The TPM Basic Training Seminar Manual defines TPM as, “Intentional and focused prayer with the desired outcome of an authentic encounter with the presence of Christ, resulting in mind renewal and subsequent transformed life.”
Theo (God) Phostic (light) is a ministry of prayer that is Christ centered and God reliant for its direction and outcome. Simply stated, it is encouraging a person to discover and expose what he believes that is a falsehood; and then encouraging him to have an encounter with Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit in prayer, thus allowing the Lord to reveal His truth to the wounded person’s heart and mind. It is not about the prayer facilitator advice giving, diagnosing problems, or sharing opinions or insight. It is about allowing a person to have a personal encounter with the Lord Jesus in the midst of the person’s emotional pain. It is the Holy Spirit that leads us into all truth and that it is He that intercedes for us in prayer to the Father. The Apostle desired to “know Him” (Phil. 3:10) and experience Him; “Him” being the person of Jesus.
Some might suggest that we can only have a relationship with God by way of the Bible through growing in deeper knowledge. I believe that knowledge is very important and Bible study a necessity, but knowledge alone “puffeth up” (1 Cor. 14:1). How ever a person enters into this relational knowledge of Christ, whether it be through biblical counseling, preaching and teaching, personal prayer time, etc or during a Transformation Prayer session, encountering Christ in His Word, brings the Word to life in the heart of the believer.Transformation Prayer seeks to know Christ experientially and relationally.
At the same time it does NOT seek to replace any of the Christian disciplines such as, biblical counseling, teaching, preaching, intercessory prayer, fasting or personal Bible study. It has never been suggested Transformation Prayer is THE way or only way to know Christ intimately, but only one way that people may experience Him.
Feelings Generally Match What One Believes
Transformation Prayer Ministry believes a person’s present emotional pain is often rooted in misinterpretations (lies) embraced during life experiences. This is not to say that some emotional pain is due to what is happening in the present, but there are often historical roots as well. Our emotions tend to match what we believe. If I am feeling something then I probably believe something that is the root of the emotion. For example, if I believe that a robber is in my house I will probably feel some measure of fear. If I discover what I thought was a robber was only my cat making a fuss, then my fear changes to relief because my belief changed. If an adult feels shame when he thinks about a sexual abuse memory, the shame is not because he was abused, but because of what he believes about the abuse. For example, he may believe the abuse made him dirty or was his fault (lies).
Emotional Pain is Often Rooted in Lies Harbored in Experience.
Transformation Prayer Ministry recognizes that the emotional pain one experiences in the present is often coming from a lie contained in an earlier experiential source. If the emotional pain is being generated by a lie rooted in earlier faulty thinking, true release of the emotional pain in the present will not likely occur unless the person is able to identify this falsehood and receive God’s perspective.
Life experience provides us with an interpretive grid of knowledge we will carry forward.
When I have a negative emotional response in the present, it can probably be traced back to a core belief harbored in an earlier event. In this earlier event a belief was established that is generating a negative emotion in the present. My present feelings are generally indicative of what I have believed. If a person will focus on the emotion he is feeling during a present tense situation and allow his mind to connect him with its source, he will usually find himself remembering an earlier event that carries the same emotion. This is due to the belief that was harbored in the earlier event is transposing its emotion into the present where the same belief is being applied.
A common accusation heard during a marital conflict is “You are just like my father, mother, brother, school teacher, etc…” What is happening here is the lies and their corresponding emotions that were embraced in earlier times are surfacing in the current relationship.
When life happens around us we may become emotionally stirred by what occurs. These lies make up the experiential knowledge we harbor that we learned in a life moment that we have carried forward as a perpetual interpretive grid for understanding and interpreting each new life experience. We call this belief core belief. For example if little Johnny is told repeatedly by his Father, “You are worthless” Johnny may embrace this belief as truth and carry this experiential knowledge forward even in spite of the fact the he later memorizes the verses that says he is loved of God and has great worth in His sight. Johnny may also react defensively every time anyone questions his behavior or criticizes his efforts. The lie “I am worthless” will likely raise its ugly head over and over each time he is reminded of it. Piling more truth on top of this lie may not have much impact. A buried/hidden lie or sin will tend to come back around in due season. Both must be owned and identified and brought to the Lord.
Simultaneously as we are embracing lie-based interpretations through early experience, we are also gathering up logical truth what we are taught, read, memorize and learn from example. This logical truth became the “law” that we will seek to obey and conform our behavior to. However, each time the experiential knowledge is “triggered” the pain of the past comes forward into our present situation and stands in conflict with what we logically know to do. Herein a battle is inevitable.
For example, a man might come home from work and ask his wife in innocent curiosity, what she had done all day and be met with defensive hostility. In this moment the wife is feeling and acting upon what she believes in that moment.Transformation Prayer Ministry seeks to identify any lie-based thinking that is causing emotional pain in a person’s present life and encourage the person to bring this thinking to Christ for His truth perspective.
Struggles Come from Conflicting Beliefs.
