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Claims of Effectiveness

Theophostic Prayer and Claims of Effectiveness


 

Critic's concern: Is TPM proclaiming to be the “magic bullet” for all human problems? Is TPM all we need?  

 

Ed Smith’s response: Not at all. I have never thought this or taught this.  It is a tool among tools that is apparently being used of God to minister truth into people’s lives. I am convinced that God is doing a mighty work in this ministry. I used to try to explain it all. Now I am less prone to do so. I also have learned to walk more cautiously in bringing judgment against another person’s ministry since I do not want to find myself on the wrong side of what God may be doing. There is no question that many ministries out there (including TPM) have flaws and shortcomings; however, so does every established work going on. Nevertheless, the perfect and Holy God we serve has chosen to do His work through less-than-perfect systems and people. Theophostic Prayer is not a perfect system but I am convinced that people are being ministered to by God in the midst of it. At best, “we see in a mirror dimly” this side of heaven – I Cor. 13:12.  



  Critic’s concern: Smith refers to “instantaneous recovery, memory by memory in each session.”  I have to wonder how such “instantaneous recovery” deals with all the developmental complications that often accompany trauma. Are we really to believe, without any clear biblical precedent or teaching, that such non-physical issues are suddenly resolved because Smith or his clients say so? I would want to look closely at these persons’ lives for evidence of true and substantial developmental healing rather than for mere symptom relief.  
 

Ed Smith’s response:  I totally agree that unless there is genuine change in the person’s life and behavior then nothing significant has happened.  I say this clearly in the manual many times. Transformation is one of the tests of validity of mind renewal.“ Be transformed by the renewing of your mind…” Romans 12:2.  

 

The most convincing evidence of mind renewal goes beyond the initial replacement of the lie-based thinking in painful memories. You know renewal is genuine when there is evidence of life transformation. Life transformation is the fruit of the ministry. Fruit that does not remain is not fruit but something else.  

 

I am sure it was an incredible thing for the lame man to walk the day Jesus touched him. However, more remarkable was the way his life changed from that moment forward – no more begging, no more waiting for someone else to attend to his needs. He could head down to the local employment office and apply for a job.  

 

The same is true for those who receive truth in their lie-based memories: they no longer have to be emotionally crippled. True renewal produces fruit that is consistent with the truth received. People have all sorts of religious and emotional experiences, but a true “God moment” always results in a changed life.  

 

We cannot encounter Him without some evidence that we have been in His presence. The face of Moses glowed; Saul became Paul on the road to Damascus; Peter became a fearless evangelist; the lame man walked; the dead came to life. Transformation follows mind renewal. “Be ye therefore transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2).

 

However, whether or not you can believe that people are actually finding genuine relief of the deep pain in their lives through this ministry is only for you to decide. However, thousands of people worldwide are reporting that the Lord is indeed releasing them of their pain and the fruit is remaining. I choose to believe they are reporting what is actually occurring in their lives and not just creating hype. I personally see in my own life and in the lives of my immediate family transformation and not just symptom relief. However one of the things that TPM does not claim to do is teach life skills or help in the rebuilding of developmental aspects of living.

I say in the basic Manual,  

 

  “My wife Sharon and I traveled all over the United States during the early 1990s, giving a seminar called “The Basic Ingredients for a Happy Marriage.” We presented information to thousands of couples in churches and retreat centers and saw many wonderful things take place in their lives. In this seminar we taught life-skills for marriage, which people learned and applied with varying results. We introduced concepts such as “how to communicate,” “how to understand each other,” “how to enhance intimacy,” and “how to resolve conflict,” but without explaining the reason people were in trouble in the first place. While these skills are important for successful marriages, they do not bring resolution and peace to lie-based sources of conflicts.  


We can learn and develop life skills, but if our lie-based pain is not exposed and removed, it will just be a matter of time before it becomes greater than our ability to control our behavior. When a person’s experiential belief contradicts the life skills learned, his or her inner turmoil will bleed out into the relationship. When my lie-based pain is triggered, my communication skills tend to go out the window and I become an angry little nine year old.  


  I spent many years trying to help couples communicate and get along better without addressing the core problem. I found that if the lies remain, no amount of communication skills would guard against the inevitable conflict. The reason Theophostic Prayer Ministry is effective in marital counseling is that instead of offering people more information about how to behave, it enables people to find the freedom to behave rightly with less effort.  


  Theophostic Prayer Ministry provides a way for people to address the lie-based issues in their lives that cause relational breakdown. I have discovered in my own marriage that, in those places where we have found truth and peace, Sharon and I do not have problems relating. All of our conflicts (thus far) have been rooted in our individual lie-based thinking that got stirred up.  


