By Gena Barnhill @BarnhillGena
The concept of inherited tendencies is not new to the medical profession. Doctors ask for a history of physical and mental illness in our relatives during initial intake interviews because they know these conditions can impact our current health. We may be predisposed to certain conditions, such as heart disease, cancer, and mental illness because our relatives had these conditions. This information helps doctors determine treatment plans, provide suggestions to minimize the impact of disease, and offer ways to avoid developing certain diseases.
Not all illnesses have a hereditary basis. But when a pattern of similar illnesses, physical and mental, occur in a family line, it is worth investigating the possibility that this illness has been passed down from generation to generation. It may be indicative of a negative ancestral influence, sometimes referred to as a generational curse.How Does the Spirit of Infirmity Affect Us? The A-B-C Series on Ancestral Influences #healing #infirmity #prayer Click To Tweet
Derek Prince referred to repeated or chronic illness, especially if hereditary, as an indication that a generational curse may be the cause. In other words, a demonic spirit caused the sickness.1 The Bible speaks of a spirit of infirmity in the King James Version (KJV) and the New King James Version (NKJV).
And behold, there was a woman who had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bent over and could in no way raise herself up (Luke 13:11 NKJV).
The English Standard Version (ESV) Bible says the woman had a disabling spirit, and the New International Version (NIV) states the woman was crippled by a spirit. Jesus took compassion on her and healed her. When the ruler of the synagogue expressed indignation that Jesus healed her on the Sabbath, Jesus said, “So ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound—think of it—for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath?” (Luke 13:16). Clearly, a demonic spirit caused her infirmity.
The good news is Jesus immediately healed the woman who was bent over. He can do the same for us today. We can also pray to release each other from the spirit of infirmity. Jesus commanded us to heal the sick and drive out demons in Matthew 10:8.
Chronic illness and infirmity can have long-term negative effects on individuals and families, including emotional dysfunction, disruptions to leisure activities, financial challenges, and damage to relationships. Invisible symptoms like pain, fatigue, and mood disorders are prime ways the enemy uses to hurt God’s children and distract and separate us from God and each other.
The enemy also plants lies and causes us to fear and expect the worst. We have prayed with people who were convinced they would die young because their parents died early from heart disease. They were overwrought with fear believing they would die from heart disease at the same age as their parent died.
We guided them to repent for agreeing with this death sentence from the enemy and ask the Lord for forgiveness. They forgave relatives who contributed to this belief and who had chronic illnesses and heart conditions. They asked the Holy Spirit what He wanted to bless them with in place of infirmity. They often sensed the Holy Spirit wanted them to have an abundant life, health, a sound mind and body, and long life.
In the Bible, Jesus’s healing of the woman bent over for eighteen years specifically says her infirmity had a demonic cause. We do not know where the door to the enemy was opened in her family line. We do know that Jesus instantly healed her.
Chapter 5 in the Gospel of Mark describes Jesus healing the man with demons from the region of Gerasenes. However, demons are not mentioned as the cause of several of the other healings Jesus performed.
When Jesus healed the man who was blind from birth, His disciples asked if the man’s blindness was caused by his sin or the sins of his parents. Jesus answered, “Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him” (John 1: 9).
We do not know the cause of every illness. Today, we are aware that exposure to viruses and bacteria and lifestyle choices are related to the cause of some diseases. Traumatic events can set the occasion for illness to weaken a person’s immune system allowing disease to take hold. Also, having a genetic predisposition for various conditions can be a factor in contracting a disease.
We need to exercise caution and not look for a demon as the cause of every illness or mishap in our lives. Instead, we need to look to the Holy Spirit for answers and guidance on how to pray for someone with an illness.
The Bible says, Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. (James 5:16).
We do not need to fear the devil, our enemy. When we are aware of his tactics, we can recognize him and resist his temptation, deception, and accusation. We can take encouragement from James 4: 7-8, which says, Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.
God wants His children healed. Matthew 4:23 tells us Jesus healed all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people. We can always ask the Lord to heal a person regardless of the cause of the infirmity.
If we sense from the Holy Spirit that a spirit of infirmity is the cause, we can guide the person to pray by confessing their agreement with the spirit of infirmity, repenting, and forgiving others who opened the door to the spirit of infirmity. Then have them ask the Holy Spirit to fill them with His blessings.
I would love for you to have an opportunity to share your thoughts regarding the spirit of infirmity. Have you seen patterns of physical or mental illness in multiple generations of families you know?
Be sure to share your thoughts in our Facebook Group Healing Prayer Discussion.
We are all stronger when we learn from each other. Looking forward to your input.
1Derek Prince, Blessing or Curse- You Can Choose (Grand Rapids, MI: Chosen Books, 1990), p. 47.