for a fruitful journey with him.
More Than Just What Happens In The Prayer Room
- Understanding of Transformation Prayer Ministry (TPM) is often limited to be the PROCESS or that which occurs within the actual ministry session. TPM is made up of three areas: The TPM Process, Principles and Purpose. If we do not understand these latter two aspects, we are lacking crucial elements of the overall ministry.
- Though everyone is encouraged to embrace the fundamental teachings concerning the Principles and Purpose of TPM, it is also understood that the Body of Christ is very diverse in its theology and practice.
- However, if a person does not follow the prescribed protocol of the TPM PROCESS (what occurs in the ministry session) exactly as it is taught, then they should call what they are doing something other than TPM.
What most people understand TPM to be is limited by what they assume occurs within the actual ministry session. By definition, what occurs in a ministry session is referred to as the TPM Process and consists of the protocol that is supposed to be followed in the session. However, there are two other very important areas in TPM, referred to as the Principles and the Purpose. If we do not understand these latter two aspects, we are lacking crucial elements of the overall ministry.
What is the intent of the TPM PROCESSS? First, the TPM process is not spiritual in and of itself; rather, it is a tool that helps with the identification of our lie-based core beliefs. As we are able to identify what we believe—that which runs contrary to the truth—we are in a better position to have the lies we believe replaced with God’s perspective. The actual intent of the TPM PROCESS or the ministry “tool” itself is to provide a systematic and reliable means by which ALL members of the Body of Christ may intentionally and purposefully participate with God in the refining of their faith, thereby renewing their minds and bringing about effortless transformation in their belief and behavior. When this occurs, the fruit of the Spirit is experienced naturally and spontaneously within those areas of transformation where truth is known within our hearts.
Though everyone is encouraged to embrace the fundamental teachings concerning the Principles and Purpose of TPM, it is also understood that the Body of Christ is very diverse in its theology and practice. However, the TPM Process is not a theology, but rather a system of questions designed to help a person to identify the lies they believe. If a person does not follow the prescribed protocol of the TPM Process exactly as it is taught, then they should call what they are doing something other than TPM.
It is crucial that whether a person embraces all that is proposed here concerning the Principles and Purpose of TPM, that they still provide a solid theological underpinning for what occurs in a TPM session. If all a person knows about TPM is the Process, they will inevitably assume that TPM is a means for managing emotional pain. When this is the case, people will only utilize this ministry when they are unable to manage their pain in other ways. They will also miss daily opportunities to have their faith refined and their mind renewed with the truth since they will disregard the many times their lie-based pain is triggered. They will also assume that their painful emotion is coming from their situation, relationships or their past. They will fail to see that TPM is a means for cooperating with what God is doing in refining our faith, renewing our minds and transforming our lives.
The ultimate goal of every TPM session is genuine transformation, which is the outcome of a refined faith and the renewing of the mind. When God refines our faith and renews our minds with His truth, it will transform us, making it possible for us to walk effortlessly in the fruit of the Spirit. When this occurs it is only because the Spirit has persuaded us of the truth in our hearts.
Reframing Life Crisis As A Benefit
- In order to benefit from TPM, we must re-frame our crisis and the day-to-day troubles as God-allocated opportunities for mind renewal, as opposed to a drudgery we must endure and get through.
- Mind-renewal is the outcome of a purified faith, resulting in transformation that brings about the experiential reality of the fruit of the Spirit.
- We can intellectually acquire knowledge by exercising our mental faculties, as can any person—believer or unbeliever. However, it is God who grants us the faith (belief from the heart) that results in transformation.
- We came into salvation effortlessly (not of works) through heart belief and it is through heart belief that we effortlessly walk it out. “… as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him…”(Col. 2:6).
- Much effort is often put into attempting to conform our behavior to the truth rather than having the truth transform us.
To rightly understand the purpose for applying the TPM PROCESS we must first learn to re-frame our crisis and the day-to-day troubles we each face. We must come to view them as God-allocated opportunities for mind renewal, as opposed to a drudgery we must endure and get through. The Bible uses the analogy of a refiner’s fire when describing our trials and tribulations. It draws the picture of a refiner purifying precious metal. As he heats up the gold to melting point, the dross comes to the surface so that it can be removed, leaving only the pure gold (1 Pet. 4:12-13, Jam. 1:2). It is the “fire” that exposes the lie-based beliefs we hold that are the reasons we feel whatever we feel.
As we come to genuinely recognize God’s handiwork in the midst of our crises, difficulties, and trials, the “refiner’s fire” ceases to be a threat and takes on a whole different aspect. If we fail to understand God’s process of refinement, we may be caught off guard by the “fire” when it comes and fail to benefit from its purification. Peter the apostle warned us of this when he wrote, “… do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation” (1 Pet. 4:12-13). Herein lies the purpose of why we are doing TPM; the refinement of our faith, the renewing of our minds and the transformation of our lives..
