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Prayer Ministry Frequently Asked Questions - Page 1
The following are a selection of questions frequently asked about prayer ministry. It is by no means a complete list, nor are the answers definitive. For more questions go to Page 2 of the FAQ. For even more questions and more extensive answers you might like to visit our newly developing Prayer Counselling website. There you will also be able to submit questions not already answered.
Q. What is prayer ministry?
A. In this website, by 'prayer ministry' we mean the use of prayer and Holy Spirit led counselling to help a person resolve problems in their lives and receive healing through Jesus. For more, see our What is Prayer Ministry? page.
Q. What is the difference between prayer ministry, prayer counselling and Christian counselling?
A. What we refer to as prayer ministry in this website used to be called 'prayer counselling'. However, because most people doing prayer ministry are not professional counsellors, at one time it seemed wise to change the name. However, this has caused confusion with those who mean any form of ministry to a person using prayer, such as the prayer line after a church service. 'Prayer counselling' may still be the more accurate name.
Some Christian counselling includes prayer ministry. In fact, some prayer ministers are really Christian counsellors, although they may or may not have professional counselling qualifications. However, it is also common to use the term 'Christian counsellor' for a counsellor who also happens to be a Christian, even though for various reasons they may only use secular techniques and principles in their work. This too leads to confusion in the use of the label.
Q. How can I arrange to receive prayer ministry?
A. Many prayer ministries have websites through which they may be contacted, such as the ones listed in our Prayer Ministry Centres page. Otherwise, contact a local church leader to find out what is available near you.
Q. Where can I find prayer ministry in the Bible?
A. While the Bible does not use the term 'prayer ministry', its concepts certainly can be found there. One example is in Mark 9:14-29 when the disciples could not drive out a demon causing a boy to be mute. Jesus told them that "this kind can come out only by prayer." Many prayer ministry concepts can be seen in other healings carried out by Jesus.
Q. Is all sickness caused by sin?
A. Yes, indirectly in that all sickness is the result of the fall and the continuing sin of the human race. More directly, all sickness will have at least a component due to sin, either that of the sick person, or from sin committed against them by others, or as a result of the sin of their ancestors. Even in the case of genetic causes, the original genetic defect appeared in the family line because of someone's sin, even if that sin was simply that of not taking the problem to God for healing.
Q. If God is all-loving then why does he allow sin and sickness in the world?
A. When God set up the conditions under which humanity would need to choose either to love him or not, he necessarily bound himself to their choice. So, God is subject to his own laws, and so makes himself vulnerable. God does not cause sin and sickness, however, if we insist on travelling the path of sin then God must permit us to do so, otherwise he would violate both us and his own nature. We reap the consequences of that sin in the form of sickness, injustice, violence, poverty, etc. because that is what happens when God's laws, set up to keep us safe and well, are violated. He remains always available for us to turn to him for help, healing and protection, but he cannot force us to do so.
Q. We prayed for my little brother to get well. Why did God still take him?
A. God does not kill people. God intends us to live to a good old age, then to die in reasonable health. If someone dies early it is because Satan, who has power over the first death, had sufficient legal rights over the person through sin to kill them, and also had a reason to want to do so.
In the case of a child, generational sin is usually the largest component affecting them, rather than personal, conscious sin.
Q. If someone was born as a result of rape did God intend them to exist?
A. Yes, no one is born by accident or without God's giving them life. The circumstances of their coming into the world are influenced by the good or bad choices of their parents and others, but their life can only be given by God.
Q. In the Gospels Jesus healed quickly just by speaking. Why do we need to do prayer ministry?
A. Jesus, as a man filled with the Holy Spirit, was only different from us in two ways - he had never sinned, and he did not inherit original sin. Therefore he was able to hear his Father clearly, and make full use of the abilities given to him by the Holy Spirit. He healed, not because he was God, but by doing the same things we do as Spirit filled believers. His lack of baggage enabled him to do it well, whereas we are usually battling our handicaps of pride, unbelief and general ignorance.
