Curses are an unusual topic, but they are real, especially in New Age Movement. They are now part of “teenage witch” type TV programs. However curses are not play things and are profoundly emotionally disturbing for those who experience them. They are not just angry words or swear words; they are acts of power in the spiritual realm. Curses are mentioned over 200 times in Scripture, and were foundational to the Old Covenant (see Deuteronomy 28-30). God Himself was the first one to pronounce curses – on the earth, on Eve’s fertility and upon the serpent. Curses are not just a primitive superstition; they are spiritual pronouncements recorded in Scripture that profoundly affect the very structure of reality in some way.
Curses and Creation
The world was created by the word of God and is held together by the power of His Word (Genesis 1, Hebrews 1:1-3, Colossians 1:17-20). Thus God’s words can change creation and Jesus’ curse caused the fig-tree, representing barren Israel , to shrivel up. Blessings and curses are first of all God’s words that operate at this fundamental level of creation and “tilt the playing field” of life one way or another. Secondly curses and blessings can be from evil spirits or flow from the human spirit. Goliath’s curses against David were “by his gods” (1 Samuel 17:43) and were ineffective for reasons we shall see later. The David and Goliath encounter was a power encounter of one spiritual system against the other and both contenders came in the name of their respective deities. Shamans and magicians such as Balaam were hired to curse people in OT times and still do this today. Though curses from evil sources much less powerful than curses from God they still were feared and were able to do much damage. There are 22 references exhorting believers not to curse others. Curses are finally ended in the new creation (Rev 22:3).
The Origin of Blessings and Curses
The origin of blessings and curses is found in the book of Genesis. The first blessing is upon the living creatures, which were told to “be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:22). When God made mankind, He also blessed them saying “be fruitful and multiply” and added a third blessing “have dominion over” (Genesis 1:28). These three basic blessings of: “be fruitful”, “multiply” and “have dominion over” form the basis of all future blessings, such as the Abrahamic blessings and their reversal forms the basis of all future curses such as those in Genesis 3. Let’s look at this a little bit further:
Fruitfulness is the ability to joyfully express your inner nature and feel that which you are doing is truly creative, worthwhile and significant. Its opposite is pain in creation especially barrenness.
Multiplication is exponential increase – increasing as in 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128 not additively as in 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, Multiplication is a huge increase in productivity for a small increase in effort. Its opposite is frustration and futility. Putting in a huge effort, for little or no reward.
Authority to rule over means dignity, headship, authority, the ability to be ascendant, to be the head not the tail. Its opposite is being humbled, to eat the dirt, to be crushed and humiliated, to be unable to rise.
In Genesis 3 we see the first curses in operation. The woman is made unfruitful, the man is made to work in futility and the serpent is told he will eat the dirt. The three things that make life good are reversed. Life becomes unbearable. Thus when we are cursed we find life very difficult indeed. No matter how hard we try to rise we never quite make it. Time and time we get to the brink of success only to have it snatched away. Curses can affect health, particularly reproductive health. They can affect earning power and they can affect our ability to have authority and command over our lives and people who are cursed may have to endure lifelong humiliation.
The Effect of Curses and Witchcraft
As a missionary I can say that curses are real and in some cases they are even lethal; Ezekiel talks of magic charms that hunted lives (Ezekiel 13:18-20). Curses are on the rise in Western culture as people dabble more and more in the occult and in organizations where people take secret oaths that invoke curses (such as the Masons). Emotionally curses produce deep confusion and despair and an inability to think straight.
On one hand we do want to acknowledge the reality of curses and to deal with them and to break them on the other hand we do not want to become overly superstitious and fearful seeing curses everywhere. If your life is affected by sterility, barrenness, constant lack of success and failure to gain any sort of ascendancy no matter how hard you try then a curse may be in operation. If you think this may be the case then do some research on your life and family history and take the matter before the Lord.
The good news is that breaking curses can be surprisingly easy for Christians because we dwell under the protection of the blood of Jesus Christ. Curses have greatest power where the person who has been cursed has committed some great act of wickedness such as involvement in the occult. The reverse is also true, curses have little or no power over a righteous person and Proverbs says that a curse without cause will not alight on the head of a righteous man.
Curses may come upon you because of your own conduct because of: idolatry, participation in the occult, prostitution, fornication, sexual immorality, adultery, theft, injustice, direct defiant disobedience to God in an important area, and involvement in secret societies with rituals and vows.