Transformation Prayer Ministry understands our behavior to result from choices we make based both upon what we logically believe to be true and what we experientially believe to be true. If these beliefs are in agreement, we experience peace and calm as we go about everyday life, we find it easy to be led by the Spirit, and we experience the fruit of the Spirit called self-control. If, however, these beliefs are in conflict, we will experience unrest and struggle. The Bible calls this being double-minded (James 1:8) or holding opposing beliefs at the same time. Struggling to act according to what we logically believe (obedience) and against what we experientially believe (lies) is not functioning in Spirit-led self-control but “trying to climb up some other way.”Transformation Prayer Ministry’s solution is to identify and expose (confession) what we believe that is contrary to the truth and offer this thinking up to the Lord to be rescued from this struggle through receiving His truth.
Failure to successfully maintain strict obedience to logical truth we hold happens because a person is often strongly motivated by the emotion he feels in any given moment. What we feel is a strong motivation in the choices we make moment to moment. When the experiential knowledge or core belief (which is the primary source of our emotional state) is contrary to our logical belief (biblical truth) we will experience an inner conflict. For example, if I feel very anxious or worried I tend to act this out. TPM believes that strong emotion primarily comes from experiential knowledge (mental information derived from what we have actually experienced) and not from logical truth (data believed as truth but never realized through experience). This experiential knowledge can be lie-based, and when it is, it produces painful emotions such as fear, worry, anxiety, and depression to name a few.Transformation Prayer Ministry’s focus is the renewal of the mind at the experiential level of consciousness.Transformation Prayer Ministry seeks to expose and dispel the lies producing this pain so people will no longer be double-minded and can walk in the truth more easily.
Can we really put our past behind us?
It is very important that we never allow our past to dictate what we do or do not do in the present tense. Our past is no excuse for our current behavior or choices. We are not victims of our past. However, to say we can just put it all behind us and think that it will just go away, not impact or influence us, and somehow leave us alone is wishful thinking.
The truth is, our past is behind us. It is called memory. The question is what we will do with the memory that we have no option but carry. Those who suggest just putting it behind generally choose to suppress it, deny it, block it out and refuse to allow it to creep into conscious awareness. The problem is, no matter how deep we bury it and even should we forget where it is hidden, it knows where we live and revisits us in our dysfunctions, marital rifts, and through other relational sabotage. All of our present behavior is linked to our thinking. All thought is connected to what we know and have learned. Everything we know we received in experience. All experience is in the past and therefore a memory. This makes cleaning up our memories of lie-based thought a crucial part of what we do if we are to be “transformed (changed) by the renewing of our minds” (Rom. 12:2) Some people pride themselves in their ability to “rise above” their past basing their success in their ability to achieve and perform in spite of their past. This is commendable but it really does little to deal with the lie-based thinking that is held at the core level in their thinking. Our core beliefs remain intact no matter how well we perform. Sometimes our performance is actually the outcome of us running from and avoiding the pain that is held in our past. Not everything we call spiritual is always that.
A Common Mis-use of the Philippians 3 Passage
We sometimes hear people say you should “put the past behind you” misusing the Philippians 3 passage to support this thinking. “forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead…” (3:13). The context of this passage is not referring to Paul’s painful past but was referring to putting his past efforts in self righteousness behind him.
The Apostle Paul was not referring to painful past memories when he said, “forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead” (Phil. 3:13), but rather he was referring to his former acts of self-righteousness. He called his past efforts in self-righteousness a pile of dung. It was these ways of acting that he was putting behind him because he had come to see them as worthless acts of self-righteousness. People who quote this verse to get us to deny what we feel and “forget” our painful past are not allowing it to be interpreted in its proper context. Re-read verses 1-12 of this passage in its context to see what the Apostle was describing. Let the passage say what it says and nothing more. To use this passage to support suppression and denial is not good biblical interpretation.
Putting the past behind us is both practically and neurologically impossible.
Some say we should put the past behind us by not thinking about it any longer and by pressing forward to what lies ahead. It would be great if this was actually possible, but practically and neurologically it cannot be done. If what people mean is just choose to not be influenced by your past and block out any troubling painful memory, then this is simply suppression and denial and not anything spiritual. Every thought in our mind comes from our history. God designed our minds to draw from the historical information stored in our minds. It is designed to work well unless the information is flawed with lies. This is why the mind needs to be renewed. To just not think about it is to live in suppression and denial and to keep the lies we harbor hidden. There is a more profitable solution and that is to own our past, identify the lies that are at the root of the pain and find truth from the Word of God and by listening to the communication of the Holy Spirit.
The past is a wealth of knowledge that has great benefit when it is lie-free. The truth is, all that I have is my past and a tiny moment in time we call the present. Everything that I have in my mind is memory, and every emotion that I feel is connected to some aspect of my thinking, which is based on memory (unless the emotion is due to a bio-chemical problem). To “put my past behind me” in the sense of trying not to think about the past is to fight against how God has created my mind to operate. Putting my past behind me is a program of controlled behavior that is self-reliant and dependent upon my efforts in maintaining it. Anytime self-effort is the power source, defeat is often just around the corner.
Self-effort was never God’s solution for overcoming sin that is motivated by lie-based thinking nor is His solution to lie-based thought denial of its existence.