However, be encouraged, because Jesus said that we would do even greater things than he did (John 14:12). This is because we are working following his resurrection and Jesus when took the keys of death and Hades back from Satan (Revelation 1:18). When he was ministering he was still doing it in Satan's jurisdiction. Also, we have the resurrected Jesus in all his authority living in us by the presence of the Holy Spirit.
Q. My pastor says we should put the past aside and forget it, and not look at past hurt and pain for healing. Is this true?
A. Two passages are among those used to justify this belief. The first is in Philippians 3, where Paul talks about forgetting what is behind and pressing forward for the goal for which God has called him heavenward. However, the context is not one of forgetting the bad things that have happened to him in the past, but the very real social, intellectual and personal advantages that he had before he met Jesus.
The second passage is in Luke 9:62, where Jesus says that "No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God." Again, the context is of leaving behind our previous desires, relationships and lifestyle to give ourselves fully to Jesus, not of ignoring the sin and sickness that besets us and makes us less effective in Kingdom work.
Can you imagine Jesus saying to the leper, "I won't heal you, because you just need to forget about being ill and push through it. Don't let it get you down, just cheerfully serve God and you will be healed at the end of the age." I can't!
Q. Hasn't all our sin and pain been dealt with at the Cross? Why should we dig it up again?
A. What was won at the Cross was the possibility of our salvation and eternal life, but we still must appropriate it. God won't save us against our will. Once we accept his offer to be our Saviour then begins the process of sanctification, in which we work together with God to become the people we were meant to be - more like Jesus. This is the goal of prayer ministry. It helps us deal with the legal rights Satan has in our lives which reduce our effectiveness in the spiritual warfare to which we are called.
Interestingly, I haven't heard those who say it was all done at the Cross objecting to prayer for a broken leg which wasn't healed at the instant of conversion! So why not a broken heart?
Q. My pastor says I should overcome my temptations by just reading the Bible and praying more. Why doesn't it seem to work?
A. This sounds like salvation by works. We can't be healed by will-power. If all that God had provided for our sanctification was the Scriptures and permission to talk at God, then I would have to agree. However, God has provided far more than this. He gives us himself, living within us and available for a two way relationship in which he also talks to us and we listen to his powerful words. He gives us brothers and sisters filled with his Spirit, and able to minister to us with gifts of healing, wisdom, knowledge, prophecy, tongues, and so on. He gives us his physical presence in bread and wine and water and oil to continually feed our bodies, souls and spirits with resurrection life, wash us clean from sin, and heal our wounds.
Q. I can't see Jesus or hear his voice. How can I learn to do this?
A. Many people actually do hear Jesus' voice, but don't recognise it because no one has told them how to do it, or even that it can be done. Similarly, few have been instructed on the true role of our imagination as the screen on which God places vision from him, not just as the part of us used to make things up. We have provided teaching on these things in our Listening to God website.
Q. I already had ministry for something. Now it has come up again. Why?
A. There are a number of possibilities here. First, healing often happens in layers, like the skins of an onion. As we learn to walk at one level, God is preparing us to go deeper to the next level. Second, sometimes we are unable to deal fully with all aspects of a problem until some parts of it are first resolved. Third, it is possible that aspects of a problem are missed by those ministering the first time, requiring further ministry later. All prayer ministers are fallible even though God is not.
Q. If I go for prayer ministry will others find out my secrets?
A. If you are prepared to be real and honest with God, then you will need to also be honest with those ministering to you. You may need to reveal things you would rather keep hidden, in order to be healed. It is also possible that God will reveal secrets to the ministers supernaturally.
Most of the ministry centres listed on this site follow the practice of asking God to help them forget things they do not need to remember following the ministry. This is remarkably effective. They also promise that everything shared in a ministry session will be kept absolutely confidential. Even the intercessors are not given information to help them pray. Instead they have to rely on listening to God.
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