  People’s current issues are always amplified by pain transferred from historical lies embedded in their memories. Sharon and I have found this to be 100 percent true in our marriage. When we were in pain, we tended to defend or attack. Now, in the areas where we have inner peace, we relate in peace. Then, we are better able to learn and apply practical skills in maintaining a consistently smooth-flowing relationship.  

Even when couples get free of their lie-based issues, they still need knowledge about their differences in sexuality, communication skills, and how to relate. Both life-skills and freedom from lie-based thinking are needed.  


  When I talk about “genuine recovery” (a term I dropped some years ago) I am referring to the instantaneous resolution of lie-based pain in a memory that is replaced with peace and complete release.  I see this often as I work with people. I watch deep agonizing pain lifted completely in the moment in sessions all the time.  I encourage you to watch some of the live sessions we have on tape.  One is posted on the internet on the TPM website.  This woman reports complete resolution of all pain over the trauma she reports and then two years later says the pain has still never returned.  Only the Lord (the HOLY SPIRIT) can do this.



    Critic’s concern: Is Ed Smith’s nearly 17 years of church related ministry experience and five years of  pastoral counseling experience adequate for developing a ministry such as TPM?  Should he have not tested the process more rigorously before making it public?  


  Ed Smith’s response: If Theophostic Prayer was a counseling model based upon a theory in counseling then you might have a point. However, as a prayer model it is built upon over 20 years of ministry experience plus the 12 years since its inception in development thereafter (a total of over 30 years.)  I believe that I came to the place where I did with an adequate biblical background and ministry experience for developing a prayer model. I have 103 master degree hours in church education, ministry and theology, a Doctor of Ministry and all but my dissertation and a few credit hours from holding a second doctorate in Christian education (EdD.) TPM is not therapy or counseling as understood in a traditional sense but encouraging people to identify the lies they believe and connecting with the presence of Christ (Holy Spirit) through prayer.

 

As far as initially researching the process more intently hindsight is 20/20.If I could I would go back and do things differently in many respects (as I am sure that most people would do if they could.) Nevertheless, the decisions that I made early on where driven primarily because I was genuinely excited with what I was seeing. However, more and more research is being done with very promising results.  

Nevertheless, in the early years I was seeing people come into freedom. I watched people who had carried deep pain for all their lives suddenly report peace and calm where there was chaos. Jesus was being glorified and I was elated that I no longer had to try to “fix” all these broken people. In my zeal I rushed out and told the world that people could be free if they turned and listened to Jesus (the Holy Spirit).I now see that my zeal got me in trouble with a few people but I have learned from that and am being less expressive about the good results that I have continued to witness for the last 12 years. I am pleased to wait for the empirical evidence that that may indeed show TPM is an effective prayer model. The research is coming. I am hopeful that it will show good results.

Nevertheless, I do continue to encourage people to expose what they believe to the Lord and find truth and freedom. Nothing has changed over the last twelve years in this respect. He still continues to free people and the fruit is remaining. I said this in the 2005 manual,  

“The original Basic Seminar Manual was released in a very rough form back in the mid-nineties. Following its release, there were a few people that began to criticize some of what I was teaching and promoting. Some of the criticism was justified and required me to bring clarity and correction to some of what I had written while some of what was said about Theophostic Prayer and myself was clearly unfounded and off base.

At first, I was offended by some of what was said and even more so by how it was said. Nevertheless, I realized I needed to “practice what I preached” and receive Theophostic ministry for myself personally due to what the criticism emotionally exposed in me. After many personal Theophostic Prayer sessions and eventually coming to a place of genuine peace, I returned to the critical statements that had been made, and looked for any truth in what was said. I have tried to apply the beneficial criticism and refrain from defending Theophostic from the criticism that contained misinformation and was a misrepresentation of what this ministry actually teaches. Over the last 12 years, I have listened carefully to all the criticism [that I am aware of] and have used it to develop the very best tool that I can for this ministry.

This new revision of the Basic Seminar Manual is in part the outcome of the criticism, which has resulted in my investing literally thousands of hours of reading, re-reading, writing and rewriting. Had this criticism not come, I know that I would have never worked as hard as I did to improve what was in now in print. I have done the very best I can in providing a tool that is effective and accurate in practice, application and theology. I can genuinely say thank you to all of the critics, both those who have tried to be redemptive and to those who may have had other agenda. Had the criticism not have come I would have never invested all the time and energy that I have in seeking to improve this training. I have come to place that I realize that I will never make everyone happy out there. People will continue to find fault and issue with this ministry. I am content with that and choose to “bless and curse not.”  


