While blessings and curses are direct opposites, they have several things in common.  They are words pronounced, decreed, or written in the Bible with spiritual power and authority for good (blessing) or for evil (curse).  This declaration sets in motion spiritual laws that will continue the blessing or the curse from one generation to the next until it is broken.  Blessings are mentioned 221 times in the Bible.  Curses are mentioned 230 times.

Scriptures Promoting Blessing

Two examples of blessing include:  (1) the blessing (in covenant) that the Lord gave to Abraham—and then again to Isaac (Gen. 22:15-18) and (2) Isaac’s blessing of Jacob (Gen. 27:27-29).  Note the inference within Isaac’s passage that God could not “undo” the blessing Isaac had already bestowed upon Jacob (Gen. 27:37-40; see also Deut. 8, 28:1-14).           We are commanded to “bless and curse not” (Rom. 12:14).  In addition, God promises us in many scriptures to bless us if we are obedient.  Blessings are carried out by angels from heaven.   Some examples of blessing follow:

      • “Even by the God of thy father, who shall help thee; and by the Almighty, who shall bless thee with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lieth under, blessings of the breasts, and of the womb” (Gen. 49:25).
      • “Blessings of health in your physical body. Blessings of long life as you continue to serve the Lord your God.  Blessings of peace and happiness for you and your entire family.  You will be blessed as you come in and as you go out.  And all that your hand touches will prosper” (Deut. 28:1-14). 
      • “Oh that thou wouldest bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that thine hand might be with me, and that thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me!” (1 Chr. 4:10, from the prayer of Jabez)
      • “Asher’s food will be rich; he will provide delicacies fit for a king” (Gen. 49:20). “Let Asher be blessed with children; let him be acceptable to his brethren, and let him dip his foot in oil.  Thy shoes shall be iron and brass; and as thy days, so shall thy strength be.  There is none like unto the God of Jeshurun, who rideth upon the heaven in thy help, and in his excellency on the sky” (Deut. 33:24-26, the blessings of Asher).

Scriptures Promoting Curses

God promises curses for disobedience (Ex. 20:3-5, Deut. 27:15 and 28:15-68).  Curses always begin with sin:  “Now the serpent was more subtle [devious, scheming] than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made” (Gen. 3:1).  Curses began with the sin of Adam and Eve and continue to this day (“Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and [the curse of] death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned”—Rom. 5:12). 

Because of disobedience God (1) cursed the serpent (Gen. 3:14-15), (2) cursed the woman—“I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee” (Gen. 3:16; this curse continues with the process of birth and continues with monthly menstruations and menopause), and (3) cursed the man—“Cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return” (Gen. 3:17-19).  (Refer also to Gen. 4:9-13, where God curses Cain for the death of Abel.)  Curses are carried out by demons, principalities and powers.

 Indicators of a Curse (typically exhibiting a minimum of two or more in combination)

      • Mental and/or emotional breakdown
      • Repeated or chronic sickness
      • Barrenness, the tendency to miscarry, or other female problems
      • Breakdown of a marriage and family alienation
      • Continuing financial insufficiency
      • Being “accident-prone”
      • A history of suicides and unnatural or untimely deaths
      • A spiritual block/wall in the process of deliverance

In praying for spiritual healing with a person, sometimes the best indicator of a curse is when the seeker cannot hear anything from the Lord.  There is a spiritual wall that keeps the seeker and the intercessor from receiving the spiritual insights necessary for deliverance.  At such times, it is best to ask, “In the name of Jesus, is there a curse upon your life?”  If so, the seeker will usually have a sudden emotional experience that will indicate to them this is so.  

All curses have to have a place of entry, a landing place.  At times, when a curse is directed specifically toward someone who is a Christian, it is deflected to another person in the family.  Witchdoctor curses are among the most powerful.  The spirit of curse has a legal spiritual right to the space it occupies in the seeker’s spirit.  The seeker is literally in spiritual bondage. 

Sources of Curses

A curse is a supernatural edict enforced by a spirit being.  Every curse has a cause (or source); “so the curse causeless shall not come” (Prov. 26:2).  As we minister for the purpose of inner healing and come to believe there is a curse involved, there are three questions we need to ask:  (1) Is there a curse?  (2) What is the cause?  (3) What is the cure? 

