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What is Freedom Prayer?

Freedom Prayer is the title given to a particular type of prayer ministry (sometimes termed “inner healing” prayer ministry) that helps participants to find freedom from barriers and hindrances caused by wounding and sin, restoring individuals to a more fruitful and fulfilling walk with God.

Freedom Prayer ministry largely exists in the framework of the local church or cooperative para-church ministry. Freedom Prayer is different from other church based prayer meetings, in that the group gathering for a ministry session is small (typically three or four) and all are active participants in seeking the Lord for the purpose of an individual’s freedom and restoration.

Less formally but perhaps most importantly, Freedom Prayer can also become a sort of lifestyle – a way of being great friends, of communication in marriage, of raising children, and “normal” church life. For those who practice it, it becomes a way of honest talking and freedom walking; of together taking questions, concerns and thanksgiving to God Himself. Thus its highest and best use may be informally throughout daily life.

Where did Freedom Prayer originate?

Prayer and deliverance ministry have been around since Jesus demonstrated His power on earth as He healed and freed those who came to Him.  He also beautifully revealed the prayer model of “listening to the Father,” that of only speaking and doing what the Father is speaking and doing (see for example Jn 5:19 or Jn 5:30).

This particular format for ministry has evolved (and continues to evolve) from the experience of hundreds of churches, individuals and ministries. We are grateful for the wisdom that we have gleaned from many along the way, including: Neil T. Anderson, Randy Clark, Dawna DeSilva, Ed Smith, David Kyle Foster, Chester and Betsy Kylstra, John and Paula Sandford, Jim Wilder, Dan Allender, Henry Cloud, and many others with hearts for bringing the finished work of Jesus Christ to the unfinished work of transformation within each of us.

Like many things in God, Freedom Prayer ministry is sort of like a giant puzzle where God seems to have given pieces to different ones. When we push our pieces to the middle of the table and remove our grip, then they are free to be used by many and to find their place in all God is revealing. He began a good work and we trust Him to lead it. We are stewards of what we have.

We have worked for many years to tune Freedom Prayer to be effective and easy to apply in a Holy Spirit led and natural approach. Based on biblical foundations that keep it accountable and within safe boundaries, Freedom Prayer easily transfers across geographies and cultures. It is focused on being comfortable for both traditional and more charismatic churches. Counselors and pastors alike are generally pleased with its strong “first responder” biblical feel.

It is clear that there is infinite complexity in both human and spiritual issues, sins, dysfunctions, and conditions. While human issues can be very complex we find that God’s solutions tend to be simple, clear, direct and powerful. This is the approach of Freedom Prayer. Most Freedom Prayer teams also have partnership with those with special training or specific callings to the complex issues as well as with mental health and medical professionals. The simple approach of Freedom Prayer makes it comfortable and inviting for many types of churches and a multitude of people.

Freedom Prayer is not static but it is changing and growing as we all learn and share experiences and tools with each other. Freedom Prayer aspires to take the best of what has come before and incorporate it in a spirit-led and biblically sound way as we evolve to meet the ever-increasing needs of people that come into our midst.

The world may grow darker but the church gets brighter!

What is the biblical basis for Freedom Prayer?

As a global ministry organization representing the Lord Jesus Christ, it is seen as critical by the Board of Directors for Freedom Prayer, its oversight partners, and team members that Freedom Prayer be based solidly on a strong biblical foundation and framework while retaining a clear spirit-led flow.

Even though the terms “Freedom Prayer” or “inner healing” are not specifically found in scripture, the concepts these terms represent, like pieces of a puzzle, are seen everywhere in the Bible. The promises and principles of God are the very foundation for what we do.

We are instructed throughout scripture to be able to shepherd sheep effectively and to be able to help our friends and loved ones. For example, here are a few key descriptions of what this ministry does:

Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ. (Gal 6:1-2).

Confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. (Jas 5:16).

Though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. (2 Cor10:3-5)

We are commanded and invited to confess to each other, to repent of our sin, to restore each other, to bear each other’s burdens and to help each other be free. These verses speak of spiritual warfare as occurring within strongholds in the mind. We are told we can do so because we are “spiritual” – that is: able to minister in partnership with the Spirit of God, and in a spirit of gentleness and humility. We know we each must rely on others to help us get untangled. All have sinned, been wounded and have become entangled.

There are many other references to the various aspects of this ministry. For example:

  • healing the brokenhearted, releasing captives and setting free prisoners (Lk 4:18)
  • speaking spirit-inspired encouragement  (1 Th 5:20)
  • putting to death the deeds of the flesh by the Spirit (Rom 8:13)
  • forgiving  (Eph 4:32)
  • being led by the Spirit  (Rom 8:14)
  • snatching from destruction (Jude 1:23)
  • reproving and correcting (2 Tim 4:2)
  • speaking truth to someone in love to grow them up  (Eph 4:15)
  • comforting the afflicted with what God has shown us  (2 Cor 1:4)
  • confessing sins to another and prayer for them  (Jam 5:16)
  • setting up godly defenses  (Eph 6:10)
  • renouncing past sinful practices  (2 Cor 4:2)
  • wanting freedom  (Gal 5:1)
  • taking authority over the demonic (Mk 16:17)
  • being transformed by the renewing of our minds (Rom 12:1,2)
  • waiting on the Lord (Ps 37:7)
  • praying together (Mat 18:19-21)
  • asking for greater strength and knowledge of God (Jer 29:11-14, Eph 3:16-19)
  • releasing unforgiveness (Lk 6:37-38)
  • asking God to show us strongholds so we can walk in the light (1 John 1:7-8)
  • better understanding our access to God (Gal 4:4-7)
  • being led by the Holy Spirit in the area of becoming free from sin (Rom 8:14)

We believe we are competent to “speak the truth in love, and to advise” (Eph 4:15, Rom 15:14) each other and in so doing to partner with God in helping the individual to imitate Jesus and live a life that is whole, healed and fruitful. This ultimately produces a close abiding relationship with the Lord.