The greater blessing is that I believe there has been genuine transformation in me personally as an outcome of some of the criticism I have endured over the last 10-12 years. Whether it was their intent or not, the critics had a hand in not only improving this ministry approach, but also in my own personal spiritual journey. This is not to say that I enjoyed some of the things that have been said, for I have not, but I have chosen to be trained by them (Hebrews 12:11). A cursory comparison of the earlier editions with this one will show evidence that I have genuinely sought to hear the critics and thus respond with an abundance of noted improvements.”  


I am the first to admit that during the early years I prematurely raised the banner before there was any scientific evidence to substantiate what I was claiming. I made these claims based upon what I was witnessing and from genuine excitement of what I believed the Lord was doing. However, some people who felt that I was making these grandiose statements prematurely in the absence of empirical evidence have criticized me and rightfully so.  

In retrospect, I regret that I did not wait to see what the research discovered. The truth is that I made these bold claims because I was seeing then and continue to see dramatic changes in the emotional state and behavior of deeply wounded people. Hence, I agree that it would have been better if I had waited on the research before waving my banner of efficacy so vigorously and if I had made a more clear distinction between my experience and the empirical findings of research. Nevertheless, I have to honestly say that what I have experienced in my own life and observed in the lives of those around me still seems very real and has lasted for over a decade. A steady stream of testimonies proclaiming new victory in Christ continues to come in from all parts of the world. These testimonies are wonderful tributes to what the Lord is reported to be accomplishing. Although I am confident that the research will show the same, I am content to wait before I raise the flag too high.

 

 

  Critic’s concern: If Ed Smith has not sought out the input from his peers and fellow professionals in the field and if Theophostic Prayer has not been fully tested how can we be sure that it is not causing harm and not good?  

 

  The truth is, I did seek out many people’s opinions during the early part of this ministry’s development and have continued to do so all along the way. I have a large number of mental health professionals with whom I am networked as well as hundreds of theologically sound pastors and theologians. Many of the questions asked here are not new and were asked many years ago and much has been revised where needed. However, during the very early years my circle of peers was primarily pastors and a few mental health professionals. It was not until the ministry exploded in growth that it was critiqued by others that I had never known before.

   

  Let us take a moment to correctly frame what is happening in the world of Theophostic Prayer.  There are relatively few critics out there in comparison to the host of very strong supporters in the professional realm.  One mental health professional critics non-experiential opinion does not out weigh the experiential opinion of a mental health professional who finds TPM beneficial.  And certainly a few critics opinion does not outweigh thousands of pastors, mental health professionals and lay minister’s who are reporting good things.

 

For the most part the negative voices are saying the same things.  There is not much difference between them. These few critics should be evaluated from the perspective that there is a much larger body of people who are also mental health and theological professionals who also have strong opinions about this process but from a positive, supportive viewpoint.  The difference between the positive group and the negative is that the positive group is speaking from personal experience while the negative people are opinion based.  I also have the support of thousands (yes thousands) of professionals that have reviewed, studied, and are applying the process with very positive outcomes. 


The recent survey of over 2800 ministry recipients was also very positive.  Over seventy-two percent of the respondents had earned a Ph.D., M.D., or Masters in psychology, social work, or theology.  I would say that my peers are overwhelmingly positive and supportive of this ministry approach.  Though none of the existing research is empirical as with a comparative study, the information that has come in from a sundry of different sources has all been overwhelmingly positive.  All the negative information that has been reported that I am aware of has come from people giving opinions about what they think but it does not appear to be based upon personal experience. There are hundreds of positive websites that come up when you Google the word Theophostic.  That is a substantial number of people that are willing to go online to say that this approach has benefit.  

 

A couple of years ago 150 pastors were surveyed who all said they were using this ministry process and almost all said it was very helpful.  100% said that they had personally benefited from it.    Of the 151 surveyed 91% had been using TPM for over one year. 47% had used TPM for more than five years. Only about 8% had been using it less than a year.  This suggests that some of these people where probably seasoned users.
   

-96% reported having "highly effective to effective" outcomes.  


-88% reported TPM to be more effective than any other approach they had used in helping people emotionally. Another 10% reported TPM to be at least as effective as other approaches. The remaining percentage reported "no answer" to this question.  


-20% said that every person with whom they had offered ministry reported complete resolution of all emotional pain in the specific memory in which they had applied ministry. 72% reported this occurring most of the time. 23% reported complete resolution 50% of the time. 6% reported this occurred now and then. There was a combined 92% reporting complete resolution at least 50% of the time.  


-38% reported what they believed was genuine life transformation in all of the people with whom they had ministered. 90% reported that they had witnessed what they believed was genuine life transformation in most of their ministry sessions.  Only one person reported no noticeable transformation in any of his cases. One of the tests of genuine mind renewal is life transformation. "Be transformed by the renewal of your mind…" (Rom. 12:2).  