Identified below are a dozen sources of curses.  Seekers can be under the influence of several simultaneously.  While some ministers consider a separate category altogether for generational curses (Ex. 20:5), in reality, all unrepentant sin on the part of our forefathers becomes a generational curse, particularly for the sin of idolatry. 

    1. Disobedience to God Brings Cursing (identified as personal sin curses): The Bible lists 37 groups of sins that result in curses of disobedience.   These curses cannot be removed without repentance and obedience:  “… if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the Lord … to observe to do all his commandments … all these curses shall come upon thee…” (Gal. 3:10).  (Additional scriptural passages referring to curses of the law include Deut. 27:15-26 and 28:15-68.)  Review the following:
      • Idolatry, false Gods (Ex. 20:3-5)
      • Disrespect for parents (Jacob lying to his father, being deceitful and falsely representing his brother, Esau—Gen. 27:19-27, and Joseph’s brother’s hating him, selling him to traders, and lying to their father about his whereabouts—Gen. 37)
      • Treachery, deceit, or betrayal against a neighbor (Prov. 17:13)
      • Oppressions or injustice against the weak and helpless (Prov. 28:27)
      • All forms of illicit or unnatural sex (Lev. 20:10-16)
      • Anti-semitism against Jews (Gen. 12:3 and 27:29)
      • Trust in man’s own strength (Jer. 17:5-6)
      • Stealing, perjury, etc. (Zech. 5:1-4)
      • Financial disobedience or stinginess toward God: “Will a man rob God? … Ye are cursed with a curse” (Mal. 3:8-9)
      • Forgetting the poor (Prov. 28:27)
      • Religious and dead works (Jer. 17:5)
      • All forms of disobedience to God’s laws
      • See a good example of a disobedience curse with Eli (I Sam 2:27-33, 3:12-14).
    1. Man Pronouncing a Curse on Behalf of God:
        • Joshua curses Jericho (Josh. 6:26); 525 years later, King Ahab is the recipient of the curse (1 Kings 16:34)
        • Noah cursed Ham and the people of Canaan (Gen. 9:25)
        • Priests pronounced courses on unfaithful wives. (Num 5)
        • David pronounces a curse on Joab and his descendants (2 Sam 3:29)
        • Paul cursed Elymas (Acts 13:11)
    1. Persons with Relational Authority:

Those who have parental, spiritual, or governmental control over us can curse us, as in the example of Jacob and his wife, Rachel: “Let the one who stole, die” (Gen. 31:32); it was Rachel who stole and later died.  These are sometimes called non-deliberate curses (for example, words spoken by people against others—but not with the specific intention to bring harm to the person) which can only happen when there is some relational connection between the one who curses and the victim, such as in the involvement of a parent for a child, a teacher, a pastor, or a soul tie.  (These words are usually negative and destructive words spoken—and even prayed—by people close to us with whom we have soul ties or who have authority over us, such as parents or typically elder relatives.) 

    1. Unscriptural Covenants: as in the tenets of freemasonry (Ex. 23:32), or unholy vows and covenants with darkness. (see the section on vows).

 5. Professionals Who Use the Powers of Darkness to Curse Others:

      • Deliberate curses placed by men and/or women, witches, or servants of Satan
      • Witches, soothsayers, sorcerers, spiritualists, etc. (Duet. 18:10-12)
      • Balaam, who was asked to speak against (curse) Israel (Num. 22:4-6)
      • Invoking Satan’s power to “place” a curse by someone who operates under Satan’s power results in a demon of curse with a name (generally, not just anyone can choose someone at random and speak a curse against them)
      • In order for the curse to be effective, there has to be some item or object that can be linked to the victim (used as an access point to the victim, such as personal belongings or hair clips—which sometimes are stolen and are frequently used in cursing rituals)
      • Sometimes an owned object is cursed and returned to the owner so that the demon of curse is able to operate directly against the victim through the accursed thing (defined more thoroughly under #7 below, “Accursed Things Curse”—nail clippings, hair trimmings, and blood are especially powerful through this means; photographs or dolls are also used)
      • By stabbing the doll or the photograph in specific places, the voodooist calls on and uses demons to induce identical symptoms in the body of the victim
    1. Territorial Curses: include areas such as homes, shrines, countries, regions, and towns (Dan. 10:13).  Places or homes become occupied by the presence of evil in a number of ways:  through curses, Satan worship, crime, violence, other sins committed there, objects therein that are occupied by the presence of evil, or by the presence of evil in those that inhabit the land or place.  A “place” can become “defiled” when someone there becomes involved in the occult (such as in participating in divination, sorcery, spiritualism, clairvoyance, witchcraft, or family ceremonies).  Other activities that can cause defilement of the place where curses occur include:  adultery, sexually perverted practices, rape, murder or attempted murder, sexual abuse, or satanic ritual abuse. 

