“Wholeness through Christ” Healing Ministry Model(from a workshop presented to Diocese of Windward Islands Clergy, 2014)
The Good News of the healing ministry in the Christian Church is that when people come for healing, the Holy Spirit will help us work with them to discern the root cause in their sin or some form of inherited sin-guilt or curse, break the power of the sin through repentance, confession and absolution and build them up spiritually through the infilling of the Holy Spirit. The Wholeness Through Christ Healing Model helps us understand this ministry by defining the goals of Christian healing ministry as:· Sins forgiven
· Wounds healed
· Evil spirits cast out
· Bondages broken
“wholenessthroughchrist.com” is a Canadian, informal, non-denominational, volunteer-based healing organization. It is an association of individuals from many churches that has developed a very simple but Powerful healing model to illustrate the process by which individuals guilty of sin become wounded and subject to spiritual Oppression or even bondages. This model helps us understand the importance of working back from the “fruit” of sin in a persons’ life to deal with the “root of sin” in healing ministry. The model shows the relationship between sin and wounding, spiritual oppression and spiritual bondages. This helps us understand the specific tasks of healing ministry. This Ministry is not for amateurs. It is only for people who are anointed specifically for this Ministry by the Holy Spirit and are:
· Psychologically healthy
· Active in a deep personal prayer life
· Under spiritual supervision and
· Spiritually covered by a praying support group
Clergy are not always called to or gifted in this ministry. This is a potentially dangerous ministry that needs to be done by gifted mature Christians under supervision in a spiritually safe environment and supported by covering prayer.
1. Sin is the root cause of most spiritual wounding and spiritual bondageSin can be anything a person does that is an act of rebellion against the Law of God. This includes a wide and deep interpretation of the Ten Commandments, Jesus command to love God and one another and all the moral teachings of the Bible. The spiritual dimension seems to act on very legalistic grounds. Holiness is taken very seriously. It is not easy for us to get our heads around how fastidious this legalism is. For example there seems to be no such thing as general forgiveness of sins. Each instance of each sin must be legalistically repented and forgiven. The practical application is that most healing ministry includes self-examination, counselling and spiritual discernment to work through the process of:
· Repenting specific sins
· Confessing specific sins
· Specifically asking Jesus for forgiveness.
· Hearing the words of absolution, ideally from a priest
· Stating that they accept Christ’s forgiveness.
This breaks the spiritual power of guilt and frees the person from spiritual oppression. In Anglican liturgies individuals need to be taught and encouraged to prepare in advance with self-examination and then silently include their specific confession as part of the General Confession. Many Anglican churches have trained lay healing teams that offer brief healing prayer to individuals during Communion time in a side chapel. These teams usually include a man and woman to avoid accusations of improper touching. In many jurisdictions trained lay people are licensed by the Bishop to anoint with oil for healing.
2. Sin can leads to woundingThe diagram below shows how sin can lead to spiritual wounding and bondage. Un-forgiven sin separates people from the spiritual protection of their Baptismal Covenant and can lead to spiritual wounding and bondage. Un-forgiven sin places people in rebellion against God. This can lead to spiritual weakness, sickness and ultimately spiritual death. Spiritual wounds can be the cause of behavioural problems, depression and the general malaise of a “slumbering spirit”. Sin guilt wounding can also be inherited through the oaths and curses of ancestors. Masonic Oaths taken by ancestors for example, can be a background cause of heart and stomach diseases.
Sins ----------------------> Bondages
Wounds ----------------> Evil Spirits
3. Wounding leads to oppression by evil spirits
Sin, and particularly a long pattern of repeated sin, can be like leaving a spiritual doorway open, which allows evil spirits to attack and deceive or even oppress a person. Just as when we leave the physical door of our house unlocked we invite thieves in; people can leave spiritual doors and windows open for lying and deceiving spirits. These lying and deceiving spirits may then confuse and spiritually blind people. They often plant destructive lies such as – “You were not wanted as a child”, “You are a failure” and “Nobody likes you”. These lies are very common and often have life-changing power when accepted and believed. Believing, even sub-consciously, can lead to a lifetime of behavioural problems. These lies can rob people of their birthright as wanted children of God. The challenge for healing ministry is to expose the lie and break its power by leading the person through the process of careful self-examination, repentance, confession and acceptance of forgiveness from Jesus.
4. Sin and Spiritual oppression can lead to bondageBondage is the most severe form of spiritual oppression. This is the point where the temptations and deceptions of Satan have worn down a persons’ ability to resist or cry out to God for help. We see the outward physical signs of spiritual bondage as addictions. People can be in bondage to alcohol, power, control, sex, drugs, materialism etc. People can be in bondage to anything that controls their life in a destructive way. God has given us perfect freedom and wants us to freely choose to love Him. But there is an enemy who seeks to control us. Bondages are the ‘deep dungeons’ that Jesus proclamation of the Good News was to free people from.