What does a Freedom Prayer appointment look like?

Within a more formal setting Freedom Prayer appointments typically involve 2-3 Freedom Prayer team members and the participant who is seeking prayer. The appointments or sessions usually last 1-3 hours depending on the issues that the individual wants to address. While it is called Freedom Prayer, much of our time is spent talking together, listening, and walking through forgiving, confessing, etc. Sessions are gentle, confidential, friendly, relaxed and informal.

A session may begin as simply as, “Why are you here today?” or “Let’s ask the Lord what He wants to address and wait on Him to lead us.”

The role of the individual is simple – he or she is just the reporter of what they are feeling, seeing, hearing or sensing. We rely on God to lead each session and often stop and ask Him what He thinks. It is low pressure because our goal is simple – to do only what God wants done in any session – not to have to hit a homerun and cover what we think needs to happen.

One prayer team member will act as the lead in the appointment, generally giving a road map as the team hears the Lord and helping the individual to find words and clarify thoughts and responses to what the Lord is doing. Another prayer team member will act as the 2nd, listening to the Lord for greater insight and tag teaming the direction of the time. Another prayer team member will act as the intercessor, listening and writing quietly on behalf of all in the room. Often there is focused intercession prior to the appointment by the team in seeking the Lord on the individual’s behalf. Applicable areas are covered such as forgiveness, repentance, identifying and removing lies, confession of sin, dealing with ungodly beliefs, seeking God’s truth and presence, and blessing and greater deposits of His Holy Spirit. Everyone, including the individual, is an active participant.

Scripture is clear that the enemy takes advantage of our wounds and sin to hold us in bondage, to create a “stronghold” which is an area within us and our lives where God’s peaceful kingdom is not supreme. He is able to gain access at specific points in time through opportunities – we sometimes call them “open doors.” When we find those doors and close them, we remove any right of access. Most often significant and immediate measures of freedom and liberty are experienced in the prayer appointment, with an increase of freedom continuing long after the initial prayer time. Almost unanimously most participants cite the abundance of love, grace and care they felt from their team and wish to continue to seek the Lord in the same manner again if applicable.

What is the relationship between Freedom Prayer and counseling?

Prayer ministry approaches derive from scriptural principles and pastoral experience while professional counseling is grounded in deductions from the behavioral sciences. Nonetheless, there seems to be a growing recognition of the importance to explicitly include a client’s spiritual religious beliefs and practices (SRBP) within the therapeutic structure.

Just as counselors may refer clients to a medical doctor for treatment or to gain an understanding of physical problems that may inform mental/emotional issues, they may also refer to pastoral counselors or prayer ministers to treat or to understand the place of issues lodging within the human soul and spirit. In Freedom Prayer, prayer-filled encounters with Christ are the change mechanism instead of therapist-mediated or psychological theory-derived activities leading to psychodynamic or experiential psychotherapies.

Freedom Prayer team members are often lay people in the church or Christian community, although many teams are blessed to include team members who are counselors, medical doctors, psychiatrists and psychologists. It is recommended that if an individual is seeking Freedom Prayer and in the care of a mental health practitioner, that the individual obtain permission from his or her medical/counseling team and that all decisions regarding continuing therapy or medication be discussed with the appropriate practitioners, as most Freedom Prayer team members are not trained or licensed in counseling or medicine. Many Freedom Prayer teams have partnering relationships with the mental health and medical community and work together to enhance the process of healing and wellness.

Here is a quote that describes the relationship: “After forty years in medicine and fifteen years doing inner healing prayer ministry I can recommend any combination of prayer ministry, professional counseling or psychiatric care when needed. But for many people a ministry like a Freedom Prayer is the best place to start.  I have seen dozens of folks completely healed in these types of ministries, and I am most impressed with Andy Reese and his team at a Freedom Prayer.”   Stephen Mory, MD, Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Vanderbilt, Psychiatrist for the Mental Health Cooperative and Davidson County Jails

Who is responsible for the oversight of Freedom Prayer as a ministry and organization; and what guidance is normally given?

Freedom Prayer is the name given to a particular type of prayer ministry or inner healing approach. It is, on purpose, not a ministry in the conventional hierarchical sense. There is no membership and there are no dues. Freedom Prayer, as a global non-profit ministry, has accountability and oversight from a Board of Directors who bring experience and skill from a variety of church backgrounds and relationships, across several states. Freedom Prayer is supported and resourced by an official 501(C)(3) non-profit organization called The Freedom Resource. This website houses and is administered by both The Freedom Resource and Freedom Prayer. Please contact us for questions about both the Freedom Prayer ministry and the Freedom Resource oversight.

We are a group of individuals who voluntarily coordinate and cooperate with each other to spread information about what we have found to be an effective and biblical approach. The purpose is to appropriate the finished work of Jesus Christ to the unfinished work of transformation in members of the body of Christ. Think of it more like Alcoholics Anonymous and less like Freedom Prayer, Inc. It is more of a movement of people, who love to participate in inner healing and deliverance, and who share the same callings and motivations. Our heart is to communicate what we are learning in partnership and to pass it on in a pure and clear fashion.

We as Freedom Prayer leaders are each in relationship with pastoral leaders who speak freely into both our lives and our ministry. We encourage all Freedom Prayer ministers to be strongly related to pastoral leadership who can both encourage and correct us. We need others in our lives and we need to be submitted, mutually to each other, and to church leadership.