Is it right to pray for demons to die?

QUESTION:Is it correct to pray this prayer which our pastors in Nigeria and elsewhere in Africa urge us to pray: “All demonic beings both physical and spiritual should die”? Also, can someone be a “demon destroyer” as some of our pastors claim to be?

Answered by Eugene P. Vedder, Jr. Grace & Truth Magazine (adapted).

Demons are fallen angels. They followed Lucifer, who is now called Satan (meaning “the adversary”), in his rebellion against God. The demons are spirit beings that have chosen to follow and serve Satan instead of continuing in the role for which God made them – “ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation” (Heb. 1:14 NKJV). Evidently, there are rankings among these mighty beings, for in Mark 9:29 after the disciples asked the Lord why they had not been able to cast out the demon that from childhood on had possessed a certain boy, He told them, “This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting.” Also, Ephesians 6:12 tells us that “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

Angelic beings cannot be destroyed. God has prepared hell for the devil and his angels (Mt. 25:41). Hell, also called “the lake of fire,” is where Satan and his demons will be tormented forever and ever (Rev. 20:10). It is a place of eternal separation from God and in this sense is “everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power” (2 Th. 1:9). It is not annihilation or a ceasing to exist. Furthermore, it is God, not man, who will inflict this punishment upon Satan and his host of demons as well as upon all who have sided with him in rebellion against God and His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. It is foolish assumption for any person, whether preacher or otherwise, to claim to be a “demon destroyer.”

Such people have little comprehension of the power and rank of Satan and his principalities and powers. In Daniel 10 we see that demons have tremendous power and exercise evil influence on the affairs of the nations of this world. Jude tells us in verse 9 of his brief epistle that the archangel (chief angel) Michael did not dare to bring a reviling accusation against the devil, but simply said, “The Lord rebuke you.” He would probably class such self-styled “demon destroyers” among those who he says in the next verse, “speak evil of whatever they do not know.”

Nowhere in God’s Word are believers told to seek out demons to destroy them. Our Lord Jesus encountered many demon-possessed persons and cast out the demons. He did not destroy them. In the case presented to us in Matthew 8:28-34, Mark 5:1-20 and Luke 8:26-39 we find the demons pleading to be allowed to enter a herd of pigs and the Lord’s permitting of this. In their malevolence [evil, hostility] they made the pigs run violently down a steep place into the sea and drown. This caused the people of the area to beg the Lord to leave their region. The Lord gave His twelve disciples “power and authority over all demons” (Lk. 9:1), and the seventy He sent out in Luke 10:17-20 came back rejoicing that even the demons were subject to them in His name. The Acts records a number of instances of the early Christians casting out unclean spirits and healing those who had been possessed by them. However, nowhere do we find God’s people seeking out demon-possessed people to deal with the demons. Invariably we find that such people were brought to them or that they encountered such persons as they went about their activities for the Lord. In fact, in Acts 16:16-18 we find that Paul put up with the demon-possessed slave girl many days before commanding the demon to come out of her.

But casting out demons is not destroying them. Rather than being physical beings, demons are spirit beings and as such they do not die. It is thus pointless to pray that “all demonic beings both physical and spiritual should die.” Instead, we are told to “submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (Jas. 4:7). Satan will attack, whether violently as a roaring lion (1 Pet. 5:8), or through temptation as an angel of light (2 Cor. 11:14-15). He had the audacity [arrogance] to attack the Lord Jesus in this latter way, seeking to seduce Him from His pathway of perfect obedience to the will of God.

The Lord still enables His own to cast out demons, but this can only be done in utter dependence upon Him. Boastful self-dependence is entirely out of place in combat against such powerful foes. Thank God, however, they are defeated foes. Our Lord Jesus defeated Satan and all his power at Calvary. The hosts of evil can be overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of the testimony of those who love Him (Rev. 12:11). It is a mistake to seek out the hosts of evil to challenge them, but when we walk with the Lord we can count upon His help against all the onslaughts of the enemy. God’s Word tells us: “I want you to be wise in what is good and simple concerning evil. And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly” (Rom. 16:19-20). Occupation with our Lord Jesus and dependence upon Him will give us present strength, and the future is sure. First John 4:4 assures us that the One indwelling us is greater than the one in the world. Ephesians 6:10-18 presents to us the whole armor of God. We are to put on this armor so that we may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

More could be said on this subject, but let it suffice to say it is much better to follow God’s instructions and directions given us in the Holy Scriptures than to try to fight Satan’s demons in our own strength or according to the erroneous teachings of men, whoever they may be or claim to be.