What is Spiritual Warfare?

How to rid yourself, your family and friends, and locations from evil spirits as an extremely average Christian

Several years ago, I was struggling with mental health issues that manifested in the form of obsessive, constant, racing, and repetitive thoughts regarding a difficult situation I was experiencing at the time. These negative thoughts would often play repeatedly in my head like a broken record and keep me up at night.  I had tried everything I could think of spiritually (including extended prayer, fasting, and Scripture memorization) to deal with these thoughts and negative emotions with no lasting relief.  I also had lingering struggles from my childhood that were constantly with me no matter how hard I tried to be free of them (for me, time did not heal all wounds).

A good friend told me about a deliverance ministry run by a pastor and former counselor named Dr. David Appleby based out of Lynchburg, VA, and although I thought it sounded weird and like something I didn’t really need because I was a “good Christian,” I was intrigued.  I researched Dr. Appleby’s ministry and learned that he helped Christians get rid of ongoing difficulties in their lives by ridding them of demonic spirits. As I had tried everything else, I decided that I had nothing to lose by setting up a meeting with him.  I figured that there would probably be nothing present, and that I could check that off the list and move on.

I was wrong.

I drove down for my appointment, and, over the course of four hours, Dr. Appleby and his team were able to set me free from demonic oppression. Immediately after it was over, I was very tired, but hopeful.

A few days later, I was scheduled to drive up to Syracuse, New York to see my extended family. I had driven up route 81 North for 25 years and knew the drill: almost as soon as I got in the car, all the negative thoughts and feelings I normally struggled with would show up on cue and bug me all the way home (which was a six-hour drive).

But this time, when I got behind the wheel and started to drive, my brain was filled with….

Absolutely nothing. 

No racing thoughts. No obsessions.  No painful memories.  No rethinking about things that were outside of my control.

Just calmness, peace, and nothingness. I hooped and hollered in celebration!  My kids thought I was going crazy.  To this day, I am no longer experiencing any unhealthy thoughts or lingering negative emotions, and my mental health is awesome! I am so grateful to God!

In this post, I will show you what “spiritual warfare” is (I know it sounds weird), what you can do on your own to make a difference in your life, in the lives of those you love, and in your own community!

Please know that I am an extremely average Christian with no ministry background or training.  I just have a hunger for figuring things out and for being set free, and a desire to help others achieve these same goals if that is what they desire.

That’s me, being a completely average stay at home mom with my awesome family!

Before we get into the weeds, let’s define terms.  Spiritual warfare is simply the act of getting rid of the devil and his spirits (demons) and bringing in God’s power, authority, and love instead so that people, homes, or geographical areas can be set free from demonic oppression. If that definition makes you feel uncomfortable, then think of it as my attempt to get rid of the bad and bring in the good by the power of God. This tool is only available to Christians, and it is always God’s power and authority at work; it is never the power or the ability of the person engaging in this work. Also, not every problem or difficult experience is demonic in nature, as human problems can be due to a wide variety of factors.  The devil and his spirits are the enemy to all of humanity, and their goal is to keep people from coming to God and knowing how much God loves them, among other things.

So without delay, let’s dig into the different aspects of spiritual warfare that I have learned about and practiced on and off for about thirty years.

I also have a special request at the end of this post, so please feel free to read until the end so that you can do me a solid!

Spiritual warfare for myself:

It has been nine glorious years since I went through my own deliverance, but I must still be alert to the devices of the enemy because the Bible says that “your adversary prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” (I Peter 5:8) Almost daily, I pray that God will put his full armor upon me (Ephesians 6), alert me to the plans of my enemy, and then if I sense a situation has a demonic component, I pray that either God will remove the demonic oppression, or I command whatever is there to leave in Jesus’s name. I openly admit that it often takes me a very long time to figure out that my struggle is with spiritual forces rather than other factors.  A quick example of this is that I have been struggling with a lack of sleep for many weeks. I assumed that my insomnia was either physical or hormonal, but I failed to pray about the spiritual component.  A few nights ago, I rebuked any evil spirit involved with messing with my sleep, and I have been sleeping better ever since.   

There is no real magic formula for expelling demons in Jesus’s name.  I simply pray something to this effect: “If there is a demon involved in this __________ (area), I command you to go away in Jesus’s name.”