-93% reported seeing what they believed to be genuine spiritual growth as an outcome of the ministry.  


-98% of the pastors and leaders stated that they had personally benefited from having received ministry themselves.  


-95% of the pastors said that the training in TPM has positively impacted their preaching in various ways.  


-93% said that TPM has become a significant tool that they use in ministry.  


-Nearly 85% said that they were able to integrate the core teaching of TPM without any problem.  

  13% said that they had had some theological issue.  What is interesting with the responses to this question is the fact that though there was some theological issue with TPM, 100% of those surveyed said that they recommend TPM to others, 98% personally benefited from it, 96% found highly effective outcomes, 90% reported life transformation in the people who had received ministry, and 96% said that people came to complete resolution at least 50% of the time! It appears that even with the diverse theological viewpoints represented in this cross cut sampling of ministers in the Body of Christ; there is a unity that is grounded in the centrality of Christ as is foundational in this ministry approach.  


-100% of everyone surveyed said that they recommend TPM to others.  


  You are right in that I have made changes in the training. However, the fundamental principles have remained the same.  I have listened very carefully to every critic that I am aware of and have tried to bring clarity where there was confusion.  I have made some corrections to my theology and more so just eliminated that which was not essential for doing this ministry.  What has been discouraging has been the abundance of misrepresentations I have read about this ministry.  There is much that is stated that is clearly inaccurate assessments of what this ministry teaches. 

People who are doing this ministry often write in disturbed by what they read.  There has been much “shooting from the hip” and harsh attacks that have been unwarranted and less than Christ-like.  I have tried to dialogue with any person that showed a genuine desire to help me.  Part of the problem I discovered early on was that not all critiques are interested in redemption but only discrediting. I have discovered that a critic who has a motive to restore and benefit will acknowledge attempts by the person to make revisions and clarify.  There have been some who criticized me and then questioned my motives when I made the revisions they had suggested.  This is when I realized that not everyone out there has my best interest at heart.
 


 Critic’s concern:  Does Ed Smith tend to exaggerate the effectiveness of TPM (Ibid, pp. 19-21)?  


 Ed Smith’s response: I have actually downplayed much of what I have witnessed and what others have reported to keep from appearing like I was sensationalizing things. The truth is, I have witnessed what I believe are works that only the Lord could do.  I am not glorifying a process but rising up the power and glory of God.  Jesus has been and will always be the center of this ministry from the very beginning.  



  Critic’s concern: Is the fact that Ed Smith sometimes comes across defensive when this ministry is criticized question his ability to lead in a worldwide ministry.


I did not plan to become the founder of a worldwide ministry and being in this role is not all that it is “cracked up” to be.  There are times that I would rather be doing just about anything else.  As far as me being defensive I have watched myself grow in this area.  My attitude today is evidence that this prayer process works. I was much more defensive in the early years than I am now. Other than my response in this document I have made no real public defense of this ministry in many years. I am very comfortable with the value and benefits that I am seeing and believe that what is of God will remain. Actually I have been amazed how I have held my tongue with some of the harsh and slanderous things that have been said about me and this ministry. It is easy for someone to criticize when they are on the outside looking in. Because of what I have endured over the last few years I am now very slow to bring criticism of other people doing ministry out there that I may disagree with. I used to make quick judgment statements, condescend, ridicule that which I did not agree with or that which was not in the realm of my experience.  In the early years I was less restrained and I did respond more defensively than I should have. I was clearly “triggered” and exposed in my own lie-based pain. The people in my circle who know me will also attest to the fact that I owned this pain and sought much personal ministry. I am happy with how I have been able to respond so much differently the last many years from peace and not from pain.

 

 Critic’s concern: I have serious questions about Dr. Smith’s notion that the truth, even if spoken by Jesus himself, will produce the significant effects he claims. Truth does indeed set us free, but it sets us free from the wages of sin, not from sin itself.  

 

 Ed Smith’s response: This is a theological issue that is up for debate and not about Theophostic Prayer. TPM is primarily focused on dealing with lies. TPM fully acknowledges that the cross of Jesus is the only remedy for sin. However, if it is true that we have not be set free from the power of sin then we are doomed to live out lawlessness.  Of course this is not so.  I am a long way from perfection but I am also a long way from where I started my journey 40 years ago. I am walking in more victory than before.  Christ has made it possible for us to walk in true victory since “our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin…” ( Rom. 6)  


  The Apostle Paul also says this about sin, “The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law…” (1 Cor. 15:56) and that we are no longer under the law since the “law was fulfilled in us through Christ...” ( Rom. 8).This does not mean that we are not obligated to walk in Holiness for we are but it is now potentially possible through Christ.  I try to live my life out of Romans chapter six where it says,  

 

  “Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace. What then?  Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace?  May it never be! Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness? But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.”  



