David Houston's

Inner Healing and Deliverance


Doug Woolley




There is a tremendous need to understand from the Bible how to set the captives free.  Doctrinally, the Bible says that we have authority over demons, but in reality we do not always walk in this victory.


Why Have the Captives Not Been Set Free?


Luke 4:41 says that Jesus prayed with authority and great faith for people, and many demons came out and manifested themselves.  Sometimes manifestations are a result of the great anointing and faith of the individual praying for someone.  David Houston, a faithful pastor for 10 years, now sometimes sees manifestations primarily because he has more experience and greater faith and anointing.  As a result, the demons have left.  David admitted that in his early ministry years he prayed for people to be set free from demons, yet in reality, the demons probably never even came to the surface.

Mark 1:22,23 says "And they were amazed at His teaching; for He was teaching them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. And just then there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit; and he cried out".  As Jesus taught with authority, the demons cried out through the man.  When we teach or pray without authority, demons will not come out.  "We may have known in our heads, yes, behold, He has given us power and authority over all demons, upon serpents and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy and nothing shall injure us.  We have known it in our head, but the anointing has not been there to discern what the demon was, what his name was, and to break the roots, and the anointing wasn't there to drive him out".  Jesus was teaching with authority and just then, not before, but just then the man with the unclean spirit cried out.  This man had probably been in the synagogue for years and had heard teachings similar to those of the Messiah, but never had he heard someone teach with authority.

The anointing within Jesus caused the demons to cry out.  Often, David will be led to ask the person he is ministering to raise their hands and to sing "there is power in the blood of Jesus".  This would torment the demon and make him so uncomfortable that the demon would come out.  "When Jesus was teaching with authority, the demon spoke up; it had never spoken up before then.  "Many times we do not pray with authority and that is why we do not overcome the power of the enemy.

Luke 10:19 is one of the main verses to stand on in the ministry of inner healing and deliverance: "Behold, I have given you authority to tread upon serpents and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall injure you".  The word "tread" is a war term.  We need to be operating in this authority.  Although this authority in Jesus name is available to every born‑again Christian, "yet, most of us, when we're just born‑again, unless we're baptized in the Holy Spirit, unless we've been trained in this ministry, unless we have been trained in the anointing, and the anointing has been developed on our life, we are not going to get the job done in many cases.  Now the grace of God can come in amazing situations.  We are going to look at situations that are absolutely amazing and break every pattern and method.  God is not limited to methods... but we want to try to get a hold of some principles.  "Many great men of God such as Norvel Hayes, Kenneth Hagin, and Oral Roberts and others have seen miraculous success in setting people free because they have been in the ministry for 35 years and there is a powerful anointing on their life.  "They may not have to know a lot of principles of breaking roots; it's just the anointing and stature.  We can't just move in the spirit like Kenneth Hagin Sr. can.  I think that's part of the mistake that the body of Christ is making.  We have heard their success stories and we've gotten in there and said, 'bless God, I'll do it that way,' and haven't seen hardly any success that way.  We've got to get a hold of some principles.  We definitely need the anointing.  We're not going to get the job done without the anointing."

According to the Bible, it's the anointing that breaks the yoke in inner healing, deliverance, and breaking of curses.  We can't just see our pastor do it or hear about it on a tape, and then try to break curses and other things.  We need to have the anointing.  If we don't have the anointing, then we need to get with someone who has it and watch it operate.  We need to be trained.  Jesus trained his disciples and then he sent them out.  "The anointing is the power of the Holy Spirit‑‑the might, the ability, the enablement from the Holy Ghost‑‑the presence of God."


Demons and Discernment


Mark 9:17‑29 tells a story about a man who brought to Jesus his son who was possessed with a demonic spirit.  The disciples could not cast it out, but Jesus did:  "He rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, 'You deaf and dumb spirit, I command you, come out of him and do not enter him again'" (Mark 9:25).  There is a consecration of power in prayer [and fasting].  Often we can discern the demonic spirit and his name as a result of praying and fasting, and being sharp in the spirit.  Sometimes we can command the demon to tell us his name; other times we can get the name from a word of knowledge by the Holy Ghost.

The demon was a thief that took the speech that belonged to the boy.  Demons will steal your peace, confidence, wealth, health, and anything that they can get at.  Second, the demon was an attention getter, just trying to put fear in others.  The demon will say "this is my house, and I'm not coming out, and if you try to make me then I'll come inside of you or tear this house apart".  They will try to bluff us.  You need to know your authority and the Scriptures and that the gifts of the spirit will be in you and the other counselor with you.  Rarely, should we ever counsel alone. It is not smart to counsel alone.  "There is much more discernment when someone else is with us".  While one person is reading Scriptures and coming against the demon, the other person is softly praying in tongues and discerning.  After a while, the two people can switch places like a "tag‑team" competition.  Not only does the one get help since the Bible says that "two get a better reward for their labor than one," but we are able to practically train or get trained in this ministry.  We need to get together with others who are trained in the anointing.  Thirdly, the demon was trying to kill the boy in fire and water.  Fourth, the demon was trying to bring chaos in the God‑ordained family.