Spiritual warfare for my family:

I have prayed for many family members (or those staying in our home) who are experiencing demonic issues over the years. I will list a few quick examples. Many years ago, my daughter Claire told me that she was afraid of the “black bat” that stood in the corner of her room.  We got rid of that in Jesus’s name.  Another time, Nina (a girl from Ukraine we are attempting to adopt) woke me up in the middle of the night and told me that there was an evil ghost in her room who looked exactly like her but was very scary.  I went up to her room and got rid of that in Jesus’s name.  Recently, Erik and I had a conversation with one of our kids because I sensed that they were dealing with shame.  Yes, shame can be an emotion, but sometimes, there is a demonic component.  We got rid of shame in Jesus’s name but also counseled this child on the topic of shame and prayed for emotional healing.  I always seek to cover every area of the problem, since issues are usually complicated and multi-factorial.

Spiritual warfare for friends and acquaintances:

After I had met with Dr. Appleby for my own deliverance, I decided to just “go big or go home” and, with the prodding of a close friend Erin, we decided to run our own deliverance ministry using Dr. Appleby’s model for about five years! Erin and I (along with others) were able to help 25 people get rid of demonic oppression in their lives.  We also hosted a conference at our church where about 100 people attended, and several more were set free after the event.  We also spoke at a women’s retreat, and more people were set free there as well.

Here are a few examples of the deliverances I remember. One girl named Laura (name changed) came to us because she was struggling with many things, including the fact that she felt like men were targeting her for sexual perversion. Through the process of the deliverance, we figured out that the demon’s name who was chiefly involved with this aspect of her life was named Mark (yes, demons can have normal names), and his role was to “mark her for perverted men.”  We got rid of Mark in Jesus’s name. Immediately, Laura joined our ministry and stayed with us pretty much the entire time! Now this beautiful young woman is happily married and well on her way to becoming a doctor!   And no more perverts bother her!

Another client we served was dealing with debilitating health issues.  This woman was a homeschooling mom of two young girls, and she was so sick she couldn’t get off the couch.  We met with her and, by the grace and help of God Almighty and Jesus, we set her free from demonic oppression.  She got better, started homeschooling her girls again, and she is doing great to this day! 

Still another client was a lovely woman who had an extremely abusive childhood and had such bad demonic oppression that her stories resembled something out of a horror movie with actual blood dripping down on her from the ceiling.  She went through the deliverance with us, Jesus set her free, and she is doing great to this day!

If you are curious, I will leave a link to an interview I conducted with Dr. Appleby at the end of this post, which includes links to his ministry website.

Spiritual warfare for houses and hotels:

Right after my husband Erik and I moved into our first home, I anointed the entire property with olive oil and asked God to rid the property of anything evil in Jesus’s name. I did not anoint the attic because I didn’t even realize we had one at the time (I later noticed a small door that contained a pull-down step ladder that led to a small attic space).  For several months, right around 10 p.m., Erik and I would hear loud scurrying noises coming from the attic space right above our bedroom.  We both naturally assumed it was squirrels or some other critter.  Months went by and still the critters.  Erik’s brother came into town and the two men decided to “go up into the attic and look around” and I asked them if they could let me know if they saw any sign of squirrel droppings or nests.  The two men went up to the attic space, looked around, and found nothing.  That evening, right on cue, the scurrying came back.  I turned to Erik and said, “those dang squirrels!”

“Those are not squirrels,” was the immediate thought. 

Uh-oh.  I sat up in bed and prayed out loud, looking up to the attic.  It was a lame prayer, and it went something like this:

“If what is up there is not a squirrel, in the name of Jesus, get out of our house!”

Immediately, my husband and I heard a loud BOOM noise, which sounded like someone had actually HIT one of the attic support beams with something very loud and strong.

The next sound was the sound of silence.

The attic stayed silent from that day forward.

Our house with the haunted attic!

Another time, Erin and I went to a friend’s home because she had been experiencing some very strange events ever since bringing home antique children’s furniture from an estate sale (hint: please don’t do this).  We found out later that a demonic spirit had attached itself to the furniture, and the demons were communicating with her young children as well as climbing up on my friend’s bed at night!  By the power of God, we got rid of all of that in Jesus’s name.  The woman’s husband then collected all the antique furniture and then lit the collection on fire!