   Critic’s Concern: If Smith believes that truth only comes from the Holy Spirit and yet Smith himself is dispensing truth in his workshops this seems to be an inconsistent model.
 

Ed Smith’s response:  I believe you may have missed the point with this question. The Word of God is the written source of truth. However, only the Holy Spirit can lead us into truth.  We can read the Bible or hear it taught but we know it when the Holy Spirit brings it to life. This is why the Word is “living and active” (Heb. 4:12).This is what the Lord said, the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things…” (John 14:26).  However, when you say the words, “only Jesus can correct lies and that is why TPM is necessary…” you are trying to make me say something that I have never said, nor do I believe this.  In the manual I say, “Theophostic is not the “magic bullet” for all people at all times, but there is always a path through which God can accomplish His work if we seek it. God is certainly not limited to TPM.  I encourage people to pursue other avenues of ministry and help. Keep knocking and believing that the Lord will open the door in His time.

I encourage people not to lie down and play the martyr, for He does have a specific plan for each person. When someone says, “Theophostic Prayer Ministry just does not work for me,” I want to ask, “What then are you doing that is working?”  

God is at work in His children and when there is no evidence of this, either we are not his children or we are hindering the sanctification process in some way. If Theophostic Prayer Ministry is not effective, then some other means of help should be effective. If we are not continually moving in the direction of God’s healing grace and sanctification, then we are somehow choosing not to move, because this is the direction that God wants to take us.  


I encourage everyone to pursue God with his or her whole heart, mind and strength, for He desires to reveal Himself to us. He has called us to come to Him in faith where He can restore us and make us whole. “For without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6).”   



 Critic’s concern:  If Jesus is the one doing the “healing” then why is there such an extensive training required to do the ministry?  


Ed Smith’s response: The same argument can be stated for any other form of ministry.  I could have saved a bunch of time and money to have not gone through 8 years of higher education in order to train for the church ministry I did for 17 years prior to TPM.  It is my intention that if people desire to do ministry that they do it as effectively as possible.  I hold a high standard for people taking the training.  In a group I just personally trained I required they go through 12 weeks of watching the DVD series, 16 weeks of working through the manuals and 8 months of weekly practicing the process on each other before some of them were released to provide ministry in our church.   The Holy Spirit is the one who sets us free, but the Lord is using His Body bring about the context through which the work is accomplished.


 Critic’s concern: Under what conditions, would Smith admit TPM is insufficient for a person?

Ed Smith’s response: I have answered this question in the training. Here is what I say in the Basic Training Manual: 
 

1. Theophostic Prayer Ministry Does Not Equip People with Relational Skills  

I spent many years trying to help couples communicate and get along better without addressing the core problem. I found that if the lies remain, no amount of communication skills would guard against the inevitable conflict. The reason Theophostic Prayer Ministry is effective in marital counseling is that instead of offering people more information about how to behave, it enables people to find the freedom to behave rightly with less effort.  


Theophostic Prayer Ministry provides a way for people to address the lie-based issues in their lives that cause relational breakdown. I have discovered in my own marriage that, in those places where we have found truth and peace, Sharon and I do not have problems relating. All of our conflicts (thus far) have been rooted in our individual lie-based thinking that got stirred up.  


People’s current issues are always amplified by pain transferred from historical lies embedded in their memories. Sharon and I have found this to be 100 percent true in our marriage. When we were in pain, we tended to defend or attack. Now, in the areas where we have inner peace, we relate in peace. Then, we are better able to learn and apply practical skills in maintaining a consistently smooth-flowing relationship.  

Even when couples get free of their lie-based issues, they still need knowledge about their differences in sexuality, communication skills, and how to relate. Both life-skills and freedom from lie-based thinking are needed.  

2. Theophostic Prayer Ministry May Not Apply to Some Current Situations  

I realize that some pain is due to immediate situations. For example, if a husband tells his wife she is worthless, belittles her in public, or even physically mistreats her, his actions will inflict genuine pain. When a person is unfaithful in a marriage, the betrayal goes deep for the wounded partner.  


I would never belittle their plight because I have ministered for too many years to people who are in abusive relationships. I believe that they have suffered unjustly and mercilessly at the hands of harmful people. However, I have also watched many of them find freedom from the lies they believed, and subsequently find freedom from the abuse as well.  


Any time that anything happens to us in the present, much of the pain we feel is likely to be coming in from memory sources as well. If one person is hurting another and this is allowed to happen, both have lie-based memories fostering this trouble. The combination of historical pain and current issues results in emotional overload and irresolvable conflict.  