Because these activities occur as a result of the choices and actions of those involved, it gives the powers of darkness permission or a spiritual right to claim the land and/or place for their purposes.  This is similar to what happens in our human spirit when we sin:  in essence we give the evil one permission to influence that part of our spirit.  To a less severe extent, people with evil spirits bring some evil with them and tend to leave some evil behind.  Visiting such places can result in contamination from the curse. 

In addition, for a more thorough discussion of territorial curses see the sections on “Setting Your Church Free” and “Healing Objects and Places.” 

    1. “Accursed Things” Curse: Bringing an abominable or accursed thing (accursed, as in “being under or considered being under a curse”) into your house (“Do not bring a detestable thing into your house or you, like it, will be set apart for destruction. Utterly abhor and detest it, for it is set apart for destruction”—(Deut. 7:26).  Coming under a curse occurs when one innocently does any of the following:
      • Takes objects into his possession in disobedience (Josh. 7:19-25, Achan admitted taking a robe and other spoils and brought death to himself and his family)
      • Takes an accursed thing devoted to Satan into his possession (Ex. 20:4, Deut. 27:15—making false idols, and Deut. 7:25-26—bringing a cursed thing in your house)
      • If you take an accursed thing you become accursed yourself (Josh. 6:18; also review the section on “Healing Objects and Places for a detailed listing of accursed things)
      • Accursed things include books, occult objects, games, souvenirs from lands under a territorial curse, art objects created by persons under curses, or objects from previous love affairs or travels. There is no innocent or safe dabbling in the occult.
    1. Some Alternative Medicines: The origin of any alternative medicine (for example, Reiki, Acupuncture, and similar alternatives) should first be studied carefully before allowing it.  Visits to witchdoctors or psychic healers will result in curses. Visits to psychics, spiritualists, may result in curses as well. We can open ourselves up to a curse even without our knowledge. 

 9. Self-Imposed Curses: the words we speak against ourselves.  For example:

      • Genesis 27:13—Rebecca, the wife of Isaac, shouted, “…upon me be thy curse” and she never saw her son again; she died prematurely.
      • Matthew 27:20-26—At Christ’s trial, the crowd stated, “His blood be upon us, and our children” (Jews have been persecuted the world over ever since).
      • 2 Sam 6:22-23–Michal, David’s wife, speaks against the Lord’s anointed and is barren.
      • Num 12: Miriam complains against Moses and is made leprous. Also examine the sections on “Healing Your Tongue” and “Healing from Vows and Death Wishes”—vows are self-curses.

 Examples of Self-Imposed Word Curses Include: vowels or declarations give the enemy the legal right to impose these curses on individuals…..

10. Mental and/or emotional breakdown:

      “It’s driving me crazy.” 

      “I just can’t take it any more.” 

      “He just drives me mad.” 

      1. Repeated or chronic sickness:

      “Whenever there’s a bug, I catch it.”

      “I’m sick and tired . . .”

      “It runs in the family, so I guess I’m next.”

11. Barrenness, a tendency to miscarry, or other related female problems:

      “I don’t think I’ll ever get pregnant.” 

      “I’ve got the ‘curse’ again.” 

      “I just know I’m going to lose this one; I always do.” 

12. Breakdown of a marriage and family alienation:

      “The palm reader said my husband would leave me.” 

      “Somehow I always knew my husband would find another woman.” 