Please see the following post for more stories about haunted houses and hotels and helping myself and others be free from evil: Stop Ghosting Me! How to deal with unwanted ghosts and evil spirits

Spiritual Warfare for cities and other geographical locations:

I have had the pleasure of attempting to get rid of bad spirits out of geographical locations, including Washington D.C., and more recently my current home city of Chicago, Illinois.

Before I get into the stories, I have a quick teaching moment.

I was taught several years ago by a woman who had much experience with this form of ministry that I should pray the following for geographical areas:

In the name and power of Jesus Christ, I claim the ground I am walking around/on for Jesus Christ, bind up any demons and get rid of them in Jesus’s name, break off any curses that have been placed on the area, close any demonic doors that have already been opened, and cleanse the land of any demonic objects or symbols.

In addition, I ask God to send his powerful warring angels down from heaven to fight for the area and for those people in this location. I also sever all demonic curses and influences so that many can come to have a personal relationship with God through Jesus His son. I ask God to send rivers of living water over that land so that people may experience God’s love and peace.

Lastly, I seal what I am doing in the power of the Holy Spirit and to bring in God’s presence. In Jesus’s name, Amen.

As I am walking around an area, I also “anoint” it with olive oil, to seal and cleanse the land.

Here are a few examples of this practice. 

In the summer of 2019, I began to get concerned about the rising crime rate in Chicago and wanted to do more than to sit on my couch and pray half-heartedly from the comfort of my own home. Erin visited me in September of that year, and we drove to Chicago and prayed for the city (using the above prayer as a model, but also adding in our own prayers). A couple of months later, I was on my elliptical machine in the basement, watching the local news, when I happened to catch a small headline banner at the bottom of the television screen which stated the following:

Chicago Police Crime Stats Show Fewest November Murders since 2013

If you do the math, that is the month immediately after we went down to Chicago and prayed!  Could our prayers be working?

Another year, Erin came to visit me over my birthday (which is in early August) and asked me what I wanted to do to celebrate it.  I felt a burden for Chicago (again), so I told her: “I know I can do whatever I want on my birthday, but honestly, let’s go down to Chicago again and pray.  And we will do some fun sightseeing as well.” We came, we saw, we prayed, we rode some bikes around, did some sightseeing, and grabbed a margarita.  Guess what? Our prayers seemed to work yet again. Here was the headline from an article I read a few months after we prayed:

Summer violence drops in August, but murders up 50% since 2019: CPD

When you dig into the article, it states that the month of August actually saw a 45% decrease in murders compared to July.  To reiterate, murders were down in one month, the month of August, which is the peak of the summer season of violence, right after we prayed. To be completely fair, the article cites Operation Legend as the leading cause of this summer crime drop, and I am sure that was part of the reason as well.

Erin and I doing our thing! Plus a fun bike ride.

The most recent example occurred on Good Friday of last year, April 15, 2022. I had been texting back and forth with a Chicago police officer whom I knew through a friend and asked him to direct me to a “really bad area where you would really like to see some improvement.”

He directed me to an apartment complex in downtown Chicago, where two rival gangs lived and were continually fighting with each other.  And when I say fighting, I don’t mean with words.  This police officer stated that the children who lived in the huge complex couldn’t even go play in the playground in the middle of the complex UNLESS two police cruisers (and officers) were present.  Otherwise, it wasn’t safe for them to play.  I sat on that for a second and thought to myself:

“If I can save the life of one kiddo by going down there, then it’s worth it to me.”

I told this officer of my plans to pray at the apartment complex and requested a police escort; however, he stated that they were short staffed, but that I should go directly to the police officers who are continually stationed near the playground and inform them of my plans. He then instructed me to go on a weekday–first thing in the morning.

So around 9 a.m. on Good Friday, I arrived at the apartment complex, parked my vehicle, and observed that unfortunately there were no police cruisers in front of the playground.  However, I saw several police officers stationed at one of the main entrances.  I immediately walked over to them, told them what I was doing, and asked if it was safe to walk around the perimeter of the complex and to pray over certain parts of the area.  They said yes, and that they would keep an eye on things for me.

Before I began, I studied the vibe of the entire complex.  It was very quiet and literally nobody was even outside.  There were no kids at the playground, as they were all at school.  All was quiet on the violent crime front, and I felt safe to do my small part-time job. I finished in about forty-five minutes with no issues at all.