Fifth, the demon only came out after being spoken to in faith.  Jesus cast out only one demon.  How many would we have cast out?  "You deaf spirit, come out of him in the name of Jesus; You dumb spirit, you spirit of epilepsy, you foaming spirit come out of him in Jesus' name, you spirit of insanity come out of him in the name of Jesus, you violent spirit come out in Jesus' name".  Jesus had the discernment on the demon and got it out.  Many of us have had the attitude, "I'm really not sure, so I'm going to break some curses, I'm going to pray for a little inner healing, throw in a little deliverance‑‑ pray for four or five things and we'll be sure to cover it.  Whatever is there, I know we're going to get it.  No harm.  If it wasn't there, fine‑‑no problem; if it was, we got it".  When we "cry wolf" so many times, people lose faith.  If a pastor tries to cast 15 demons out and the person is still not changed, then he will think that "the whole ministry [of inner healing and deliverance] is just a fluke".  We must wait for the discernment of the problem.  "We owe it to the Word of God; we owe it to the Spirit; we owe it to ourselves and to the victim to find out what the problem is‑‑ to have the discernment and then the faith will be in our heart and then to come against one thing.  If you only know one thing, then only come against one thing.  Don't shoot a bunch of bump shots out there, because you're doing damage doing that.  People have lost faith in this ministry because they have seen so much of that bump shot shooting.  Amen.  Do you know what I'm saying‑‑Very important."


Can Christians Have Demons?


A Christian cannot be totally "possessed" by a demon because a Christian has the Holy Spirit inside of him.  However, he can be oppressed by and influenced by a demon living inside his body.  This does not mean that he is possessed.


How and When to Administer Deliverance?


James 4:7 says "submit therefore to God.  Resist the devil and he will flee from you".  If after being prayed for by several counselors and a person is still not free, then the reason is probably because they have not first submitted themselves to God and then resisting the devil.  We submit to God by getting into God's Word and meditating on it and letting faith arise in us and possessing by faith what Jesus has done for us in our problem area.  We can really hurt some people (especially young believers) by not using wisdom and by telling them that they have a demon when they are not ready to hear it.  David says that many submitted to him to pray for them because they respect his leadership, but they did not get free because they did not have the conviction and faith, or the demon did not come out because they were not walking in the spirit to keep it out.

David will immediately teach a new born Christian the Word of God and how to walk in the Spirit rather than casting a demon out.  The Word is first place in his church, not deliverance. The initial teaching to a new‑born Christian is walking in the Word, and then as they start doing that and reach out to possess their inheritance in God and they start tripping and stumbling then they will come to the counselor and have a conviction that something is wrong and that they need prayer.  They then need to be taught a little bit about curses, deliverance, and inner healing, possibly from the Firm Foundation book.  After they have been informed then they should pray and fast for discernment with the counselor.  After this, then prayer can be administered.  Although there are exceptions to the rule, the rule is to teach the captive the Word and inform him of the ministry and what to expect.  They will then desire to be set free.  They must also learn how to resist and to walk out their deliverance.  Once a demon is cast out, we need to not only pray that the Holy Spirit will fill all the empty spots where the demons were, but we need to practically tell them how to walk out their deliverance by getting into the Word and developing the fear of the Lord.  "It's critical in this ministry that we teach people to resist after the deliverance has happened."




"We have not understood the power of curses".  Many times we just need to break one curse in order to set someone free.  "Many times the curse is the root that the demon can hold on to.  Many times I have prayed for deliverance and have not gotten anywhere till I discerned the curse, explained it to the person in‑depth where they understood what it was and how the thing comes on, and if they were walking in agreement with the curse they repented of the action and thought pattern, then we broke the curse and the demon left immediately; but we could not get the demon out until we got to the curse.  You've got to discern this in their lives."  Mental insanity and other emotional diseases have curses as well as demons 99% of the time.  Alcoholism, adultery, lust, and divorce often involve curses also that must be spoken to in Jesus' name and broken before they will be set free.

The Word of God Exposes Demons


Ps. 119:130 says "the unfolding of Thy word gives light".  Jesus unfolded the Word, and the demon was exposed in the man in the synagogue in Mark 1:23.  Jesus was speaking under the anointing with the Holy Ghost and brought light to the people.  As a result, demons were exposed.  People usually never realize that they have a curse, or a demon, because the Word of God has never been unfolded enough in their life.  Instead, they think that the minor disorder in them is "just the way they are".  It is not normal to have nightmares all the time.  The Word of God needs to come strongly into the person to expose the problem.  The devil has taken much of our possessions in our soul, and we need to proclaim the year of jubilee in taking back what is rightfully ours in Jesus.  In Ps. 23:3, King David said that The Lord is his Shepherd and "He restores my soul".