Curses may be aimed at you by others because of: hatred, envy, greed, jealousy, the use of magic, spiritual conflict and the desire for revenge. In some cases parents curse their children, particularly the first-born son, in order to attain power in a deal with Satan or his representatives. This is said to occur in Masonic rituals.
Preventing Curses Having effect on Your Life
Scripture reveals a number of ways in which we can break curses and/or be protected from them
1) Live a righteous life free from major sin and acts of injustice. Abide in the righteousness of Christ where no curse can penetrate. (Malachi 4:6, Proverbs 26:2, Romans 8).
2) Put on the full armor of God in Ephesians 6:10-21 which is actually armor against spiritual attack. Ephesus was noted for its magic practices (Acts 19) and its curses and witchcraft. The primary purpose behind Paul writing to the Ephesians was so they could have some understanding of their power, authority and degree of protection in their pagan and occult city. The armor of God is like the Kevlar of the spirit world protecting the Christian against curses, magic and occult practices.
3) God is able to turn a curse into a blessing. He did this when Balak tried to get Baalam to curse Israel . (Nehemiah 13:2, Deuteronomy 23:5, Numbers 22&23). A brief prayer by Jabez that has received a lot of popularity lately is a case of a person appealing to God to have a curse turned into a blessing and succeeding. David is particularly bold when he says in Psalm 109 where he seems to have been the victim of a curse (see verses 17 & 18) (Psalms 109:28 NKJV) Let them curse, but you bless; When they arise, let them be ashamed, But let your servant rejoice. David did not fear the curse, but instead asked God to bless him and outdo the curse, and then to turn the curse back on those who uttered it. God can out-bless the most fearsome and disabling curses. It gives us hope that our prayers to God based on the name of Jesus can not only break curses but have them turned into blessings instead.
4) Understand and plead the fact that Christ has taken all the curses due to us when He became a curse on the cross (Galatians 3:10-14). In Christ that ground for curses to succeed against us is removed because on the cross Jesus became a curse for us and took all the cursing that may have been due to us due to our violation of God’s laws.
5) Break associations with the sins of parents and ancestors particularly those involving the occult or idolatry. Exodus 34:6, 7 says such sins bring a curse “to the third and fourth generation”. We have to break ties with such sins by not participating in occult ceremonies that may be traditional and even confessing such involvement of your parents and ancestors and forsaking them in a prayer of renunciation to God. The essential thing is to make a clear break with the familial sin in your own heart, mind and spirit.
6) Get rid of objects that bring a curse particularly objects associated with pagan worship, idolatry or the occult. For instance if we have our Grandmothers, pack of objects which are aligned with witchcraft. (Deuteronomy 7:25, 26) The Ephesians converts were moved by the Holy Spirit to burn their magic scrolls and occult objects. (Acts 19:18-20).
7) Do not engage in secretive or dishonest sins that you think you can get away with unobserved. In Deuteronomy 27: 15-26 certain sins are singled out as bringing a curse notably the making of idols, incest,(sex between close relatives) bestiality, treating parents with contempt, injustice against migrants, widows, the disabled or the poor, hiring people to do harm to others, and moving your neighbors landmark or boundary stone. Most of these are crimes that would never be tried in court because of the secret nature of the crimes, the lack of two or three eye witnesses willing to testify or the difficulty of proving of the case such as the “my word against yours’ case of the boundary stone. The curse was God’s way of making sure that such secret crimes did not go unpunished. People knew that if they did these things God would repay. Even in the New Testament God is referred to as the one who punishes those who defile the marriage bed. (1 Thessalonians 4:4-6, Hebrews 13:4). If you have done any of the things in the above list then repentance, restoration and an earnest appeal to God for mercy would be a good starting point in breaking the curse over your life.
8) Curses can alight where there is deep abiding injustice against an ethnic group. Saul’s bloodthirsty massacre of the Gibeonites, which lay uncorrected for years, later resulted in a curse and a famine in the time of David.(2 Samuel 21:1 NKJV) Now there was a famine in the days of David for three years, year after year; and David inquired of the LORD. And the LORD answered, “It is because of Saul and his bloodthirsty house, because he killed the Gibeonites.”
David broke this curse by going back to the offended ethnic group, humbly asking how they would like to see justice done and then enacting it. After ten of Saul’s sons were hung the famine ended. (2 Samuel 21:1-14).
9) Slackness in ministry can result in a curse. The priests in Malachi were under a curse because of their slackness in God’s work (Malachi 2:2) and the prophet Jeremiah cries out “cursed be he who is slack in doing the Lord’s work (Jeremiah 48:10). If you are in ministry do the work of the Lord diligently and obey His specific instructions if you have been given such instructions.