Several months later I checked in with the same police officer, asking specifically about the apartment complex and how things were going.  This was his text, word for word:

Truthfully, we were expecting a very bloody year where I work and it was statistically one of the worst we’ve had but the ******* were surprisingly not involved in a lot of the shootings.  Obviously, there was plenty that happened there, but the extreme violence was down there.  I think walking through the morning is always the safest bet.  We will take all the help we can get, Heather.

I was incredibly encouraged by this news.

The apartment complex in downtown Chicago that I prayed around last year (2022). According to a police officer, the extreme violence has since decreased. Notice the playground in the middle. Apparently the kids can’t play there unless police officers are present.
I love Chicago! I will continue to pray for this great city!

Do I know with 100 percent certainty that my prayers are the reason for the drops in crime?  To be honest, I don’t.  But I can tell you this: I did pray that God would “let me know” if what I was doing was effective or not, and each time I have prayed this prayer, I have randomly caught different headlines or news stories (or texts!) that seem to confirm that yes, our prayers were working and that yes, we should keep it up!

In closing, there is a line in the movie The Edge starring Anthony Hopkins and Alec Baldwin that has stayed with me my entire life.  In the movie, three men were flying in a small plane over the Alaskan wilderness when their plane crashed into a lake, but the three men survived. As they were attempting to hike out of the woods to safety, they were stalked by a huge, man-eating Kodiak bear, which ended up killing one of the three men. The bear was relentless and wanted to eat the other two alive as well, and no matter what the two men did, the bear kept stalking them continually.

The main character, Charles (Anthony Hopkins) decided that, in order to survive, they must kill the Kodiak bear.  Alec Baldwin was skeptical and said it couldn’t be done. Charles had previously learned that young native American boys were taught how to kill huge grizzly bears successfully, and that he (Charles) was confident that, if he used the same method that these young boys were able to use, then he could kill the bear too.

The mantra Charles kept repeating to motivate them was:

“What one man can do, another can do.”

In this analogy, I see Satan and his demons as “the bear.” They will be stalking me all the days of my life, seeking to devour me.  I must be on the alert.

I must kill the bear.

When we look to Jesus Christ himself, and He is casting out demons, and then He says to His disciples that they can do this too, I think to myself:

What Jesus says I can do, I can do.

When I saw Dr. Appleby helping people to be set free from demonic oppression, I thought to myself, “if he can do it, I can do it.”

And if I, an extremely average stay-at-home Christian mom, can do the ministry of deliverance and spiritual warfare, then you can do it, too! 

Because what Jesus says you can do, you can do.

What one man can do, another can do.

What one woman can do, another woman can do.

What one Christian can do, another Christian can do.

Let’s go kill the bear.


PS: Thank you for reading this blog post/article.  I am considering writing a short, non-fiction book on this topic, and it will be more thorough than this post.  I will share more examples and dig into the topic of all I have learned over 30 years of spiritual warfare ministry. If this is a type of book that would be of interest to you, can you let me know by leaving a “like,” a comment, or by sharing this post?  I would appreciate it so much!  Even if you don’t do a darn thing, that’s ok too.  Thanks for reading and have a demon-free day!

To read the interview I conducted with Dr. Appleby (highly recommend), or to contact his ministry, click here: Confessions of an Exorcist

To read about how to get rid of ghosts and demons out of houses, hotels, and other locations, please see my previous post. I also go into a bit more detail about what demons actually do for a living here: Stop Ghosting Me! How to deal with unwanted ghosts and evil spirits

Never mess with Ouija boards.  It will not be your deceased grandmother talking to you: Are Ouija Boards a Doorway to Communicate with (evil) Spirits? My Ouija Board story

To watch the “What one man can do” scene from the movie The Edge, click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F5rZeGU0E2s

Thanks again for reading!  And please let me know if I should write this dang book.  😊

2 thoughts on “What is Spiritual Warfare?

  1. Anonymous

    Another good one in the books, Heather!
    Deliverance is such a simple practice that should be taught and exemplified to anyone who is God’s child. This should be common knowledge- a default practice when battling anything, from irrational moods, to physical maladies, to apparitions, to uncontrollable thoughts, to (fill in the blank). I hope this educates people on the fact that this is not scary! As a believer, we act from the side of victory since the Holy Spirit resides in us!
    ~ Shelly

    Liked by 1 person

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