Theophostic Prayer Ministry helps people sort out what pain is present tense and what is from the past. In my experience, it’s best to identify and eliminate old lie-based pain before trying to resolve the present situation. For example, if the injured woman will momentarily put aside immediate issues and allow the Holy Spirit to bring truth to her historical wounds, the present pain will become much more manageable. Likewise, if an unfaithful man cuts off the adulterous relationship and faces the genuine pain in his life, God can restore him as well.  


In all cases in which I have dealt with marital unfaithfulness, I have discovered wounded people with lies driving that behavior. Couples who allow their lies to be exposed and replaced by God’s truth will guard their marriages. They will be much less prone to be drawn aside by extramarital affairs and other sinful behavior.  


The bonus in addressing past pain is that it prepares people to work through future issues. If couples are not triggered by past lie-based pain during a marital conflict, they are much more likely to arrive undamaged on the other side.  


3. Theophostic Prayer Ministry Cannot Change What Is True in a Memory  

Theophostic Prayer Ministry does not change, add to, or fill in any aspect of a memory. It only works with the memory content that the person surfaces, and a facilitator must not try to add to this. There is no need, because the memory event does not need to be changed, or even fully comprehended, for a person to find release. Only the interpretation (embedded lie) of the memory event needs to be changed, and the Lord brings about this change.  


Although the memory cannot be changed, the person’s interpretation of the event can be changed, since it is his belief about what happened and not what actually happened that is causing the pain. Theophostic Prayer Ministry focuses on the lie-based belief causing the emotional pain in the memory, not the memory itself.  


For example, if I remember my uncle pushing my head underwater in Lake Michigan and nearly drowning me, how I interpreted the event is the source of my emotional pain, not the information itself. If I believed I was going to die, those feelings are overwhelming when I think about the memory. I may also harbor other lies such as, “I am worthless since he wanted to kill me.” I might believe I am “out of control” and develop some obsessive behavior to keep this feeling suppressed. It is not the event that causes me trouble presently, but how I understood it.  


4. Theophostic Prayer Ministry Cannot Remove Appropriate Guilt and Shame  

From time to time a person will experience shame and guilt and find no relief or change when attempting to process these feelings. No matter what the facilitator does, the guilt and shame remain. This person cannot receive any divine truth until he deals with those feelings. This situation normally indicates the presence of unconfessed sin.

Confession of sin, not identifying lies is the solution for resolving shame and guilt as declared in 1 John 1:9.  


In my experience, God will not reveal freeing truth to a true Christian who is holding on to sinful behavior, whether he is doing so consciously or not. The sinful behavior may no longer be a part of his life, yet its shame and guilt may remain if he has failed to appropriate God’s forgiveness and grace. When this is the case, I ask him if he is willing to pray a prayer of confession, owning up to his sin and allowing God to “forgive … and cleanse ... of all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).  


I first have him go to the memory in which the sin was committed and feel its shame and guilt. In this context, I then lead him to confess his sin and receive God’s forgiveness. I usually lead the person in the prayer and have him pray it out loud with me.  

Finally, I have the person examine the memory where the sin was committed to see what the Lord may have for him there. I may ask the Lord, “Is there something that you want John to know about his sin?” When he goes back to the memory scene and Jesus reveals His forgiveness for his sin in the historical moment, the level of release he finds is amazing.  


5. Theophostic Prayer Ministry Will Not Release People’s Lies Against Their Will  

…The rich young ruler in Luke 18:18-25 valued his material wealth more than following Jesus. He chose to keep his possessions and turned away from Christ. Jesus did not chase after him or try to talk him out of it; he simply let him go. You might ask, “What lie did he believe?” The Scripture does not say, “But any person who chooses earthly wealth over an eternal existence with God is deceived.”  


God permits people to make choices freely. They can choose to be evil or to reject the grace of God. If they choose not to let God release them from their lie-based emotional pain, they can live with their pain. God does not force us to choose freedom, so we should not try to force others either.  


…I provided Theophostic Prayer Ministry to others for nearly six months before I realized I needed it for myself. I was emotionally constipated and in near-total denial of my actual mental/emotional state. I was a landfill of lie-based thinking. When I finally submitted to mind renewal, the floodgates in my mind opened and out poured a sludge pool of accumulated anger, fear, anxiety, and rejection.  


After over a decade of submitting to regular ministry, I know the peace of Christ as never before. He has removed many of my predictable triggers in many areas of my life. I walk in complete victory with no struggle to maintain it. I have received much truth in my innermost places. My wife and kids and those who know me best will testify that I am experiencing ongoing transformation that is evidence of the work of Christ. To Him be all the glory!  