Genuine renewal does not come from building strong logical defenses against the lies, or from embarking on a program of suppressing behavior motivated by lie-based emotions. Just choosing not to think about our past does not provide any long-term solution to our lie-based pain. This emotional pain is coming from the lies in our history, not the history itself. Rather than not think about the memory event, we can choose to identify what it is in the event (the lie) that is causing the problem and find His truth. It is this lie harbored in the memory that is in need of renewal. True release comes from being set free from the lies that motivate sinful behavior. This is whyTransformation Prayer Ministry can be helpful for emotionally wounded people—the process opens the way for the Holy Spirit to replace their lies and pain with truth and peace.
Not All Negative Emotion is Lie-based; Some is Truth-Based
Transformation Prayer Ministry recognizes that there are some negative emotions that are not lie-based but actually truth-based. Such feelings as disappointment, grief, sadness, regret and anger are often rooted in truth. If you were to ask a survivor of sexual abuse why they may be angry, they might respond with, “Because what he did was wrong!” This would be the truth. However, if what I feel is fear, shame, abandonment, etc., this is lie-based.Transformation Prayer Ministry sees it as important for a person to find freedom from both lie-based and truth-based emotional pain since we are commanded by the Word of God to “cast all of our burdens on Him” (1 Peter 5:7). However, truth-based emotions are biblically righteous, whereas emotions such as anxiety, worry, fear, and feelings of abandonment are not, since we are told to “Be anxious for nothing” (Phil. 4:6), “fear not” (Matt. 10:31), and to know that He is with us always so we cannot be abandoned (Matt. 28:20), etc. The TPM facilitator is trained to know the difference between lie-based and truth-based emotion and how to deal with each accordingly.
Unless a person encounters Christ (through His Holy Spirit) his or her life will not change. Genuine transformation is a work of Christ in us not the outcome of our own performance.
Most of what we call spiritual is nothing more than what any unbeliever could do if they just set their mind to it. Transformation of one’s life is a result of the inner working of the Holy Spirit.Transformation Prayer Ministry recognizes the futility of trying to talk a person out of his experiential false belief and talking him into a new belief system, and acknowledges that apart from a realization of truth from the Holy Spirit nothing significant will ever happen. People can tell people the truth but unless the Holy Spirit moves it into the heart of the person it remains only words spoken. (What occurs in aTransformation prayer session is the same thing that occurs in one’s private prayer and meditation on the Word of God. The Holy Spirit moves the truth from the head to the heart.)
Unless a person encounters Christ through the Holy Spirit his life will not change. This does not invalidate the necessity of discipleship, Bible study or biblical instruction but rather points out the need for balance between this and having experiential moments with God. Knowledge of God with the absence of “knowing” God experientially and relationally is meaningless.Transformation Prayer is one way that this is partially accomplished.
Transformation Follows Mind Renewal.
In Romans 12:2 we are told to “be transformed by the renewal of our minds.” This means that there are things that we believe that need to be replaced with truth. We cannot have a change of heart about the lies we believe and embrace the truth He has for us, if we are unwilling to look back to what we believe. And everything that we believe is located in the context of experience. Throwing more truth on top of lies will not resolve the problem. We must identify the lies we believe before we can find freedom from them. If what a person means when he says “put your past behind you” is for us not to be self-absorbed with the events of the past while there is no resolution from the lies we have harbored, then I agree. If all I do is think about how bad I have had it and do not find resolution of the pain in my past then I accomplish nothing and have succumbed to a victim status. Conversely, if what I do is bury the past and never attend to the lies that permeate my thinking, then I am as bad off as the other. God desires that we own our past, identify what we believe and seek Him for the truth. Herein lies true victory.
Transformation Prayer Ministry recognizes that behavior is greatly influenced by the knowledge stored in the mind.
The Apostle Paul declares that transformation is an outcome of the mind being renewed (Rom. 12:2). Therefore, in order to act differently, we must be “renewed in our minds.” This renewal should include, but not be limited to the cognitive passing of information from the minister to the one receiving ministry, personal bible study and meditation, but should include experiential “knowing” that comes from the presence of Christ through prayer. The Word is alive because it is infused with God’s Spirit. It is the “Spirit of God that leads us into all truth.” Any lost person can read the Bible and gain nothing but knowledge. However, when the Spirit speaks to the heart of man through His written word it comes alive and transforms. Only the Spirit of the Living Lord Jesus can set us free from the lies we experientially believe as we take our requests for truth to Him in prayer. The facilitator can play a vital part in this prayer process, but it is the Spirit of God who imparts experiential truth (making what we know logically known experientially) and it is the written Word of God which is the source and standard of all truth. Transformation Prayer Ministry is a way to accomplish this, but is not the only means through which God operates.
Transformation (God’s Light) is all about the Lord Jesus.
Transformation Prayer Ministry acknowledges that Jesus through the Holy Spirit is the only one who can truly release the wounded person from their emotional/mental bondage. This does not invalidate the role of the minister but acknowledges that apart from Christ we are ineffective in accomplishing God’s desire for the wounded soul.Transformation (God’s Light) is all about the Lord Jesus.