Seeking a Deliverance
Finding a qualified minister
A balanced minister: If a minister is quick to say that all your problems are demonic, without knowing anything about your situation, then I would be cautious. Some people see a demon under every rock, but I am careful not to blame everything on the demonic. On the other hand, I am not one to write everything off as non-demonic problems either. If there's a demon, I'd certainly like to see it, so I can get it out!
A knowledgeable minister: A complete deliverance ministry should be knowledgeable and work in three main areas of ministry: Strongholds (tearing down incorrect thinking patterns), legal grounds (taking away the enemy's right to bother you) and then the casting out part (which requires faith and is exercised by commanding the demons to come out).
A trained minister? If you can find a minister who has come through a training program such as Bob Larson's Doing What Jesus Did (DWJD), or a member of a deliverance group of ministers such as The Apostolic Roundtable of Deliverance Ministers (ARDM), you will have a better chance of reaching somebody who is trained, experienced, and educated in this ministry. However, there are many who haven't been through these programs that are very good and effective in this ministry, so this is by no means a requirement in my eyes to be certified or trained, but it can certainly help. I know there are a LOT of very qualified ministers who have never been trained or been involved in a group of ministers at all.
A good question to ask: "Can a Christian have a demon?" If he answers no, then you want to keep looking, because it's an obvious sign that he's not in the ministry of deliverance as the Bible preaches and I can almost guarantee you that he's never really cast any demons out himself. Jesus said that deliverance is children's bread and it's not fit to cast before dogs (those outside God's covenant). They can try to throw at you many convincing theologies and verses, but each one of them, if looked at with a magnifying glass can be taken apart. Trust me, I can show you a long list of verses that look like solid proof, until they are taken apart. Some of them have to be looked up in the Hebrew or Greek to take apart. Whether Christians can have demons is beyond the scope of this teaching, so I refer you to a teaching that will help educate you on why Christians can have demons: http://www.greatbiblestudy.com/deliverance_believers.php
Preparing for your deliverance
Is prayer and fasting a good idea? Absolutely! It's obvious that prayer and fasting brings our faith levels up and helps us to cast out demons. Jesus said that some demons are so strong that prayer and fasting is required because a higher level of faith is required to cast them out, which is obtained through prayer and fasting.
Tear down any known strongholds ahead of time: Believe it or not, deliverances can be held up simply by incorrect thinking patterns. I personally had a deliverance held up due to a stronghold! If you see God as anything less then a loving Father who loves you, or if you don't feel like a victorious Christian, then you most likely have one or more strongholds to tear down. More information can be found in the Strongholds teaching.
Rip up any known legal grounds ahead of time: This will be addressed in your deliverance session, so why not clear the brush ahead of time? Legal grounds are things in our lives that have given or are giving the demons the 'permission' to bother us. Things like unforgiveness (Matthew 18:23-35), unconfessed sins (1 John 1:9), soul ties (1 Corinthians 6:16), etc. can give demons the 'permission' to influence and gain power over us. You can break up these legal grounds by repentance, renunciation, destroying cursed items, etc. There are times when this is best addressed in the presence of a deliverance ministry, simply because you may meet demonic resistance while trying to renounce or repent or break legal grounds. If you have been involved in Satanism, or have some heavy duty bondages to be delivered from, then you might best break the legal grounds with your deliverance minister nearby. One time I was just TELLING an ex-Satanist how to break up some of her legal grounds, and the demons got so ticked, they manifested right then and there! More information can be found in the Legal Rights teaching.
Become educated: This will set your mind at ease, and safeguard you against ministers who aren't experienced or educated themselves in this ministry, and end up causing more harm then good (like putting fears in people that are wrong, false and unnecessary). Some really good books I highly recommend are Unbound by Neil Lozano and Free in Christ by Pablo Bottari. You will be much better equipped for ministry in this area if you first read one or both of those books.
Sometimes a deliverance questionnaire can be very helpful in getting an idea of what to look for in a deliverance session.
My own deliverance questionnaire: http://www.greatbiblestudy.com/deliverance_questionnaire.php
Doris Wagner has a nice questionnaire that can be helpful in preparing for a deliverance: http://www.globalharvest.org/pdf/Questionaire.pdf
Even if you go through and break off all the legal grounds and tear down all the strongholds you can find, this does not mean you can hide those things from your minister when seeking a deliverance. It is still important that you communicate all the things you find with your minister. If he can see how you got into bondage and what doors were opened, he will be in a much better position to help you get out of it. If he knows what doors were opened, he will often be able to tell you what spirits would take advantage of those doors, and therefore he knows which ones to go after and cast out.
Watching out for the pitfalls
Although the deliverance ministry has helped countless people be set free from problems this world cannot solve, there are of course, some people walk away from deliverance sessions discouraged, confused and still in chains. Some people have actually felt hurt by people in the deliverance ministry. One reason for this is because some people simply do not minister in love and compassion, and end up creating unnecessary fears that are based on lies and false teachings. Deliverance ministers, like any other kind of minister, are still people, and some of them don't minister the way they should.
