Let us pray with you -- send in your e-mail prayer request.
Or you can call a CBN Prayer Counselor 24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week at 1-800-759-0700.
If you need
ongoing support, we encourage you to contact
the pastor of your local church. If you don't
belong to a local church, please check out our church
Theophostic Healing Prayer
By Frank Meadows, LCSW
What makes Theophostic Prayer Ministry unique and effective?
I use the term, INNER HEALI NG PRAYER, because that is a term many of us understand. However, the difference I see in the Theophostic approach is that a memory really is not what needs to be healed. It is only the container in which the LIE or interpretation of past hurtful events are stored.
What happened to us in our past has already happened. The lie (how we interpreted the event) or stronghold that is stored or imprinted in the memory container is now the problem. It has become a core belief. The emotional pain we experience now, in our daily lives, is coming from present situations that feel familiar or like those original places where we were hurt and lies took root. We now see the world through these lenses.
If we learned to believe during these hurtful life events that we were unworthy, not good enough, others cannot be trusted, etc., or as an abuse victim who feels terror, helplessness, dirty, and shameful, we will go through life interpreting situations through that grid. Therefore, what is needed is mind renewal, a revelation of truth at the core foundational memory level.
We need for the Lord to give us some Heavenly, corrective lenses.
I had the privilege to accompany my wife, Beth, and the team from CBN, where she is employed, as they went to remote, poverty-stricken villages in India. Operation Blessing tended to their medical needs as they have very little if any health care. A few weeks before we came, Operation Blessing’s medical teams examined and fitted those who had vision problems with glasses. When we arrived we saw older people who had not seen clearly in years put on those new eye glasses and for the first time see things clearly. What joy they experienced in that moment.
In the same way, when God reveals His truth to us in the root memory places of our mind, our vision or understanding is supernaturally corrected in that loving, God-truth encounter.
We have all been wounded by sinful and fallen people as a result of living and growing up in a sinful and fallen world. Even when we are raised in a healthy, functional family with the best intentions all we can do is minimize the damage to our young psyches.
As we mature and go through life, the problem, years later, is not the fact that our parents were divorced or that we were abused or that we were often rejected by others. Instead, the problem is now how we interpreted these life events. Unfortunately, these lie-based beliefs stay connected to us like flies on an outhouse or rats around a garbage can. What Theophostic Prayer does is connect a wounded person in need of mind renewal with a Spirit-led truth encounter with Jesus, who is the Spirit of truth.
I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you. (John 16:12-15 NIV)
One might ask why this is necessary; don’t we already have the truth as revealed in Scripture? Don’t we as Christians have the truth of the gospel through good preaching, teaching, and Bible study? Is not that enough? Don’t we learn that when we sin we are forgiven when we confess and repent? Doesn’t the person who has learned to believe that they are guilty, shameful, dirty, and worthless learn that they are forgiven, clean, and of great value and worth as a new creation in Christ?
The answer is yes; as we grow in our faith we progressively learn these truths; there are many ways God reveals His truth to us. However, there is still a problem in our receptors or how we interpret and receive information.
The mind has two rooms: Cognitive and Experiential.
The cognitive room is the place where we reason and study, where we have facts and data, where we have a logical understanding of things. We can, for instance, know logically that our sins are forgiven, that we are a new creation in Christ. We can believe the Bible gives us hope; we can believe what the Bible says about the fact that we are of great worth and value but at the same time feel unworthy, unlovable, hopeless, guilty, and defeated.
Ask any pastor or therapist about the difficulty people have with internalizing this information. They can rationally believe something to be true that they cognitively believe and yet internally struggle deep down to experientially accept it. Another way of saying this is that I get it in my head, but not in my heart. That 18 inches from our head to our heart can be a long journey.
The Power of Theophostic Prayer
This is where Theophostic prayer is very effective in imparting truth on a deeper level in that other room, which is the experiential part of the mind. The experiential room is the subconscious part of the mind, the part of the mind where past memories are stored. In these memories children make faulty interpretations of painful life events and are filled with emotional pain as a consequence.
Our emotional pain is connected to our CORE BELIEFS. In those past memories where I was belittled and put down I may learn to believe that I was not important and that I didn’t matter. The emotions that I feel connected to the belief would be worthlessness, insecurity, shame, and self contempt, etc.
The sexual abuse victim who was molested and overpowered by an older, bigger person who made them do sexual things against their will and threatened to hurt them if they told anyone, also internalizes core beliefs. As an adult, they may display emotional reactions when they confront a controlling, strong personality or authority figure. These reactions may be toward a spouse, a boss, or even their pastor. This occurs when a person is triggered, or reacts strongly to a here and now life situation that taps into similar types of emotional pain from the historical, wounded places.