Many times a person will not be set free unless he is rooted and grounded in the Word, even after curses have been broken.  After the Word is laid as a foundation, its easy to expose demons and to get rid of them.  Teaching people how to walk in the Word is primary in this ministry.  Jesus said in John 14:23, "if anyone loves Me, he will keep My word".  When a person comes to David asking for counsel and deliverance from a demon of fear, he asks him, "are you reading your Bible everyday, are you meditating on the Word of God, have you memorized 2 Tim. 1:7".  After the response is "no, I really, haven't been reading the Word as I ought to," David will angrily respond saying, "well, what are you doing in my office then?  Get out of here and go do what I've told you and then come back and I'll pray for your deliverance.  I'm not just throwing these things out wasting my time.  I'm not trying to entertain you on Sunday morning.  Go back and do what I told you".  We need to get serious about the Word of God, otherwise the demons will not be serious about us.  David does not usually pray for people to get set free unless they are walking in the Word of God and doing all that they know to do in the Word.  Otherwise they will put their faith and trust in the prayer for deliverance and inner healing rather than in the Word.


Holy Spirit is not Limited to Methods


Acts 19:11‑17 tells how Paul performed extraordinary miracles by just having his handkerchiefs or aprons carried from him to the sick and "diseases left them and the evil spirits went out."  We cannot put the Holy Spirit in a "box" by limiting how He will perform miracles and deliverance.  We cannot be trained in one hour how to cast out all the devils.  We can learn some principles and from testimonies, but we need to get with someone who knows how to administer deliverance and watch the Holy Spirit move because "He is different in almost every circumstance," according to David.  We also need to research this ministry more in the Word and from listening to tapes and reading books in this area.

Verses 14‑16 says that seven sons were trying to cast out demons as Paul had done, but the "evil spirit answered and said to them, 'I recognize Jesus, and I know about Paul, but who are you?'"  As a result, the evil spirits jumped on the sons and terrorized them because they did not have the authority and anointing of the Holy Spirit to come against the demon.


Wrestling with Rulers and Spiritual Forces


Eph. 6:10‑12 says that we need to "be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might."  A particular man has seen much success in his deliverance sessions when he has had the captive close his eyes and imagine Jesus actually praying with anointing for him rather than this man.  Verse 11 says that we need to "stand firm against the schemes of the devil".  The word "demon" in the Greek means "intelligent being".  Too often we think too lowly of demons as "dumb beings having to flee at the name of Jesus".  This is doctrinally in the Bible, but in reality, demons have not always left at the name of Jesus.  "We need to hold fast to what the Word says, but we also need to know where we are‑‑getting there".  There are different schemes, or strategies, of demons over each city.

Verse 12 says that "our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against rulers...".  The KJV says we "wrestle" not against flesh and blood.  Wrestling involves close contact.  We need to wrestle with demons, "against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of the darkness, against the spiritual forces in heavenly places.  A person with a demon will usually look normal, not like the movies portray.

David explained a time when he was administering deliverance to a man who had a ruling prince demon.  Often this ruling spirit must first be recognized before the others can be cast out.  David said that he cast the demon out and he saw one leave in the spirit and the man was rejoicing, but David sensed that the ruling spirit sent out another spirit to bluff him that the man was free when he really wasn't.  When David told the demonic spirit that he was still in there, the demon "blew up" in anger and was detected.

In another counseling experience, he and another tried to cast out a demon for a long time, then Bob and Rose Weiner tried for two or three hours.  They could not get the demon out.  When David's wife discerned that this person had a spirit of resistance, the others got a witness in their spirit that this was it.  Once they got this demon out, they easily cast out the other three demons and the person was set free.  This one ruling demon was blocking them from getting at the other demons.  It is so important to have the discernment.


How to Pray for Someone for Deliverance?


David almost always has the captive sit right in front of him.  This person has been praying, and he knows the Scriptures and what will happen.  David then discerns the root‑‑whether there are curses or inner healing that needs to be dealt with first before getting a demon out.  Most of the time David will have the person look him in the eye.  There is no particular Scripture for this method, but Paul had preached the Word and looked down at someone and said to him, "look at me, rise up and walk".  David believes that Paul did this to look in his eyes to discern the faith that he had.  The eyes are a lamp to the soul.  "I look into their eyes not because it gives me any more authority or power, but because that's my primary source of discernment".  Discernment is seeing into the spirit and detecting demons and their activity.  Jesus often used the gift of discernment.  "Discernment is absolutely critical for this ministry".  We need the word of knowledge and discernment of spirits in 1 Cor. 12:8,10.  We also need the discernment that comes from the Word of God (Heb. 4:12).