The question at hand is a rather unsettling one – can children be demonized? It’s a topic that might raise eyebrows and cause unease, but it’s a question we must explore in today’s culture. Let’s leave aside the sensationalism of demon possession that we often encounter in wild movies like “Rosemary’s Baby” from years gone by and focus on a different aspect.
We are not discussing demon possession in the sense of the devil taking control of a person’s spirit. As Christians, we believe that if we have invited Jesus into our lives, the Holy Spirit resides within us, and Satan cannot simply usurp His divine presence and kick Him out. We are not our own; we are bought with the precious blood of Jesus, and the Holy Spirit “possesses” us through our own free will. We opened the door of our hearts and invited Him in.
However, what we are asking about in regard to children is can they be influenced, oppressed, depressed or controlled by demonic forces in some way. In the same way, we open our hearts to the Lord, inviting Him in; people, including children, can “open doors” to their minds, hearts, and souls knowingly or unknowingly, and demonic spirits can push their way into their lives without them realizing what happened. Unlike the Holy Spirit, Satan and demons do not politely wait for an invitation. They see an open door, and take advantage of our ignorance.
They can enter a person’s life through various means, often without them realizing it. Trauma or abuse, rejection, or engaging in occult-like activities, for example, can open the door to evil spirits. But how this happens is a separate topic that warrants discussion on its own. Right now, we want to explore whether or not children can be demonized. The short answer is yes!
It Happened in the Bible
In the New Testament, we find two instances where Jesus cast demons out of children. In one account from the Book of Mark 9:14-21, a father asked Jesus for help with his son, who was severely controlled by a demon. The father said, “Teacher, I brought my son so you could heal him. He is possessed by an evil spirit that won’t let him talk. And whenever this spirit seizes him, it throws him violently to the ground. Then he foams at the mouth and grinds his teeth, and becomes rigid. So I asked your disciples to cast out the evil spirit, but they couldn’t do it.”
So they brought the boy. But when the evil spirit saw Jesus, it threw the child into a violent convulsion, and he fell to the ground, writhing and foaming at the mouth.
“How long has this been happening?” Jesus asked the boy’s father.
He replied, “Since he was a little boy. The spirit often throws him into the fire or into water, trying to kill him. Have mercy on us and help us, if you can.”
The second story involved a Gentile mother who approached Jesus, seeking deliverance for her daughter. In Matthew 15:22-28, a Canaanite woman came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.” Jesus recognized the faith of the mother, and at his word the little girl was set free instantly.
So, while demonization might seem unthinkable in relation to children, there are biblical precedents for them being affected by demonic forces. This is a sobering realization, and it’s something that requires our attention and preparedness.
This is Going to Begin Happening in our Children’s Services
Lately, the Holy Spirit has impressed upon me the need to be more vigilant about what is happening in our children’s ministries, not just in distant places like Africa but also right here in the United States and other Western nations. There is a growing sense inside me that, because of the crazy world we live in where our children are exposed to every ungodly thing under the sun, we may start witnessing demonic activity and manifestations among the children who attend our churches. It could be new children who just started coming in from unsaved families, but it could also involve children we know.
We are going to have to be aware of the signs of manifestations and be able to discern by the Spirit of God what we are dealing with. Is it simple behavior problems with children from homes with little discipline? Is it a medical or psychological issue requiring professional help? Or is it genuinely demonic manifestations requiring deliverance?
We, as children’s pastors and leaders, need to be prepared to confront these issues and provide support for children who may be facing spiritual battles.
This Happened to a Friend of Mine
I met Pastor Hermelin Barrios, a children’s pastor in Flint, Michigan, who experienced this recently in her ministry. This incident involved a 15-year-old girl who had recently joined their Christian school.
The principal of their school had requested that the elementary and youth chapel services merge together for a combined service on the National Day of Prayer. The atmosphere was charged with the sweet presence of God as they all gathered for worship. Even the tiny children were entering into worship.
Meanwhile, during worship, a young 15-year-old girl, who had only just started attending their school that week, suddenly began to go into a full-blown demonic manifestation, very much like what we just read about in the Bible. She was screaming and writhing on the floor. It was a shocking experience for everyone in the room, especially the children.
Pastor Hermelin was leading from the stage at the time. She had seen this type of thing many times before, as she and her husband had been in full-time ministry for years. She knew immediately what they were dealing with. She began addressing the demon, invoking the name and the blood of Jesus, and gathering the other teachers to help by praying the Spirit.
As she spoke to the demons, it became a wrestling match of sorts because they didn’t want to leave the girl. These demons had been in this child for who knows how long, and they did not want to leave. The Holy Spirit showed Hermelin the issues they were dealing with, such as traumatic experiences like rejection, abuse, and paralyzing fear. This was a girl who had been severely bullied in the previous school she had attended, which is why she had switched schools and started attending here.
She Was Completely Set Free!
It took almost an hour to get the girl completely set free. But as they went through the deliverance process, a remarkable transformation took place. The child emerged with the most radiant smile on her face. It was a genuine and profound change as if a heavy weight had been lifted from her shoulders.
When Hermelin asked her how she felt, the girl said it was like a huge burden had been completely lifted from her. It was a moment of sheer amazement, seeing her transformed and free, with a smile that spoke volumes about the power of the Holy Spirit and the healing that had taken place.
When I shared this story on my Facebook page, one of my Kids in Ministry Leaders, Eva Kibinda in KIMI Zambia, shared her experiences:
“Yes, I have experienced this in some of my PowerClubs. The first time, I thought the girl was just talking, or maybe she was tired. But no, that was real demons in a 9-year-old girl. So, what I did was I asked the group of kids if anyone wanted to pray for her. A 3-year-old boy stood up and said I can cast this demon in the name of Jesus Christ.
Then I let him pray, then she was delivered. So, from then on, whenever we have such situations, I ask the group. And the kids are very sensitive when it comes to demons. They can even tell you how many demons are in someone. We can work together with our kids when our kids are filled with the Holy Spirit. It’s very simple and easy for them to cast out the demons out of someone.”
There is much more that could be said on this issue. Our goal in this article is simply to bring awareness to the likelihood of many of us experiencing this in our children’s ministries in the days to come and encourage everyone to be prepared to set the little captives free in Jesus’ name.
If you would like to hear my interview with Pastor Hermelin as she tells the story in her own words, you can watch the video below.