A computer analogy I use is that of typing in an e-mail address; before we can finish typing, the address or a similar address pops up. Why? Because the computer has been previously programmed with that address or a similar address.
In a similar way, when a person is triggered by a current life event, past programming pops up just like the e-mail address and all the pain floods in from earlier life programming or experiences. In these historical memories the person may have experienced being helpless and powerless. They believed they would be hurt if they told anyone. They may feel the emotions of fear and anxiety.
The sexual abuse victim whose body responded physically may also have felt some ambivalent pleasurable feelings along with the painful disgusted feelings. They may believe that they were bad, that it was their fault or that they were dirty and shameful as well as fearful and helpless. Even though in their logical, adult mind they may KNOW these things not to be true, they EXPERIENCE them as true.
The problem is that we go through life reacting and living from the experiential part of our mind. That is why we need a truth encounter in memory with Jesus so His truth can be revealed and expel the lies internalized in these earlier life events.
Truth Through Theophostic Prayer
How does Theophostic Prayer Ministry actually get the Lord’s truth in memory places?
Theophostic prayer is a Spirit-led process by which a Theophostic Prayer Minister asks the ministry recipient to focus on their current emotional pain as well as any physical feelings in the body or images that come to mind. For example, I might recommend the person close their eyes to help them focus on their painful emotions for a few minutes while I briefly pray and invite the Holy Spirit into the session. I have them tune in to their emotional pain and physical sensations such as body tension and tightness.
When anyone experiences emotional pain in the present, often they are having emotional and sometimes physical memories that are triggered by current life situations, which might be related to conflicts in family, work place, or even in church or other areas of day-to-day life. Where a person is OVERREACTING, is probably a place where they are being triggered and the mind is activating painful emotions rooted in a former unresolved conflict of past memories.
In fact, it can be anything in life that causes a strong emotional reaction or overreaction that is more than the present circumstance warrants. I call this being triggered.
When we are being emotionally triggered, the reaction is from that experiential room or part of our mind letting us know that the present situation FEELS familiar. Typically, day-to-day when triggered, we do not make a connection to past events. We just feel bad in the here and now. We may project our feelings onto others and blame them for our reaction.
Most of us have developed coping techniques and defense mechanisms that help us bury, suppress, and avoid our pain. Many compulsive addictive behaviors are used to cover or numb out. Alcohol, drugs, eating disorders, work, and sex are often used to cover pain. Although it looks good on the surface, even “working for the Lord” can become compulsive if the inner motivation is denial and avoidance of one’s personal problems and emotional pain. An example would be people who are always at church events in an out-of-balance way, while neglecting their own family.
The greater the past hurts the more likely we are to bury, suppress, repress, defend, dissociate, or numb out our emotional pain.
God wants more for our lives than to be forgiven or to just intellectually know we are loved and of great worth, value, and dignity. He wants us to experience being forgiven and to know deep down who we are in Christ and to walk in the fullness of our destiny, purpose, and life’s calling. Only when our hearts are touched and transformed and our minds renewed does real breakthrough take place.
In Isaiah 61, we see God’s purpose in coming to earth and in restoring His children from the effects of sin.
The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to captives and freedom to prisoners; to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn, to grant those who mourn in Zion, giving them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting so they will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified. (Isaiah 61:1-3 NASB)
We know from this and other scriptures that the Lord desires for His children a deeper, fuller and richer salvation. He longs for us to be healed, delivered, and for our minds to be renewed. In order for us to receive His comfort, we must mourn, or in other words, stop managing our pain and feel it. In the healing process we must allow our minds to go to the memory places that contain our lie-based thinking.
A Healing Prayer Session
In a healing prayer session I do not ever suggest memory content as a prayer facilitator. I just help the individual to feel and stay connected to their pain and to stay out of that logical room of their mind; I encourage them to go to the memories that emerge and then ask questions about their painful emotions in order to help them discover their own lie-based thinking.
For example, I might ask: “What are you feeling as seven- year-old Susie when Dad left you and Mom for another woman and you did not see him much after that?”
If she responds, I feel scared, I might ask, “Why do you feel scared?”
Because Dad is not there to protect me and I feel insecure, lonely and sad.
“Why do you feel that?”
I feel sad because I’m all alone and like I’m not important any more to Dad. I’m not a priority, I don’t matter and I feel unloved.
“Is there anything else you feel Susie?”
Yes, I feel guilty.
“Why do you feel guilty?”
Because they always argued about me.
“What does little Susie in that memory believe about that?”
I assume that Susie knows logically as a 40-year-old adult and a Christian that these core beliefs about her are not true; however, in the memory as that 7-year-old girl it feels like her parent’s arguments about her and Dad’s leaving were her fault. Susie, like most of us, can logically know the truth but not be free. Therefore, Susie walks through life feeling unlovable, guilty, and overly responsible and insecure.