5. The Wholeness through Christ Healing ModelWholeness through Christ has developed a simple model to illustrate how Christian healing prayer ministry works. This small and very informal organization is really a network of people from many churches and parts of Canada. They come together for a five day workshop in a retreat environment where their work can be surrounded by prayer and spiritually protected. Most have over ten years experience in prayer ministry. The workshop includes singing, teaching and worship sessions as well as individual prayer ministry times. The prayer ministry is done by a team of three people with specific roles. The most experience person leads the ministry - listening to the Holy Spirit for guidance, talking to the person being prayed for and giving words of absolution for sins confessed, rebuking deceiving spirits and praying for healing as necessary. The second person also prays for guidance and protection and silently supports the leader. A third person acts as a recorder to ensure that each issue that comes up is completely dealt with and that no loose ends are left. In addition to this Team there is always a room full of other people waiting nearby for prayer who are covering the ministry with prayer. These prayer ministry sessions last one or two hours as necessary to complete the process:
A. Sins ForgivenSins are any act or failure to act which is a rebellion against our Baptismal Covenant to love God and our neighbour. Since things are very legalistic in the spiritual dimension, sins need to be very specifically identified. This is why our Anglican “General Confession” is powerless without the personal preparation of self examination and real repentance. It is also why people who just assume their sins are forgiven because they go to church are wrong. Our sins must all be specifically repented verbally and with tears as we take them to the Cross of Jesus and ask for forgiveness. Wholeness adds a new step in this process. I was shocked to be asked if I accepted forgiveness from Jesus. This ensures that we do not hang on to our guilt and shame and that we know we are really forgiven. We depend on the Holy Spirit to guide the individual and Team in discerning exactly what was done. This is the most difficult part of healing ministry. Many people are surprised to discover, for example, that it is a sin to believe a lie about yourself – even as a child. Even children need to be protected from lies by parents and stay focussed on what they are taught about God. Discernment of sin is where the experience of the Team in listening to the Holy Spirit is critical.
The Diagram shows how sins can lead to wounds. One of the most common wounds is the unconscious belief of a lie about our identity and worth. Many people are not aware that deep down inside them is a lie that they have carried since childhood. Common lies are not being a wanted child, being ugly and being a failure. These lies wound the spirit and lead to insecurity and a lack of confidence in adult life. It is hard for us to believe a child can be guilty of sin for believing a lie. Experience teaches that things are extremely legalistic in the spiritual realm – the child should have been taught the truth of God’s love and beauty in creation and could have asked the parents what he truth was. This sin guilt is like a glue that preserves the lie and keeps the wound open. A little girl who believed the lie that “she was no good and would never amount to anything” was deeply wounded for the next Forty years. She did not believe the Biblical truth that she was a beautiful child of God and of infinite value. Instead she believed the lie that she was “no good and would never amount to anything”. The words, spoken by a man in uniform traumatized her. They were like a sword through the heart. She was wounded and led an unhappy life. I was privileged to see this wound healed instantly as she was led through the process of confession, absolution and acceptance of forgiveness. She had just asked the Holy Spirit to tell her the truth and had heard Jesus tell her she was beautiful, capable and loved. Her face changed completely – from downcast and sad to radiant with joy. The wound was healed.
C. Evil Spirits Cast Out
The wounds from physical and emotional trauma sometimes act as doorways for evil spirits. Sin guilt gives evil spirits the permission they need to enter our personal spiritual space and deceive us from the inside through our mind and emotions. This is a form of spiritual oppression that can have a destructive effect on our lives. For example men who have un-repented and un-forgiven sexual sins have wounded themselves and possibly created a doorway for a spirit of lust. The spirit of lust may have a legal ‘right’ to be there and oppress with suggestions of new sexual sins. Working backwards in the Model we can see how repenting, confessing and receiving pardon for the original sin removes the guilt - the ‘legal right’ of a spirit of lust to remain, heals the wound that allowed entry and makes it easier to rebuke the spirit and command it to leave and stop oppressing the individual (see Kraft, Charles “I Give You Authority”, 1996).
D. Bondages Broken
Long patterns of sinful behaviour – sin guilt, can also lead to bondages. Bondages are the most destructive patterns of human behaviour because they are actively maintained by spiritual oppression as well as our natural human patterns of willful rebellion against God. A person can be in bondage to anything that controls their lives in a destructive way. Clergy can be in bondage to perfection in liturgy. The Pharisees were in bondage to The Law. The most common forms of bondage that we all notice are alcoholism, materialism, popularity and control. The Diagram shows how sin – like drunkenness for example, can easily lead to the wound of alcoholism. The wound of alcoholism may open a doorway for a spirit of alcoholism which oppresses the person by lying about it being ok or necessary to get through a difficult life situation. This pattern of depending on alcohol (or power, control, money etc.) can become so entrenched over time that the person becomes dependent and is unable to escape from the bondage. This is the “deep dungeon” that Jesus announces the Spirit has anointed Him to free people from by proclaiming the Good News (Luke 4.16-18). It is harder than freeing people from the spiritual blindness of religious “prisons” of belief because the whole pattern of sin behind the alcoholism has to be forgiven before the wound can be healed and oppressing spirit cast out. This is why a third person keeps track of where they are in the process. At the end there is a prayer of blessing and anointing to seal any wounds – and a prayer of forgetfulness to remove all races of guilt and shame.
The Good News of Jesus was a proclamation that God would intervene in history with a gracious offer of forgiveness and healing. Jesus mission was to proclaim this God News that would opens peoples’ spiritual eyes so they can see the sin or lie than has wounded or even imprisoned them. Once free from the prison of the lie they could also be freed from the deeper dungeon of spiritual oppression and bondage through the Repentance, Confession and Absolution process. All Christians are baptized and anointed for this ministry of healing.