“I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.”–Psalm 4:8
“Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.” –Ephesians 6: 17-18A
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the same measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye’, when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” –Matthew 7: 1-5
In heart-healing prayer counseling, our primary value is safety for the injured one who has come to us for help. Safety means protection, gentleness, and loving encouragement. We endeavor to see each person with Jesus’ eyes and hear with Jesus’ ears. To do this, we pray that God will enable us to set aside our own biases, head knowledge, and current experiences or opinions, that we may follow His lead throughout the session. Our approach defers to Biblical values in every area—we do nothing that does not support Scriptural guidelines, to the best of our understanding.
Safety also means confidentiality. We pledge to discuss nothing revealed in our time together. Only in extreme cases when an individual is in present danger would we break this promise. In such instances, we’d confer with the counselee about options for protection of threatened individuals. This will probably involve informing others.
Anyone who serves in this capacity must acknowledge the Lord Jesus Christ as healer in the sessions, seeing healing or sanctification as a life-long process. We are all only able to give as we continue to receive from the Lord. Conscious of this, we try to flow with His timing, rather than confront the individual in areas not yet ready to be exposed by God.
Structure and spontaneity are intertwined. For example, the time-honored beauty of a great classical piece of music lies in the creative pattern of its structure. In the same way, an architectural masterpiece can be analyzed for the intricate interplay of structural elements. Patterns, “threads”, or themes can be found both in science and art, the natural and invented. We also look for threads and themes in a ministry recipient’s life. God’s creative symmetry is hidden in every person’s story. At the same time, we desire rules to give way to spontaneity in our prayer counseling. Our goal is to follow God’s leading, not our own plan. Every person and session is unique and impossible to reproduce (John 5: 19-20).
Some people come to counseling with a mindset seeking only alleviation from pain. Healing comes instead when hurt is faced. We have found there must be a profound desire for change, rather than merely “help”, on the part of the sufferer. Otherwise, he is unlikely to expose the darkness in his life.
Another of our expressed beliefs is the critical need for the wounded one to take responsibility or “own” his healing. Many hurt people have learned helplessness and are geared to look, with mixed emotions, at others for decisions and direction. This is often a result of unmet or unresolved dependency needs from childhood.
Along with valuing personal responsibility to take action when necessary, we respect the individual’s choices. If he is uncomfortable with something, we want him to express that. If he desires “not to go in a certain direction” during a session, we honor that. Rather than telling him what we see happening, we try to ask questions and find understanding of his soul by listening to his perceptions. When demonic interference surfaces, we ask the sufferer to take authority in Jesus’ name over what is occurring inside him. Our job is to help him focus and to offer suggestions when praying; we then stand in agreement with his spoken petitions.
Though we offer support and encouragement throughout the experience of “spiritual surgery”, we discourage over-reliance on us; our job is to help the injured one find confidence in God. We acknowledge our own failures and mistakes when they occur and take no credit for a person’s healing; the work is not ours, but His.
We try not to hide behind a professional mask. Rather, we are believers in Christ who have experienced the process of deep healing ourselves and desire to help others in this way. As stated above, the sufferer is himself responsible for changes in his life.
If traditional “counseling” is directive or open-ended, heart-healing prayer counseling is dependent on Holy Spirit guidance yet founded on clear Biblical principles. As injured persons encounter Christ, God alters outlook and direction. When they “see differently”, they are able to come to different conclusions (John 12: 40).
Here is a word picture of how we look at ourselves in heart-healing work: A big crowd is standing outdoors closely packed around a person speaking. The teacher has no electronic amplification; he has simply stepped on a little mound and is talking as loudly as he can. Because of interference by the throngs, one must strain to pick up the speaker’s words.
Interspersed in the crowd but obscured by the larger adults are children, overwhelmed and forgotten in the push to get close to the speaker. We come on the scene and find the little ones, taking their hands and gently ushering them through the crowd to the front so they can hear and see. Jesus is the one talking and teaching (Luke 18: 15-17).
In conclusion, because we are convinced God’s church is His extended family, we believe that the essential continued growth we all need after heart-healing prayer counseling can best be facilitated in the context of authentic, transparent, compassionate small groups. No matter how the gathering is structured, it should provide a safe place where members can accept, support, and encourage one another in an atmosphere of openness and honesty. When believers are coming together to honor Christ, any such group becomes church (“Where two or three come together in My name, there am I with them.” -Matthew 18: 20).