Faith-Refinement, Mind-Renewal, And Effortless Transformation
The Apostle Paul revealed this relationship of mind renewal and transformation when he wrote, “… be transformed by the renewing of your mind …” (Rom. 12:2). Mind renewal goes far beyond the accumulation of Biblical knowledge. Intellectual knowledge has its purpose, but without faith (belief of the heart), it only makes us smarter and may even “puff up” or make us arrogant (1 Cor. 8:1). Mind-renewal is the outcome of a purified faith, resulting in transformation. Transformation brings about the experiential reality of the fruit of the Spirit. We cannot know and experience His fruit without being transformed. Transformation also makes it possible for us to rightly discern and do the will of God. The Apostle Paul made this clear when he wrote, “… be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect” (Rom. 12:2).
Transformation is the outcome of a renewed mind that occurs in the context of the faith refinement that God brings about. Because not everything we believe is truth, we need mind renewal, which can only happen when God has purified our faith (heart belief). We can intellectually acquire knowledge by exercising our mental faculties, as can any person—believer or unbeliever. However, it is God who grants us the faith (belief from the heart) that results in transformation. We need that for which the Apostle Paul prayed. Notice the “so that” in the passage positioned between what God does and what we do. It is only because of what He grants us, that we are able to do what we do.
“…we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, SO THAT you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light.” (Col. 1:9-12)
Read that verse again and notice the seven beneficial outcomes that follow when God fills us with “…the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding.”
Because of what God has brought about, we can:
- Walk in a manner worthy of the Lord.
- Please Him in all respects.
- Bear fruit in every good work.
- Increase in the knowledge of God.
- Are strengthened with all power.
- Attain steadfastness and patience.
- Have joy.
This is not a list of things for us to go out and try to accomplish for God. This is a list of things He wants to produce in us. None of this is attained by effort and willpower. All of this is the outcome of God filling us with “…the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding.” So the questions to ask are, “How do we get to the place where we can receive?” and “Is there anything hindering this from coming about?”
Because We Possess Faith We Can Walk
In the same fashion that God granted us faith to believe resulting in our salvation, He desires to grant us truth in our hearts so we may walk in Him. The Apostle Paul said it this way, “… as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him…” (Col. 2:6). We came into salvation through heart belief and we will walk it out through heart belief. It is through this inner work of transformation that we come to experience the fruit of the Spirit. His fruit flows naturally and effortlessly from the transformation He brings about when He renews our minds. Simply put, apart from genuine transformation, the fruit cannot be experienced.
Because we possess faith (believing the truth with the heart with absolute certainty) we can walk “in a manner worthy of the Lord…” If we lack this faith we can still perform and mimic the life of Christ, but this is not what God desires from us. He desires transformation that flows from a renewed mind (Rom. 12:2). We were destined for good works (Eph. 2:10), but not good performance. Faith produces good works as a natural expression of the fruit of the Spirit. (Read James 2:14-25 from this perspective.)
The Bible says it is “… by grace you have been saved through faith and that not of yourselves, it is a gift of God, not as a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Eph. 2:8-9). Both grace and faith are gifts from God. Faith is something we are given and not something we do. It is because God gave me faith that I believe. I am saved because God gave me grace and faith and not because of any “work” that I might do. Just as my redemption was solely a work of God, so, too, is my sanctification. Faith refinement and mind renewal are both solely a work of God. It is His work and not mine that brings it all about. For “… He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus” (Phil. 1:6). Knowing that, we can declare, “we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all” (Heb. 10:10).
It is transformation that makes it possible to walk in the Spirit and to live out the written Word of God through the power of Christ. This reality was proclaimed by the Apostle Paul when he said, “… it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me” (Gal. 2:20). It seems clear that in this passage, the apostle is describing a position of rest as opposed to one of labor.
Too often we approach the Scriptures as a rule book to follow and then put forth our best effort to perform it. In essence we are attempting to conform our behavior to the truth rather than having the truth transform us. Conformity—our effort in trying to look like Jesus—is not a work of God but is a work of our our effort. We are not called to mimic the life of Christ, but rather to be transformed and conformed into His likeness. For, “those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son”… and it is “…no longer [we] who live [do the work] but Christ lives in [us]” (Rom.8:29, Gal. 2:20).