6. Theophostic Prayer Ministry Does Not Prevent People from Making Wrong Choices  

The fact that a person has experienced mind renewal and freedom from the pain rooted in a lie-based memory does not guarantee that he won’t make any sinful decisions thereafter. We each retain our free will, no matter how much mind renewal we experience. However, once the pain-producing lies are removed and the peace of Christ is ruling in these specific places in our hearts, it is easier to walk in truth and be less prone to make sinful choices.  


As I have already said, many of our sinful choices are motivated by the emotional pain in our lives because temptation gets much of its power from the lie-based pain that we carry. We tend to be drawn into sin more easily when we are feeling bad, because sinful actions can often be pain-managing behavior. If our pain does not jostle us, we will be more likely to walk in righteousness and victory. We are less prone to sin when we are walking in truth and the peace of Christ.  


Often pain-managing behavior is not acknowledged by the one acting it out. Many people move from one sinful choice to the next, suppressing and denying the underlying pain. When our pain is stirred up, our minds almost automatically offer a way of escape. The primary avenues for avoiding lie-based pain are in pleasing the body through food, sex, entertainment, spending money and so on. Anytime we revert to these things instead of renewing our minds, we sin.  


7. Theophostic Prayer Ministry Cannot Resolve Chemically-Based Mental Disorders  

Certain mental conditions have a biological or chemical basis. Theophostic Prayer Ministry is designed to address lies rather than something wrong in our actual brain chemistry.  


Regardless of the diagnosis, there can be an element of lie-based thinking. If, for example, a woman is diagnosed with a bipolar disorder, you cannot be sure what degree of the mania or depression is caused by her brain chemistry. However, like anyone else, she will have some emotions connected to her belief system. If after ministry, the symptoms decrease and she experiences more consistent peace, you may assume that something good is occurring.  


…Whether or not people have a true mental disorder, they need to be relieved of their lie-based thinking. Without exception, everyone is infested with falsehood and we all need to have our mind renewed.  


It is sometimes hard to determine when people are truly mentally ill and when they are merely in bondage to faulty thinking. The good news is that it is not the role of the facilitator to figure this out. I assume that all people need truth and do ministry on this basis. Why not start with the lie issues and then work toward the medical condition, if one exists?  


I do not diagnose people but respect the mental health professionals who do. It is important that Christian ministers and facilitators work hand-in-hand with the mental and medical health community, and when at all possible, network with those who are “Theophostic-friendly.” Building relational bridges between the church and professionals can only help the cause and provide the best possible care for those we seek to help.  


8. Theophostic Prayer Ministry Cannot Provide Everything Needed for Christian Growth and Discipleship  


In his final discourse to the church, Jesus commanded His disciples to go into the entire world with the gospel, make disciples, and teach them everything He had commanded them (Matthew 28:19-20). The early church appointed leaders to instruct the church and bring her members to mature faith and the knowledge of Christ.  


The basic purpose of Theophostic Prayer Ministry, however, is not to teach biblical truth but to bring mind renewal and, by so doing, to free people to apply the good things they are taught. We can be released from our lies when God reveals truth to us in a “Theophostic moment,” but it is through being taught, discipled, and walking with God over the long haul that we come to maturity in Christ.  


Paul declares this when he writes, “Proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ” (Colossians 1:28), and “Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching” (Colossians 3:16). To Timothy he wrote, “Give attention to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation and teaching” (1 Timothy 4:13).  


Christian growth and maturity occur in the lives of believers who are faithful and seek the face of God, regardless of whether they know about Theophostic Prayer Ministry. We grow in our experience of the Lord in each new life situation. When we cry out to Him, He shows Himself strong and enables us to shed the lies that have hindered our walk.  


9. Theophostic Prayer Ministry Does Not Replace Godly Counsel  

Before I began to practice the principles laid out in this manual, I offered traditional Christian counseling. Although I did not have the remarkable experiences of renewal that I now do, there was much good in those early sessions that cannot be duplicated using the Theophostic approach to ministry.  


People would often come to me because they lacked simple skills in parenting, communication, or life in general. I would troubleshoot the situation and offer biblical steps of action that they could take. In many cases this counsel made a very positive difference in the situation.  


I have discovered that many adults merely need to be parented themselves by someone more mature. This is nothing new; the Bible teaches the necessity of mentoring within the community of faith. The Apostle Paul took Timothy under his wing and instructed the older women to teach the younger (Titus 2:4-5).  


Theophostic Prayer Ministry is not the “magic bullet” for all human maladies, although I have found it to be highly effective in resolving lie-based thinking that is often the root of much trouble. The wise facilitator will know when to use this approach and when to use another. However, you must inform your ministry recipient about what you are doing so there is no confusion.  


