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Prayer Ministry Frequently Asked Questions - Page 2
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 1 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. Is prayer ministry a form of counselling?
A. Some say not, but in fact counselling does take place. After all, it is Holy Spirit led ministry and the Holy Spirit is described as the Counsellor. Prayer counselling is probably a better name for what we do. However, prayer counselling is far more than just counselling, because the advice given does not rely only on human wisdom, and the results do much more than alleviate a problem to enable a person to cope with life - they bring an actual cure.
Q. Shouldn't prayer counselling only be done by people with professional counselling qualifications?
A. Most professional counsellors are either not trained or gifted to do prayer counselling, or are forbidden by their conditions of employment to do so. Most professional counselling courses are based on a worldview which does not encompass many of the Christian principles used in prayer ministry. Some also teach concepts opposed to Christian teaching.
However, many prayer ministers also see the advantages of professional qualifications and undergo such training as an additional resource.
Q. After prayer for healing should I still go to a doctor or psychiatrist, and should I stop taking my medication?
A. Unless instructed otherwise by a direct and tested word from the Lord, those receiving ministry should continue being supervised by their medical practitioners and keep taking their medication until advised by a doctor to cease.
Sometimes ministers may advise a person to change their doctor or therapist if they discern that the practitioner is hindering rather than helping their healing.
The best outcome is for a person to be healed and for this to be attested to by the medical profession, whether or not they are willing to admit to the source of the healing.
Q. Is it OK to use alternative medicine or therapies?
A. The ultimate origin of such medicine or therapies must be examined to see whether they are compatible with Christian principles. Many alternative practices are directly based on occult or false religious beliefs. Their use will give further legal rights for demons to bring disturbance into a person’s life.
Be especially vigilant about ideas which directly defy the reasonable laws of science and logic, such as homeopathy, and to Eastern practices which incorporate the entity called ‘Chi’, such as chiropracty, tai chi, etc.
Q. Doesn't prayer ministry use New Age techniques?
A. Some ministries have been accused of being New Age because they use ideas that have also been adopted by New Age practitioners. However, New Age and other false religions have always stolen what is good and twisted it to their own purposes. After all, even witches pray, so should Christians give up praying?
A commonly cited example is the use of ‘visualisation’. The reason Christians today seem afraid of visualisation is not because it is wrong but because it is misused by others. However, the ability to see with the imagination is a God given gift and an essential component of being able to ‘see’ spiritual things.
The difference from New Age practice is that Christians should not use it to pretend that an undesirable event never happened and so attempt to change reality by visualising what is desired and try to create it by the power of the mind. This is closely related to witchcraft, and is widely taught in schools to young children and to salesmen and business executives.
A Christian is able to visualise what God says is ‘really’ there, even when the evidence of our senses is saying something else. We can then pray and work by faith to overcome the conditions that are hindering this reality from being seen.
Q. Do people still get 'demon-possessed' in our modern society?
A. Despite the pronouncement of skeptics and some scientists and doctors, demons are as active today as they were when Jesus confronted them in the first century. However, the term ‘demon-possessed’ is a bad translation of what is actually better described as ‘demonisation’ or ‘having a demon’.
The fact that many try to deny the existence of demons is consistent with the fact that they also disagree with the existence of angels, the human spirit, and God himself. Modernity is obsessed with the supremacy of the human mind, and is suspicious of anything it calls ‘subjective’. However the subjective is just as much a part of reality as the objective, as evidenced by the continuing importance of the arts, imagination, and all things emotional.
Q. Can a Christian have a demon?
A. Yes, a Christian can have a demon. Anything that gives legal rights to demons, such as sin and trauma, means that demons can come in to a person. The presence of the Holy Spirit in a Christian is no deterrent, as evidenced by the Book of Job where Satan and demons are depicted as being quite comfortable in the very presence of God.
Q. Should Christians talk to demons? Won't they just lie?
A. Demons do not always lie, although Satan is described as the father of lies. In fact, Satan and demons were created originally to be servants of God, and this has not changed. They are subject to the authority of Jesus, and must truthfully obey the rightful commands of a Christian. We can tell them to tell the truth, and they do. However, we always check the truthfulness of what they say.
Jesus spoke to demons, even asking them questions and making deals with them (Mark 5:9,13). During prayer ministry demons can be very useful sources of information regarding the legal rights they have to be present. This helps the minister to know what issues need to be addressed to remove those rights and to bring about healing. Besides, if we can’t speak to demons then how would we command them to leave?
Q. A deliverance ministry assured me they had kicked out all the demons. I want to believe them but I don't seem to be any better?
A. Some ‘deliverance’ ministries, who typically concentrate solely on demons as the cause of everything, think they can command them to leave without first dealing with the issues in the person’s life that allow them to stay. Another frequent practice is to assume that the demons have left because they have commanded them to leave, without checking to see if they have actually gone.
It is also possible that if a person, following deliverance, continues to sin, then the same demons may return, or other demons gain the right to come. It is important to command the demons not to return or send others, and to instruct the person in how to remain free.
Q. Is all sickness caused by demons?
A. All sickness is not caused by demons. In fact, demons rarely cause anything. Demons take advantage of existing conditions to harrass the person.
Q. Can't we just 'claim' our healing? Isn't revisiting past problems showing a lack of faith?
A. We can claim anything, but we will only get it if we have a right to it. In other words, we must fulfill the conditions attached to the promise. If we are suffering the consequences of sin then it is only by repentance and forgiveness that the consequences will be averted. Jesus’ death and resurrection makes this possible, but we still must appropriate it.
Faith must be faith in God - that he will do what he has promised. Faith itself does not heal - God heals. Faith in faith itself is nonsense. Faith is not wishful thinking. Faith is not blind. Faith expects results, and if they are not forthcoming a faithful person re-evaluates the situation to see why not. Otherwise we are depending on faith itself and not on Jesus.
Q. My pastor told me I wasn't healed after prayer because I didn't have enough faith. Is this right?
A. Faith, whether in large amounts or small, does nothing of itself. Reliance on and trust in Jesus and his faithfulness is what is required. We must be like the man who said, "Lord, I do believe. Help me overcome my unbelief!" (Mark 9:24)
Q. Can anyone do prayer ministry?
A. Prayer ministry means relying on the Holy Spirit to tell us what to do, and acting on what he says. It should be normal and natural for any mature Christian to do this. It is wise to do it in the company of others rather than alone. This provides protection for both the person receiving ministry and the one providing it from the pitfalls associated with any form of counselling.
However, training and experience are also valuable and desirable.
Q. Do you need special spiritual gifts to do prayer ministry?
A. No special gifts are necessary except for the ability to clearly hear the voice of Jesus, to listen carefully to the person with the problem, and to resist intruding our own ‘stuff’ into the situation.
However, the whole range of spiritual gifts are useful in different situations.
Q. Do you need training to do prayer ministry?
A. Most of the pioneers of prayer ministry began by simply relying on the Holy Spirit to guide them. Experience is the best teacher - there is no substitute for actually "doing the stuff", as John Wimber used to say.
However, good training is invaluable, and if you are serious about being involved in prayer ministry then take advantage of every resource God has provided in order to become a better minister.
Q. Where can I receive training in prayer ministry?
A. There are many training organisations who instruct in prayer ministry. Some are listed on our Prayer Ministry Training page.
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