In the prayer group I lead, there are very few rules, but one we do have is, there will be no screaming at devils. There are two very good reasons: it is not biblical, and it is not necessary.
I have noticed that screaming at devils is common in many Christian circles during spiritual warfare sessions. It seems that in our humanness, we think if we yell, it will intimidate them more and cause them to flee. But it is not our volume or anger that causes them to yield; it is the Name of Jesus. We must learn to war as the Bible teaches us, not according to our fleshly understanding.
What does the Bible say about addressing spiritual beings? First of all, if we were to take a look at Jesus and the apostles, we would see that not once did they exhibit rudeness in their speech in addressing demonic powers. They were firm and matter-of-fact, but never scornful, abusive, or otherwise obnoxious. Peter and Jude both portray in a very unfavorable light those who speak abusively to spiritual beings:
… They are presumptuous; self-willed, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities [ruling spirits]. Angels, on the other hand, who are greater in power and might, do not bring railing accusation against them [the spiritual powers] before the Lord. But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they do not understand and will utterly perish in their own corruption. – 2 Peter 2:10-12
Likewise, these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities. Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, did not dare bring against him a railing accusation, but said, “The Lord rebuke you.” But these speak evil of those things which they do not understand: but what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves. – Jude 8-10
If we were to read the verses leading up to and following these passages, we would see that both Peter and Jude were speaking of false prophets and teachers, who were “spots,” or “blemishes” in the Body of Christ, and who were in danger of hellfire. These false teachers also had the common characteristic of “despising government” or “despising dominion.” In other words, they did not respect authority put in place by God.
There are many aspects of God’s authority (governments; dominions). At the time of the creation of the angels, He set them in a certain hierarchy of order and responsibility. This is hinted at throughout the Scriptures. Some Bible teachers believe that even within the realm of the fallen spiritual beings, this hierarchy remains by God’s permission and design.
In addition, we have both civil governments and church governments, which God has endued with authority and responsibility. We must be very careful at all times to be respectful in our speech about, and to, those in any realm of God-given authority. I suspect that the false teachers Peter and Jude were speaking of had issues with being submitted and aligned with Church authority. If they did not, they would not have been out on their own, addressing spiritual powers in wrong ways. Their leadership would have corrected them, they would have listened, and there would not have been a need for Peter and Jude to talk about them. We should avoid the error of the false prophets and teachers: be respectful of authority, and do not rail on the fallen spiritual powers.
That is the unbiblical aspect of screaming at devils, but I also said at the beginning that such behavior is unnecessary. Why?
In Matthew 28:18, Jesus stated, “All power [authority] is given to me in heaven and in earth.” He has transferred that authority to His Church: “I give you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you” (Luke 10:19).
We would laugh at the idea of a capable leader, such as a king who administrated his kingdom well, screaming orders. Such behavior on his part would mark him as a lunatic. One who is secure in his authority does not need to scream his commands. When we understand who we are in Christ Jesus, and that He has given us authority over all the power of the enemy, we can move firmly in that authority, without demeaning ourselves by undignified, uncontrolled behavior.
Those who feel they must yell at the spiritual powers do so either because they have been wrongly taught or because they are inwardly fearful that Jesus will not back them up in their authority. It is that simple.
There is one more related topic that I would like to briefly address. In some circles, it has been taught that we can command God’s angels to do this or that. I do not see anywhere in Scripture where this is practiced. Yes, we command devils to flee from us and we cast demons out of people. They must obey us in the Name of Jesus. But we are not given an example in the Bible of God’s people commanding His angels.
When we need angelic help, Jesus models how that is to be obtained. At the time of His arrest, Jesus said to His disciples, “Do you think I could not now pray to my Father, and he would immediately give me more than twelve legions of angels?” (Matthew 26:53). Jesus knew He could pray for angelic intervention, but in His role as a man on the earth He did not directly command them to do His bidding. We should follow His example.
Next time we will talk about the weapons of our warfare.
Excerpted from Lee Ann’s book, The Intercessor Manual