As the writer of Ecclesiastes said, “there is a season” for everything. There is a time to teach, a time to encourage, a time to pray, and a time when we need to do nothing but be silent and wait. Wisdom knows what to do and when to do it. I pray that the Lord grants you wisdom.  


10. Theophostic Prayer Ministry May Not Be Effective During the Initial Stages of Grief or Shortly Following a Traumatic experience  


When a person is experiencing or has very recently experienced a loss or traumatic experience, using TPM may have its limitations. An element of truth-based pain is part of the experience of a current trauma or loss, whereas in a childhood memory the pain is no longer about the event itself, but about the lie that it harbors. Lie-based pain can be dealt with at any point, but letting go of the truth-based pain that is found in grief and current trauma is not so easy.  


If parents discover that their child has been killed by a drunk driver, the immediate responses of shock, denial and anguish are expected and natural. The months to follow of grieving, feeling angry, and moving in and out of denial are all a part of the letting-go process.  


“There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven – a time to give birth and a time to die; a time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted; a time to kill and a time to heal; a time to tear down and a time to build up; a time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-4).  


I believe that there is a normal season of grief, trauma, shock and distress that follows a loss or any other bad experience. However, the Lord may choose to reveal His perspective to a person’s heart even then. Just as the enemy will seek to plant seeds of deception in the fertile soil of grief, the Lord is willing to provide His perspective to those who will turn to Him and listen.  


I was talking with a woman one day about her recent bereavement and she said that she was having suicidal thoughts due to the deep pain she was feeling. The enemy had already planted his lies. I asked her what solution she believed that suicide was offering her and she said, “I just do not believe that I can ever be happy again.” I asked her if she would offer this thinking up to the Lord and listen to what He might want her to know about this. She heard truth from Him and although she continued to grieve, the suicidal thinking stopped.  


When our little girl died of a brain aneurism back in 1987, we were grief-stricken and agonized to the point of physical exhaustion. At that time we did not have the Theophostic tool to benefit us, but I did know of the basic steps of grief, which we passed through during the following 12-24 months. However, 10 years later when we both revisited the memory of Sarah’s death, up came a rush of the same deep pain that we thought we had already “worked through.”  


I realized that, for me, the steps of grief were actually steps of suppression as I buried the anguish. Sharon and I each submitted to personal ministry around this emerging pain, were met by the Lord, and received His truth. As soon as this occurred, all the suppressed pain was resolved. When people seek to discredit this ministry approach, I just need to think of the lasting healing we received.  


Sharon and I had experienced a predictable wave of depression during the anniversary week of her death that we called the “Sarah week,” but this never materialized again following ministry. So we know that TPM has great results for grief 10 years after the fact. I can’t say personally what would have happened had we received it closer to the actual experience, but my experience with others has been very positive.  


I had an opportunity to minister with a woman whose daughter was killed in an automobile accident four months before her session with me. She wanted to do TPM to see if there would be any release of the deep pain she faced each day. After one session she reported peace where there had been pain. We followed up with a second visit and she received additional resolution. Based upon what she told me, the pain that had filled the memory of her daughter’s death was completely resolved and years later she says it never returned.  


After a traumatic event or loss, we can first come alongside grieving people with prayer, comfort and appropriate encouragement. The worst thing to do is try to talk people out of their bad feelings by saying things like, “He is in a better place,” “God just needed another angel in heaven” (as though angels were people), or “There is a greater good here that you just cannot see this side of heaven.” Some of this is sound theology but does little good.  


Some of the most comforting words I heard during my grief came from people who had children who had died. They said things such as, “It will hurt really badly for a while, but you really will get through this,” or “I really cannot say anything to take your pain away, but I do know what it feels like.”  


Sometimes the best thing to say is nothing at all. Remember Job’s friends who “sat down on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights with no one speaking a word to him, for they saw that his pain was very great” (Job 2:13). In this context we can invite the person to look to Jesus and listen; people do not always think of listening in their times of great pain.  


Although our words of advice will do little to help the grieving person right after a crisis strikes, the Lord’s presence can be of great help. I remember clearly the strange presence of grace Sharon and I felt during the days and weeks that followed Sarah’s death. The Holy Spirit was very near. Sometimes people need to be encouraged to turn towards God and look and listen.
   


Critic’s concern: Is TPM equally relevant to all intrapersonal and interpersonal issues? If not, why?  


TPM is focus on identifying lie-based thinking and discovering truth.  When a person experiences some level of freedom it should have far reaching positive impact on the person’s overall life.  How much and to what extent I would not know or could I predict for a given individual. . I know in my own personal life, my marriage has been transformed over the last 10 years as my wife and I have received an abundance of ministry.


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