So does this mean we aren’t supposed to put in any effort in trying to live rightly? The better question to ask is, why am I struggling to live the Christ life, and where is the transformation that only God can bring about? If the fruit of the Spirit is His fruit and the Spirit indwells me, what is keeping me from experiencing it? It all goes back to faith—knowing the truth with absolute certainty in my heart. For the “… life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God” (Gal. 2:20). “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith” (1 Jo. 5:4).
Only God can bring about this manner of faith. We must join in the prayer of the Apostle Paul who prayed, “…may [you] be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, (what only God can do) so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light” (Col. 1:9-12). The “so that” is crucial for us to understand lest we remain on the treadmill of self effort and performance-based spirituality.
Performance-Based Spirituality Vs Transformation
- Transformation is not self-attained or self-sustained, but is only accomplished by God. Likewise, the fruit of the Spirit is God’s fruit and not ours or a “to-do” list to accomplish.
- We are not called to go out and act like Jesus; we are called to be transformed into His likeness (Rom. 8:29).
- Much of what has been thought to be spirituality and transformation in the Christian life is nothing more than any lost person could do if he set his mind to it.
- The problem with trying to conform our behavior to the truth as opposed to our being transformed by it is, we will eventually fail. Self-effort has never accomplished transformation and it never will. Genuine God produced transformation is effortless and made evident by our bearing His fruit.
- It requires intentional discipline on our part to choose to cooperate with what God is doing by submitting to His “handiwork” (Eph. 2:10). However, it is not our discipline that brings about the transformation. Cooperating with God requires we choose (to discipline ourselves) to stop running from our emotional pain, and choose to submit to “His mighty hand”(1 Pet. 5:6) during His refining fire.
Too often the one who performs the best (or sins the least) is considered to be the most spiritual in the camp. Transformation has nothing to do with what we can accomplish in our own strength. Transformation is a genuine and lasting change that God brings about through the refinement of our faith and the renewing of our mind. It is a sad reality, but nonetheless true, that much of what has been called spirituality and transformation in the Christian life is nothing more than any lost person could do if he set his mind to it. The problem with trying to conform our behavior to the truth as opposed to our being transformed by it is, we will eventually fail. Self-effort has never accomplished transformation and it never will. Genuine God produced transformation is effortless and made evident by our bearing His fruit.
The fruit of the Spirit is God’s fruit and not ours. We are called to “bear fruit” as an outcome of God’s work in us and not to do the fruit (Col. 1:10). Bearing the fruit and doing the fruit are not the same. The listing of the fruit in Galatians chapter five is not a “to-do” list for us to try to fulfill, but it is an expected outcome of genuine transformation. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control are not attributes we strive to attain, but are an outflow of transformation. We are not called to go out and act like Jesus; we are called to be transformed into His likeness (Rom. 8:29). This raises other questions, such as, “Why are the fruits not always present in our life?” and “What is hindering us from experiencing them?” There are answers, but “trying harder” is not one of them.
The TPM Process—An Effective “Tool”
We must find a way to participate in what God is doing in refining our faith. However, our participation does not include our effort or performance to be transformed or to “do the fruit.” We are called to “bear the fruit” and it is God’s job to make that happen (Col. 1:9-10). God is the one doing the work and desires that we submit to His handiwork. Submission is our role, and deliberately choosing to expose the impurities we have harbored is the task at hand. The TPM Process (the protocol for what happens in a ministry session) is a tool by which we may participate with God in His refining process in order that He may effectively bring about genuine and lasting transformation. When this transformation occurs, the fruit of the Spirit is experienced naturally and spontaneously as the outcome of a purified faith.
In other articles, we will look at how to apply this tool to our daily lives as a life skill and spiritual discipline. The word discipline here may appear to be a direct contradiction to what was previously stated, but it is not. It does require much discipline on our part to choose to cooperate with what God is doing by submitting to His “handiwork” (Eph. 2:10). However, it is not our job to bring about the transformation. The genuine transformation of our belief and life is solely His work. The work that we do is “drawing near to God” (Jam. 4:8) and positioning ourselves so we can receive. Again, we do not need to discipline ourselves to be transformed into God’s likeness, as He accomplishes this Himself. In the context of suffering, Peter the apostle stated, “… After you have suffered for a little while (the refiner’s fire), the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you” (1 Pet. 5:10).
Choosing to position ourselves where God can better accomplish this work does require discipline, as we tend to resist His work and distract ourselves from what His fire exposes in us. Our propensity is to run from our pain through self-medicating and blaming others, life, or God for what we feel rather than taking the responsibility. Cooperating with God requires we choose (to discipline ourselves) to stop running and submit to “His mighty hand” (1 Pet. 5:6) during His refining fire. When we choose to do this, we can reap the benefit as He grants us a pure faith and an effortless transformation.