      “In our family, we have always fought like cats and dogs.” 

13. Experiencing continued financial insufficiency:

      “I never can make ends meet; my father was the same way.” 

      “I can’t afford to tithe.” 

      “I hate those ‘fat cats.’  They always get what they want and it never happens to me.” 

14. Being “accident-prone”:

      “It always happens to me.” 

      “I knew there was trouble ahead….” 

      “I’m just a clumsy kind of person.” 

15. History of suicides and unnatural or untimely deaths:

      “What’s the use of living?” 

      “… over my dead body.”

      “I’d rather die than go on the way things are.”

16. Broken Vows:

Joshua made a vow not to attack the Gibeonites (Josh 9:19) which was broken by Soul.  The curse came in the form of a famine upon David.  (2 Sam 21:1-2).  Broken marriage vows can bring curses.

17. Witchcraft and Sorcery – Participation in witchcraft and sorcery always brings a curse which may include fear, poverty, and health problems.

18. Family or Generational Curses:

         Seekers who live in, or come from developing countries—such as Africa, India, Latin, or South America—may have been exposed to family curses or local gods of which they are totally unaware.  In many of these countries, babies are ceremonially dedicated to demonic gods through blood oaths at birth, and then again when they come into adolescence. 

            Many Christians are unaware that they (or their ancestors) have unwittingly made blood oaths with devils through a tradition they are required to keep—while they have only sought to be obedient to their parents in upholding these family traditions.  In many cases, these individuals would be disowned by their family if they failed to take part in these demonic ceremonies (in disrespecting the elders of their tribe and family). Yet most of these individuals will not even speak about these things or they are unaware that such things ever took place within their family line.  

            In referring to Exodus 20:5 (and 34:6-7; “And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.”) the curse to “the third and fourth generation” continues anew for every generation until it is repented of and broken.  Many African Americans (for example) are only 4 or 5 generations from their African heritage, and while they may now be dedicated and committed Christians, the curse of previous ancestors still claims them.  Examples of these curses can be found in the Chapter on Witchcraft.

Many individuals living in developing countries have ancestors who moved from rural areas into urban areas, carrying their spiritual baggage with them. 

Bewitching Others: 

The enemy does not have the right to afflict your life just because he wants to.  There must be open doors, either historically in your family trees or historically in your personal life in which we have wandered outside the parameters of obedience to God’s knowledge, provision or covenants.  No one can “bewitch” another just by looking at them.  However, if the person who is looked at thinks they can be “bewitched” then it may be possible. “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he” (Prov. 23:7). 

Breaking Curses

For a curse to be broken the curse must be named, and if possible the source identified. It must then be renounced and the individual must come under the blood oath of Christ Jesus.  It is through the blood of Christ and the finished work of Atonement at Calvary that the seeker can be set free from curses, including blood oaths, witchcraft, and the curses associated with ancestral worship.  God made provision for this release with the divine exchange which took place on Calvary (“Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:  That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith”—Gal. 3:13-14). 

Jesus became a curse for all mankind.  He transferred to Himself the curses that we are under, as (at the Cross) He took upon Himself all sin.  However, one must appropriate the exchange by true repentance and renouncing ancestral sins.  Only then does the individual come under the cleansing blood of the Lord Jesus, after which the enemy no longer has any legal spiritual right to continue to work any generational curses.  These generational curses become null and void through Christ’s finished work and the new blood covenant made by Jesus.  The following steps are necessary in the process of breaking all kinds of curses: 