After a person feels through the memory, I would help them identify the beliefs or lies that feel true to them in the memories. I would then have them embrace the lie, feel the pain, and then ask Jesus to reveal His truth to the lie-based thinking in order to bring His Light into their darkness of core belief. Jesus is not revealing truth like you or I might reveal truth to someone. JESUS IS TRUTH and Scripture says He is the Spirit of Truth.
In the Healing Prayer process it is not enough to just recall the memory like we normally do when remembering the past; instead, it is important to feel through the memory. In doing so, I have them feel the painful emotion and embrace the lies and ask Jesus to reveal truth in the memory container. When the Lord reveals truth at the memory level a tremendous breakthrough takes place. When they receive Jesus’ truth the pain leaves and freedom and peace settle into the memories that are visited.
As one’s mind is renewed in the memory container the feelings and triggers start to subside and a deep abiding peace and freedom emerges in one’s present circumstances.
I am not suggesting a quick fix, or that after one prayer all life’s problems are solved and all the symptoms diminished. We have thousands, if not millions of memory events in our past. The good news is we do not have to visit them all and none of us will be totally free until we are in Heaven with Jesus. However, if we will listen to what our painful triggers have been trying to show us over the years and allow the Holy Spirit of God, who thoroughly knows every minute detail of our lives, to reveal His truth, then the lies that form our core lie-based beliefs and prevent us from really being able to walk in His truth will start be removed.
Only then can we find real freedom and peace. Hallelujah!
Choosing to be Healed
In the last 10 years I have trained many people in the United States as well as in Turkey. In addition, I had the privilege to accompany Dr. Smith to Ghana, Africa during his first live African training and I was blessed to be able to minister healing prayer to leaders there.
Since 1999, I have had the privilege of facilitating Theophostic Prayer Ministry for over 15,000 hours to hundreds of people and many Christian leaders with tremendous results. I see all kinds of memories completely resolved, truth revealed, and current symptoms diminished. This regularly occurs as one CHOOSES at their deepest level to allow their painful emotions to emerge, identify their lie-based beliefs, and allow the Lord to reveal His truth.
I have witnessed at least several thousand of the most psychologically damaging, traumatic sexual abuse memories COMPLETELY RESOLVED and pain free. I have witnessed their transformation as the Lord’s truth replaces their lie-based thinking. I witness their symptoms of shame, self contempt, fear, and helplessness subside as the Lord’s truth replaces their lie-based thinking in early foundational memories that have plagued their lives.
But the person receiving counseling must proactively choose healing; God will not violate your will.
One final note is that you too can be healed and restored but you have to CHOOSE at the deepest level to feel your pain, connect in memory, and allow the Lord to reveal His truth; God will not violate your will in healing and renewing your mind, just as He will not force us to accept His salvation. However, the good news is that He is always waiting to heal His people, renew our minds, and to take the pain from our lives that He has already made provision for on the Cross.
Do not shrink back but come forward to receive today all he has for you.
But my righteous one shall live by faith; and if he shrinks back, My soul has no pleasure in him. But we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have faith to the preserving of the soul. Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. (Hebrews 10:38-39; 11:1 NASB)
Take a step of faith into the fullness of what God has for you; step by faith out of your fear and deal with these unrenewed parts of your mind that are the root of your pain. These are the places and situations where we overreact and struggle relationally with others, the places that we cover over with our defenses and medicate with compulsive addictive behaviors. Most of our sinful behaviors, I believe, are really rooted in unresolved wounds from our past. Allow the Lord’s truth to go to the depths of your being to truly set you free! Take a step of faith today and pursue your personal healing.
Learn more at Meadows Healing Prayer Center
See Theophostic.com for more information about Theophostic Healing Prayer.
Let us pray with you -- send your e-mail prayer request.
You can also call a CBN Prayer Counselor 24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week at 1-800-759-0700.
More Inner Healing Resources
More from Spiritual Life
Frank Meadows, LCSW, is the founder of the Meadows Healing Prayer Center in Chesapeake, VA where he has ministered to and trained many locally, nationally and internationally utilizing Theophostic Inner Healing Prayer. He is a mental health professional, a licensed clinical social worker and the clinical director of Christian Psychotherapy Services in Chesapeake, Virginia. His ministry focuses on ministering to leadership and bringing healing and restoration to those with emotional, relational, spiritual and abuse trauma recovery issues.
© Frank Meadows. Used with permission.
CBN IS HERE FOR YOU!
Are you seeking answers in life? Are you hurting?
Are you facing a difficult situation?
A caring friend will be there to pray with you in your time of need.