What about "Theophostic Prayer"? What is it? Is it of God as claimed by its creators and practitioners?
What is the truth, and most importantly, how is the truth applied in what is good and acceptable in God's sight?
For this, we must know from God. He alone can show us. Our opinions or reckonings will not suffice in the end, or the beginning. I give thanks to the Lord Jesus Christ that He has not left us alone, but has given us the truth, by His grace. That is what I will answer with here, praise God.
According to the official web site, the main thrust of this ministry is to help emotionally hurting people.
Here is a quote from the founder, Ed Smith:
"It is also acknowledged that the Lord gave the Church
the commission to bring healing to the downtrodden which is our call and
mandate. (Luke 4:18)
Praying for and ministering to those who are hurting and need help is an act
of obedience which pleases our Lord. Helping emotionally hurting people is
not an option of the Church but rather a direct command given to us in many
places in Scripture."
The genesis of much of the emotional pain, according to this ministry, is explained as follows:
"Theophostic Prayer Ministry believes a person's primary
present emotional pain comes from the misinterpretations (lies) learned during
life experiences and not from the memories of these events themselves. For
example, a child feels shame not because his father divorced his mother but
because he may believe it was his fault (the lie). ..."
From there, the reasoning proceeds that the Lord will release us from the lies we believe, if we are brought into His presence by the prayer technique used by "Theophostic" prayer.
"Theophostic Prayer Ministry recognizes that behavior
is greatly influenced by the knowledge stored in the mind. Therefore, in
order to act differently, we must be 'renewed in our minds' (Romans 12:2)
This renewal should not only be the cognitive passing of information from
counselor/minister to the one receiving ministry but include experiential
'knowing' through prayer that comes by the presence of Christ. Only the Spirit
of the Living Lord Jesus can set us free of the lies we experientially believe
as we take our requests for truth to Him in prayer."
It sounds reasonable, and simple enough. We are brought to Christ and "dis-illusioned," set free. I cannot argue with the fact that the Lord will do that, and does that. He has done that for me. The question is HOW? The method proposed here is ungodly, unscriptural, and despite claims to the contrary, unprofitable even now, and certainly later. I quote the prophet Jeremiah:
"The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?" (Jeremiah 17:9)
The problem is not that we believe lies; it is that we are liars. The Lord did not come to deliver us from believing lies; He came to deliver us from being liars. When we stop being liars we will stop believing lies. First things first.
The focus on the pain of others or ourselves also does not lead to a godly solution. The problem is not that we are victims; it is that we are perpetrators. The Lord did not come to save victims; He came to save perpetrators. The people who came to the river Jordan were not confessing that they had been raped, or abused by the Romans, or not loved by their parents, but were confessing their sins.
The solution is not to bring the Lord down from Heaven, or up from the earth, to meet us in our crises, as we determine He should, but to confess Him with the mouth, and believe (obey) Him from the heart. Only by repentance and obedience does our belief become effective for good. Only in obeying Him is our correction and healing sure, for then we are with Him, Who is Life itself. We cannot call on the Lord like some kind of genie, and expect Him to grant our wishes. It doesn't work that way.
The work of salvation, which is the true goal and concern for those who Name the Name of Christ, comes not by "Christian" psychotherapy, but by the cross. That cross is not a technique, but submission to the will of God in all things, according to His timetable, whereby He works all things in His wisdom. We are not the ones to call the shots. We are called to put our trust in the Sovereign Ruler over all things, the Lord Jesus Christ. In doing so we find that His ways are not men's ways. It is not by men's wisdom or works that we are set free.
That said, we do go to Him with our petitions. We do make our needs known to Him. We do seek His face in all things, and follow His commandments, as we know how to. We do confess our faults and pray for one another. I do not see that we confess the faults of others who have caused us pain. Rather the Lord made clear that it is otherwise how we are made right. He said:
"For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; but if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses" (Matthew 6:14-15).
You are not a prisoner of fear, or insecurity, or shame, because of what others did to you, by which you allowed their assessments or actions to define you, but rather because you do not forgive them their trespasses against you. And because you do not forgive them their trespasses against you, you are yet in your sins; you are still a perpetrator of evil towards others, and yourself. Your problem is not ever what others did to you, but what you do to others. It is not the circumstances that define you, but your reaction to those circumstances. When you go on in unforgiveness you have married yourself to the sin or evil committed on you, and therefore continue to reap from the same. You are no different than your perpetrators. You are one with them and carry on their work, even on yourself as the victim of your own unforgiveness. You can look good to others, trying so hard to be good, and cover over your evil, but you cannot defy your nature. It will manifest, and does for those with eyes to see.
If you do not receive your circumstances as from the hand of God, especially the evil done to you, it is God that you are not forgiving. He is the One Who sends all things your way. Yes, it sounds hard, and is hard. But it is true. HE IS GOD, and does all things.
"I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded you, though you have not known Me: That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside Me. I am the LORD, and there is none else. I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things" (Isaiah 45:5-7).
Part of His wrath, and the evil He sends, is that He determines people to believe lies. He consigns people to this judgment. Hear again, and be instructed in His ways, and not the false ways that men have presented of Him:
"... and with all deceit of unrighteousness in those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, so that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that
they should believe a lie, so that all those who do not believe the truth,
but delight in unrighteousness, might be condemned [judged]" (2 Thessalonians 2:10-12).
Do you hear? People believe a lie because they have already denied the truth.
How then can they see truth, from which they have been cut off? They can't.
They need judgment on their ways, and repentance, not superficial "illumination." "Theophostic prayer" is nothing short of sorcery. Do you know what sorcery is? It is trying to get immediate results by man's power or wisdom. And for a time it may appear to work. But I guarantee it will fail in the end, and make matters much worse, if not repented of and replaced with true submission to God.
"Theophostic prayer" is an unholy expression of the desire to have your cake and eat it too. It avoids the cross and preserves the flesh. It makes Jesus the ultimate self-help healing tool, which may be glorious in men's sight, but is abominable in truth. It is a false "Jesus" which is conjured up by men, made in the image of man. The work of the true Lord Jesus Christ is to make men into God's image, which men have not known. It is His good pleasure to do this work, and to give His children the Kingdom of Heaven. Do not be deceived, evil communications do corrupt good manners. Put your trust in Him and not in the schemes of men who do a superficial work, which will not stand in the day of fire.
"For they have healed the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace" (Jeremiah 8:11).