Fear-driven ministries: One thing that I like to watch out for, is fear-driven ministries. I call them fear-driven, because they often put a lot of fear into people that is NOT from God, and is completely unnecessary. They don't show you the love of Christ and build you up, instead they are good at giving you warnings and telling you how serious of a condition you are in, or how badly you messed up and how serious your sin is, etc. They tell you that if you aren't careful, the demons will return and you'll be worse off the second time then the first (which is true if you are an unbeliever, but that doesn't apply to believers). They give you the impression that your in serious danger and if you don't follow their instructions to the tee, you aren't going to be set free. They overall speak a lot of fear and condemnation to you, which can set you on the edge of your seat sometimes. By the time you are done, you could be worse off then before, because of all the false lies and deception they feed people who are in bondage. I do not affiliate myself with these kinds of ministries, and I don't support them. I like to keep 95% of my attention on God's goodness, and 5% on kicking the enemy out. I myself have experienced "bad ministering" before, so I know what it's like. I walked away worse off then I came. The more I begin to see through their tactics (and some of the areas they were WAY off), the better I felt. But I didn't let that stop me from receiving TRUE deliverance ministry, and thank God... true deliverance ministry is well worth the wait!
Some ministers like to begin by rebuking demons, and completely ignoring the legal grounds and strongholds. Demons can manifest, go back under, and the person ends up confused, and doesn't know what to think. It's an emotional shock that can leave the person confused if they don't understand what is going on or what happened. I believe that either we should start out with prayer (which brings things to the surface), or start out by uncovering legal rights and strongholds through deliverance counseling, but not start out by rebuking demons (unless that's what the Lord specifically tells us to do that).
If you are educated yourself in this ministry, you will know what is going on, and be on guard for those few ministers who don't minister correctly, and would normally cause more harm then good. I am very confident that if you have a handle on things ahead of time, it will change the whole atmosphere and make you as calm as a cucumber when being ministered to, and put you in a position where you could encounter a would-be confusing situation, and come out laughing and taking things with a grain of salt. So my advice is to get educated! Read those books I mentioned earlier! :)
Different deliverance models
There are different ways in which people will minister deliverance. Some people will begin simply by laying hands on you and praying over you. Demons often manifest, and the minister will likely ask for their name and how they got there. Then the demons are commanded to go back down, so that the minister can speak with you concerning the strongholds or legal grounds that the demon revealed which needs to be dealt with. Once the legal grounds are broken and the strongholds are torn down, the minister will command the demons to leave in Jesus' name. My preferred method of deliverance ministering is to first try to learn of any strongholds or legal grounds that needs to be addressed, tear down the strongholds, break up the legal grounds, and command the demons to come out. I know there are successful deliverances that take place either way, so I am not against one method or another.
I usually promote the breaking of legal grounds and the tearing down of strongholds before attempting to cast out demons. This is a very effective way of ministering a smooth deliverance, and many new ministers in this field can easily minister deliverance this way once they have an understanding of strongholds and legal grounds.
What to expect and not to expect
More then one demon: It is not very common that a person only needs deliverance from just one demon. There's often a nest of them working together, such as murder, suicide and hate all in the same package. It is not uncommon for the minister to deal with one, and another one surfaces. The minister should continue casting out the spirits until the whole nest is cleaned out.
More then one deliverance session: Do not expect a complete 100% deliverance in one session. It may happen, and it's not uncommon, but it's also common to go through multiple deliverance sessions before the person is completely set free. Don't expect one deliverance session to solve all your problems. And don't expect every minister to have the faith to cast out every demon, because some of Jesus' own disciples ran into demons they couldn't cast out either. Sometimes it may be a heavy enough situation where the minister himself may need to prepare with prayer and fasting before casting the demons out.
Demonic manifestations: Some deliverances will involve the demons manifesting, while other sessions may not include any manifestations at all. Whether or not a demon manifests is not a sign of a successful deliverance, because in one deliverance session there may be no manifestations, and the person walks away free, and in other deliverance session there may be several manifestations, and yet the person walks away still in bondage. Do not expect manifestations. They may come, they may not, but that's not a sign of a successful deliverance.
Demonic resistance: Another thing that is common in this ministry, is to see demons try to fight the deliverance by telling the person that the deliverance minister doesn't really care about them, they are going to be hurt, they won't really get set free, etc. One person I know of told me that the demons told her that somebody was going to kill her on the train that she was going to get on to seek her deliverance. While seeking my own deliverance, I had demons telling me that it wasn't going to be successful and that I was wasting my time. You can expect the enemy to put up smoke like this before you when seeking your deliverance... don't pay any attention to it!
How to tell if your deliverance was successful
If a demon manifests during your deliverance, that's a good sign, but it never can be used to say whether or not the deliverance was successful. If you feel the difference afterwards, that's what you are supposed to look for as an indicator of a truly successful deliverance. Let's say you were struggling with suicide urges... if you walk away from your deliverance, and you're still struggling with no difference then before, then you need to continue seeking deliverance.
What to do after your deliverance
Don't be foolish and re-open the doors to the enemy that landed you in bondage in the first place. If you got burned by watching demonic films such as the Exorcist, then use common sense and don't go back and begin watching those sort of films again. If you got burned by reading ghost stories, then please, don't read them anymore! Use your head! :)
Continue to grow in your relationship with your heavenly Father. He loves you! Get out your Bible each day and spend time in prayer and Bible reading each day to keep yourself built up. This will help safeguard you against the enemy when he tries to rebuild strongholds in your life. Continue to feed yourself on God's Word, and strongholds will have an awfully hard time trying to go up. Strongholds are one of the enemy's entry points into our lives, so feeding on God's Word can prevent these strongholds from being built in the first place.