is causing a person's physical problem, I make sure that I command any spirits that may be involved in this infirmity to leave.
When Jesus prayed for the sick, a lot of times He healed people by casting out demons. If the demon was the cause of the physical problem, the physical problem will often go away when the demon leaves. The Bible makes it very clear that demons can cause many different types of health problems. Most of the time, the Bible does not call the demons who cause sickness "spirits of infirmity" -- it just calls them demons. Sometimes the Bible calls the demon by the name of the malady it causes, such as "a deaf and mute spirit" (Mark 9:25 NIV) or "deaf and dumb spirit" (Mark 9:25 NKJV).
But the Bible does not use the term "spirit of infirmity" very often. The only time we find the words "spirit of infirmity" in the Bible is in Luke 13:11, where it says, "And behold, there was a woman who had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bent over and could in no way raise herself up." (The NIV translation does not name the demon, it says "...who had been crippled by a spirit...").
The term "spirit of infirmity" is a popular term today, but not in the strict sense of Luke 13:11. Instead, the term is used to refer to demons that make people sick. Different people use the term differently, so let me describe how I uses this term and how it effects my praying for the sick.
I believe that there are two different types of demonic sickness. One is caused by low-level demons whose only assignment is to torment people and make them sick. These demons have no particular right to torment a person with sickness, infirmity or disease, they just do it because they can get away with it -- no one is making them stop. This type of demon is a freeloader and it has no right to be there. But it will remain until someone comes along and makes it leave. And this is what I am talking about when I use the term "spirit of infirmity."
Spirits of infirmity are "free loaders" -- they don't have any sort of legitimate right to make the person sick. Let me use an example from professional hockey to demonstrate the way freeloaders operate. Ed and I are season ticket holders for the local team. We have really great seats in one of the more expensive and popular sections of the arena. Some people who do not have these great seats look for empty (used) seats in our section. If they find a pair of empty seats, they will come and sit in them, even though they did not pay for the ticket and have no right to be there. When the person who has the ticket comes to the seat, they politely challenge the freeloader's right to be in their seat by saying something like, "Excuse me, these are my seats" and showing their tickets. At that time the "freeloader" will vacate the seats because they had no right to be there. But if no one comes and challenges their right to be in those seats, they stay there the whole game.
Spirits of infirmity behave the same way. They have no right to make a person sick, but they will come and make someone sick anyhow. And they will stay there causing health problems until someone tells them to leave. Since spirits of infirmity don't really have a right to be there, it is very easy to get rid of them. You simply use Jesus' power and authority to tell them to leave. They pretty much have to go when you command them. Because they don't have anything to attach to, they can't try to hang on and resist you.
There is another type of demon that can cause sickness and infirmity. But this demon is not a freeloader, it has some sort of legitimate reason, or "legal right," to torment the person. That right may have been passed down from sins of ancestors, or from some sort of soul tie or ritual curse. Or the person may have opened the door to the demon through some type of sin or unforgiveness. There are many different reasons a demon can "cite" as their "legal right" to that person. If they have a legal right, they won't usually just leave when you tell them to. They will resist and try to hold on to the person until that legal right is taken away. Ministering to the type of situation is more involved than simply commanding a spirit of infirmity to leave, and we will look at it in more detail when we talk about deliverance.
FINDING/REMOVING ROOTS THAT ENABLE SICKNESS
Sometimes there are reasons that people are sick, and we have to deal with the reason, not just with the symptoms. There are many different things that can cause sickness.
If the cause is a demon, then we have to discover why the demon has attached to the person and remove the things that the demon is holding on to. If the person is harboring unconfessed/unrepented sin, then we want to help them repent. If the person has been involved in any type of occult or pagan dedications, we want to help them renounce these things. If the person is under a curse, we want to break the curse. If the person is holding unforgiveness in their heart, we want to help them forgive. Once we deal with anything that the demonic spirit claims is their "right" to be there, then it is very easy to get rid of the demon by commanding it to leave. First we do inner-healing "ministry" to get the person free of whatever the demon holds on to, then we pray in authority to get rid of the demon.
However, not all sickness and infirmities are caused by demons. Sometimes bad things just happen to people -- they get caught in fire and they get burned, or they get hit by a car and incur serious injuries, or maybe they get around someone who has something contagious and they catch it, etc. In those cases, there is nothing to remove, we simply use the authority Jesus has given us to command healing, to command sickness to leave or to command the body part to work properly.
However, some sicknesses and infirmities are caused because of a person's lifestyle or bad habits. For instance, some people are sick with heart conditions because of their lifestyle and eating habits. One example is when a person has high blood pressure because that person eats fatty and salty foods. If you pray for the person and their blood pressure goes down, it will start to go up again if they don't change their lifestyle and eating habits. God is not into "futility," and often He does not heal someone who is making themselves sick until they become willing to change their behavior. For instance, God is not likely to heal someone who has lung cancer if they intend to continue smoking cigarettes after they get better. But once they become willing to give up the bad habit that made them sick, then God is more likely to heal them.
There are times when the person has no choice in the matter, and God does punish them for that. When the person's environment is making them sick and they have no control over it, God does not hold that against them. For instance, a person may have digestive disorders because they eat a diet that is too starchy and too fatty. But if the person is destitute financially and cannot afford to eat healthier food, God is not going to withhold their healing because of what they eat.