      1. Recognition: Identify the source of the curse, by name if possible.  The seeker may have inadvertently given legal spiritual ground—or a spiritual right—to Satan.  Ask the Holy Spirit to show you the root, cause, or link of the curse; it may be something in their possession or in their home. 
      2. Appropriation: Appropriate—take exclusive possession of—the Atonement of Jesus by faith (Duet. 21:23).  Jesus was made a curse (Is. 53:6) and the iniquity of all was laid upon Him (Is. 53:5).  Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law (Gal. 3:13-14).  Have the seeker confess their faith in Christ and in His sacrifice on their behalf; confess their faith in Christ’s death and resurrection. 
      3. Establish Spiritual Authority: Make a declaration to establish spiritual authority over the curse.  (Read aloud the following scriptures:  (Prov 26:2, Luke 10:19, Gal. 3:13-14, Eph. 1:7, Col. 1:12-14, 1 John 3:8,). 
      4. Repent and Commit: Have the seeker verbally tell God they are sorry and they commit themselves to obedience (Jesus spoke to the man healed at the pool of Bethesda—“Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee,” John 5:14; also, to the woman caught in adultery—“go, and sin no more,” John 8:11).  The seeker is to repent for every known sin (this is important).  Repent for those sins previously committed by their ancestors (identification repentance), even though they perhaps acted in ignorance. 

      NOTE:  If the seeker has followed all the recommended steps for each of the preceding chapters in this series, they may have already done these things. 

      1. Forgive: The seeker is to forgive every person who has ever harmed or wounded them, including the one who cursed them—if this person is known to them. 
      2. Renounce and Rebuke: Have the seeker verbally renounce generational iniquities and words and/or blood oaths spoken over their life or over that of their ancestors.  If this is not done, the enemy of their soul still has the legal spiritual right to oppress them according to the covenant recorded in Deuteronomy 27:15-26 and 28:16-19.  The seeker should renounce all contact with the occult committed by themselves and by their ancestors and cancel all legal grounds and spiritual rights previously given to Satan.  The seeker is to dispose of all contaminated objects, books, etc., in their possession and to rebuke Satan in the area of the curse; they are to tell Satan they don’t want this anymore, that their mind, as well as their body, is a temple for the Lord Jesus Christ.  In difficult cases, it may be necessary to repeat the renouncement three times (as sometimes the curse has been set in place by a witchdoctor who had the blood oath repeated three times). 

            Example: How vows work….

      1. John 13:37-38, Mark 14:30 Peter’s denial foretold
      2. Matthew 26:33-35 Peter’s vow
      3. John 21:15-17 …… Peter Restored
      4. Remove All Abominable Objects: The seeker is to remove all abominable objects from their home.  Refer also to the section titled “Healing Objects and Places.” 
      5. Pray the Blood of Jesus: To break the curse, pray to place the blood of Jesus between the one cursed and the one who initiated the curse.  If this proves insufficient, command the curse to give its name and cast it out, as is done with evil spirits.  Break all soul ties between the one who initiated the curse and the seeker. 
      6. Bless the One Who Initiated the Curse: Luke 6:28 tells us to, “Bless them that curse you ….  Romans 12:14 also states, “… bless, and curse not.”  In obedience to His Word, proclaim God’s blessings upon those who brought cursing. 
      7. Release and Resist: Curses of disobedience can only be broken by obedience (Mat. 16:12, Jas. 4:7). Be obedient
      8. Anointed Oil: If blessed anointing oil is available, it is beneficial to anoint every place on the seeker where the “healer” has “cut” them, as part of his or her witchcraft practice. Or, if they have been cut in private places, anoint a small corner of a handkerchief for them to touch the private places where they have been cut by the witchdoctor. 
      9. Barrenness: Many individuals who have been to a witchdoctor will experience barrenness or have sexual dysfunctions (male and/or female). Pray specifically that this curse be broken, that they may become fertile and dedicate their future offspring to Jesus. 
      10. Re-new Baptismal Vows: In some difficult cases, it may be necessary for the seeker to renew their baptismal vows by praying, “I turn now to Jesus Christ and accept Him only as my Savior. I put my whole trust in His grace and love.  I promise to follow and obey Him as my Lord and Savior.  It is in Jesus’ name that I pray.  Amen.” 
      11. Dagon: If the seeker struggles to be released from curses after all of the above, consider praying to break the curse of Dagon (1 Sam. 5) and offer the Prayer of Restoration and Regeneration (space does not permit a full discussion of this subject here

Before offering prayer to break curses, it would be beneficial to have the seeker read the section on “Healing from Generational Influences” and to follow the suggestions in that section on completing a genogram.  The genogram may help identify possible curses and their root causes.   No matter if you have prayed parts of this prayer previously, God won’t mind the repetition.  We want to make sure that every open door is closed.