10) Put God’s interests ahead of your own. In the book of Haggai God puts a curse on the nation (Haggai 1:5-11, 2:16, 17) for being self-centered and neglectful of their duty to God. The curse is removed when the people obey the prophets and lay the foundation on the Lord’s temple (Haggai 2:18, 19) and a blessing is given instead.
There are over 200 verses on curses in Scripture and the above list just touches on some of the main causes and their remedies. Basically a curse can only alight on an area that God has already judged as being worthy of a curse – such as incest, idolatry or murder. Most curses generally last only 3-4 generations though some have lasted since Creation. Repentance from sin, breaking ties with the occult and taking refuge in Christ who has become a curse for us are the main strategies we can use to break curses.
Part of this is putting on the whole armor of God, which is designed to protect us from curses leveled against us in the course of spiritual warfare (Ephesians 6:10-18). When the curse is lifted then the human spirit that has been affected by the curse and been bowed down with pain, confusion and futility will be quickly healed. The person will recover and emotional normality should soon follow.
A Prayer to Lift a Curse
If you think that your life may have been affected by a curse then gather with a small group of believing Christian friends who support you and pray the following prayer:
We come in the name and authority of Jesus Christ to deal with curses pronounced over the life of X (your full name). We ask the protection of the blood of Jesus Christ as we pray and we bind the activity of any evil spirits in Jesus name. We claim the full armor of God (read Ephesians 6:10-18). We confess the sins of the parents, grandparents and ancestors of (X) that may have given ground for a curse to alight upon him/her. (Name & renounce the sins esp. idolatry, witchcraft and murder)
We confess any sins in the life of (X) that may have given ground for a curse to alight upon him/her. (Name & renounce the sins esp. idolatry, witchcraft, sexual immorality and murder). We claim the forgiveness and cleansing of the blood of Jesus Christ and now assert that no ground remains for a curse to affect the life of (X). We assert that X has been seated in the heavenly realms with Christ Jesus far beyond the reach of curses. (Ephesians 1:20, 2:6). We renounce the curse and all its effects. We break the curse and all its power in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth . We plead the blood of the cross on behalf of (X) and say that Christ has taken all his/her curses on the cross according to Galatians 3:10-14. In accordance with the Scriptures and the will of God we pull down and destroy any strongholds in X’s life (2 Corinthians 10:4, 5) and we destroy the works of the Devil (1 John 3:8) and turn back the curses and all effects of witchcraft destroying them in the cross of Christ. We pray for the restoration and blessing of (X) in accordance with the Scriptures especially Ephesians 1:3 that says we have been blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms. We pray for the blessings of Abraham that are ours in Christ (Galatians 3:8-29) to be appropriated by (X) and given to him/her in abundance. We especially pray for the blessings given to all humans at Creation – that of fruitfulness, multiplication and dominion. We out bless all the effects of the curse and by the power of God we turn the curse into a blessing. We ask Jesus to minister to all the places in X’s life that the Devil has cursed. We ask for healing of body, mind and spirit and restoration of life and a just, fair and blessed prosperity in Jesus name. Amen.
You may need to do these three or four times. I have seen it work and bring peace to many.
Hexes & Spells
If you think your property may have been affected by a “hex” e.g. your computer or car inexplicably plays up then simply pray over it in the name of Jesus. Remove all items associated with the occult e.g a lucky charm in the car. (See Deut 7:24, 25). Pray something like “In the name of Jesus I remove the effects of any hex or spell.”
Spells cast on persons are not an area I have had much to do with but they seem to involve confusion, often involve a “floating” mental state, sometimes a loss of memory during which actions are performed and a weakening of the person’s will so they are easily seduced/manipulated etc. Others are like a sharp stabbing pain in the head or abdomen that is without medical explanation and which is emotionally distressing. Drug addiction may sometimes be associated with occult activity and casting of spells against people.
Again the solution is to form a believing prayer group, and break the spell by applying the cross to the problem. Something like “Our son/daughter/wife /husband or x seems to be or is being manipulated by witchcraft and may be under a spell Lord, therefore in the name of Jesus we break all spells and hexes, renounce all vows and free (them or x) from all occult bondages for the person you set free is free indeed. Free his/her) will from the dominion of Satan and make him/her strong and full of the light of the Lord in Jesus name. Amen.” You can ask God to reveal the problem if you are unsure. Use the long prayer on curses as a model for how to pray in these other areas as well.