Sunday, November 14, 2010

Healing Life's Hurts Through Theophostic Prayer

   I became interested in Theophostic Prayer when a friend of mine and her family who are Charismatic Catholics talked with me about it in the context of being a powerful method for healing. My friend shared with me the experience she had during her first Theophostic Prayer session, and I immediately wanted to hear more about the ministry which focuses on prayer as a means of mind renewal and experiential healing of lie-based beliefs with the Holy Spirit’s Truth.
     My friend’s father, who is a trained spiritual director and one of the leaders of our parish’s Charismatic Prayer Group, loaned me two books on the topic of Theophostic Prayer. The first book entitled Healing Life’s Hurts through Theophostic Prayer was written by the developer of this ministry, pastoral counselor Dr. Edward M. Smith. Theophostic is a word that comes from two Greek words Theos (God) and Phos (light). “These two words describe God illuminating a previously darkened area of one’s mind and thoughts with His truth. Theophostic Prayer Ministry is God’s true Light, the Spirit of Christ bringing divine truth experientially into one’s historical life experiences.” (pg. 10)      The thinking behind this method of prayer and healing is that oftentimes our present reactions and emotions to experiences also include those from our past, whether we’re conscious of it at the time or not. Because we have this emotional baggage from the past that we carry with us, we react to current events in our lives in certain ways. Dr. Smith has found that by identifying the earliest memory when the emotion or thought process first was experienced, that healing can come through prayer and inviting the Holy Spirit to come and heal the pain caused by the lies the person came to believe at that time by replacing them with His Infinite Truth.
     I find this idea quite intriguing. I have been acutely aware for years that many of my childhood experiences have heavily influenced my reaction to people, places, and circumstances in my present life. Though I can go back through what I thought and felt at the time and logically think through my current reactions and where they came from, why they don’t really make sense in the present situation, etc. I still held on to many of the lies I came to believe about God, myself, and others during those traumatic events. It makes sense that freedom and healing come when, through prayer, we open ourselves to having the lies we’ve believed replaced with the Truth that comes to us from the Holy Spirit.
     Far from being a one-time cure for all your problems, Dr. Smith emphasizes that Theophostic Prayer Ministry is a process that helps us to heal deep emotional pain throughout life. We will inevitably have people, situations, places, and events that will trigger our memories. The most troublesome emotions we experience can often be traced back to a particular memory in our lives when we first adopted what we can now identify as being a lie-based belief. Our behavior since that time reflects the belief is still deeply ingrained in us. Only through prayer, identifying the lies, and through God’s grace accepting the Truth that comes from the Holy Spirit are we likely to be healed on a level deep enough that the memory remains, but the raw pain it caused us and the lies we came to believe at the time are replaced.
     Since reading Healing Life’s Hurts Through Theophostic Prayer and experiencing my first Theophostic Prayer Session with ministers who were trained by Dr. Smith himself, I have become even more interested in studying and using this method of healing.
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