Our two oldest daughters, Kari and Sharon, were born with serious asthmatic conditions. Regular medical treatments kept them functional. Then, shortly after I became a Christian, Prudence and I prayed for the Lord to heal them. We thank God that He erased every symptom from their lives.
The situation with our third daughter, Holly, was quite different. She was saved and filled with the Holy Spirit at an early age. Nonetheless, her health history and certain aspects of her behavior puzzled us. None of the symptoms she exhibited was alleviated until she received deliverance ministry at the age of 5.
Holly had a stubborn streak that was uncharacteristic of her siblings. In the area of health, she did not respond to prayers for healing in the same way as her older sisters. For instance, all of the girls would catch the sniffles and we would pray for them simultaneously. Invariably, Kari and Sharon would be completely healed within several hours of our prayer—or they would recover fully within a day or two at most. But that was never the case with Holly. Her condition always seemed to worsen.
For several years, it seemed we were taking Holly weekly to the doctor's office. No matter how minor the initial symptoms were, they would escalate rapidly into serious complications. Extended periods of sickness made her weak and whiny.
Prudence and I grew weary from concern, sleepless nights and enormous medical bills. Above all, we were both disappointed by the fruitlessness of our prayers for her healing. And we were mystified that our every attempt to help her cultivate a more agreeable attitude failed.
One evening, Prudence came to me full of optimism. She told me that while she had been praying about Holly's condition, the Lord had given her a spiritual revelation. He had reminded Prudence of several pertinent facts. Holly had been born under traumatic circumstances. First, she was more than a month premature. After her birth, she was hospitalized with a life-threatening respiratory ailment. In addition, after the delivery, Prudence had approached death's door due to massive hemorrhaging.
As she shared all this with me, Prudence beamed with confidence. She was certain she had heard from the Lord.
"Jim, God gave me a vision of demons of infirmity and death entering Holly during her birth. The reason she doesn't respond when we anoint her with oil and pray is because we are dealing with evil spirits, not routine sicknesses. We must take authority over them and cast them out in the name of Jesus."
As Prudence spoke, something like inner agreement clicked within my spirit. I knew that what she was saying was absolutely on-target. We were very familiar with seeing people liberated from evil spirits, and I was filled with hope sensing that we were on the brink of a breakthrough for our child. Prudence and I both agreed that the best approach was immediate action. So we asked Holly to sit down with us in the living room for a talk.
As we all sat on the couch together, I explained to her as best I could what we were going to do. "Honey," I said gently, "God has shown Mommy that there are some naughty spirits inside of you that make you sick all of the time. Daddy is going to tell them to come out of you in Jesus' name."
Holly looked a little unsure. Prudence slipped her arm around Holly's waist, and I continued to explain.
"I'm going to speak very firmly to those nasty spirits while I'm looking at you, and I'm going to tell them to come out. It may sound as though I'm angry, but I'm not mad at you. We know you want to be a healthy and good girl. I am mad at the devil and the mean spirits that make you sick."
Holly nodded at this point, seeming to understand, so I went on.
"I want you to look straight at me. When I tell the spirits to leave, you just open your mouth a little bit and breathe them out through your mouth."
At that, Holly again looked puzzled. I thought to remind her of her experience of being baptized with the Holy Spirit. "Holly, do you remember how you breathed in the good Holy Spirit?" She nodded. "Well, after I tell the bad spirits to come out of you, I want you to huff and puff them out so the good Holy Spirit will have more room."
What happened next was astonishing. As soon as I commanded the demons of death and infirmity to come out of my daughter, she gagged as though something were lodged in her throat.
Her tiny frame shook convulsively. Her face went ashen white, and her eyes rolled back into her head with only the whites showing. She then collapsed on the couch as though dead. In fact, she actually looked like a little corpse. But rather than panicking in concern at her appearance, I picked her up and began to laugh and sing and thank the Lord. I knew the troubling entities were gone.
Suddenly, Holly opened her eyes and smiled shyly up at me. She looked different. Her face was bright and her eyes were clear. Prudence and I knew in that moment that Holly was free from the chronic sicknesses and demonic forces that had attempted to snatch her life.
After that time of prayer on the couch, Holly did not have to visit a doctor's office, nor did she experience any type of sickness again, for at least five years. At the time of this writing, she is 43 years of age, the happily married mother of two. To this very day, Holly remains in vibrant health.
There was another unexpected benefit of Holly's deliverance session. Even though I had not specifically addressed her behavioral problems, we saw a dramatic change in her attitude. She became as cooperative as our other daughters. Apparently, as the power of the Holy Spirit freed Holly from demons of ill health, the spirit of stubbornness also gave up and left.
Learning from that experience that demons are opportunists helped me see the truth and clarity of what the Bible says about this amazing and powerful ministry of deliverance. Abiding fruit can only be produced by principles and practices soundly based on the Word of God.
Jim Croft has been ministering deliverance for 42 years. A friend, mentor and ministry associate of Derek Prince, he has served on the board of Derek Prince Ministries since its inception in 1975. He is currently the pastor of Gold Coast Christian Church in Boca Raton, Florida, where his primary focus is on training others for ministry. This article is an excerpt from his book, Invisible Enemies: How to Recognize and Defeat Demons.