New Life of Beauty and Grace
For by grace you have
been saved through faith,
and that not of yourselves;
it is the gift of God.
Ephesians 2:8 WEB


Leading Prayer Ministry 

A New Life of Spirit Led Ministry to Others

This is only one of many ways of doing prayer ministry, but it has been highly effective. The great thing in The Care of Souls, as in medical practice, is to make sure you do more good than harm. This method—the ministry of The Keys—has led to many happy outcomes and it is frequently needed, for it deals with the common colds of the spiritual life. It has its limits, but it is a great, safe way of getting started.

“I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."  Matthew 16:19 ESV

The Keys to Freedom

This is a ministry of the keys to freedom. It is primarily about helping people to get emotional and spiritual release and freedom from issues that they are already aware of struggling with. This is Prayer Ministry: The Ministry of the Keys to Freedomnot about doing deliverance or going deeply into a person’s inner depths. You can do a lot of damage that way. Stick to the three keys, especially in the beginning. They will bring a great deal of immediate relief and launch them into a healing journey that they will be able to maintain themselves.

Know your limits: There are always some people you simply aren’t equipped enough to minister to (yet). If you are serious about pursing this, it would be a good idea to take our free online eCourse for Healing just to make sure that you understand the ways the Lord heals us emotionally, and can recognize emotional strongholds and help people overcome them.

CAUTION: If your church already has ministry teams, join them. These lessons may complement, confirm or enhance what you will be learning from them. The best way to learn ministry is always from people who are already doing it successfully. Do not, therefore, go off on your own, if the Lord has already set before you leaders who can teach you.[1] These online articles are solely for the purpose of giving elementary instruction to those of you who have no one reasonably nearby to learn from—and you honestly believe the Lord is calling you to get involved. In that case the best you can do is learn what you can by written word, pray and proceed with caution, walking humbly with your God.

The keys to freedom include but are not limited to these three: receiving forgiveness, releasing forgiveness, believing truth (the restoration promises of God).

1) Receiving Forgiveness

Just because a person has received faith in Jesus and has prayed for their sins to be forgiven, doesn’t mean that they have fully benefited from the gift that they have received. Wherever there is guilt or shame, regret or self-blame, a fear of God’s displeasure, or anxieties about their salvation, there is an obvious need for this key. It may have to be combined with the other keys, since any unforgiveness can easily block the grace needed to fully receive God’s mercy.[2] Likewise, any unbelief regarding the promises of God concerning His loving, gracious nature and His willingness and ability to bring restoration, also can block the effective use of this key.[3]

2) Releasing Forgiveness

This key is vital to our growth in the spiritual life. There can be no freedom or healing if a person holds on to bitter judgments against God, self or others. People often need a lot of coaching and some word for word leading to cross this hurdle once they have become ready. That we have to “fully forgive” everyone for anything is clearly stated in scripture and well-known, if too-seldom obeyed.[4] But we also must forgive ourselves just as fully and freely as God does.[5] Ironically, once a person truly forgives and accepts themselves at a depth level (for the sinner that they are apart from Christ), then it becomes much easier for them to give the same mercy to others. Often missed is how we need to “forgive” God. The Lord never sins or makes a mistake, but in our heart of hearts we often blame Him for what He allows. This is technically, not forgiving God (He is innocent), but releasing Him from our own bitter judgments.

3) Believing Truth

All Christians are believers, but that doesn’t mean that any of us are automatically and forever free of unbelief. Unbelief is a central component of discouragement, despair and depression. It inflames every fear and anxiety. It gives rise to every sinful attitude. If we believed the truths of God will a full heart of faith we would all be singing with the angels, no matter what has happened to us or to our loved ones. It only takes a little unbelief to block a whole lot of faith. The primary truth we encourage everyone needing emotional healing to fully and absolutely believe is Romans 8:28: “We know all things work together for good for those who love God.”

A Model Session

This model assumes that a good deal of instruction in basic issues of inner healing has come first, including the three keys. Without generous preparation much teaching will have to happen during the session. With sufficient prior teaching, the individual will come in far more willing and able to cooperate. Our model in the past provided up to 40 hours of group teaching sessions, many of which included group ministry sessions. A lot of healing and deliverance happened both during the lessons (as the lights went on) and during the group ministry times (as the issues were dealt with en mass). At the end of it all would come the individual ministry times, usually of only ½ to one hour in duration. It is easy to pull weeds (issues) after so much good rain!

Since the heart remains broken wherever hurt or loss is still felt in the memory, the person’s sense of pain can be a reliable guide to where the break occurred. Only Jesus can heal the broken heart, but prayers of repentance and reconciliation are necessary for Him to be able to do His work. So, cast your cares on Him and get your heart ready, because the session is about to start.

  • Introduce yourself and your prayer partner(s)
  • Pray to open the session.
  • There are two questions to ask which will help them get focused. It is OK to start with where they are at present (the bad fruit they are dealing with), but always be looking for the roots (the issues that are lodged further back in the past). Part of the problem people have in getting free is too much focus on present problems and too little willingness to pull up and look at the painful issues that they have buried. We want to help them resolve some of those buried issues with the help of the three keys.

1) Where are you stuck? What key issue(s) are you still struggling with?
2) Where does it still hurt?

  • If they are not sure, begin with their earliest relationships and earliest memories. Go over their relationship with father and mother, then other close family members as they were growing up. It saves time if you have had them fill out a brief confidential ministry form which you can review before the session.
  • Do not allow rambling on. Sometimes people start talking about a loved one’s problems, or their own self-pity may divert and derail the real issues. Remind them, that this time is for them and their issues. You are not looking for everything, but for one or two crucial areas where their heart was broken. Once you have a sense of the source of their pain you are ready to begin prayers. You can’t get to it all, nor do you need to. Stay focused.
  • Take the pain and apply the keys of the kingdom once you ask them, “Are you willing to pray/forgive/confess/believe?” (whichever is needed).

1. Repent (of any sins, ie. agreements with the enemy) and receive forgiveness.

2. Repent (of the sin of un-forgiveness towards God, self or others) and release forgiveness.

3. Repent (of any unbelief, especially in the promises of restoration) and choose to believe God’s truth as it applies.

  • Most people will need you to lead them out loud and word for word in how to pray. See How to Forgive for 10 steps to lead people through in releasing forgiveness. When the prayers are completed, rebuke any spirits you discern, and then pray for God to heal the broken heart. Ask Jesus to speak to them His words of comfort and guidance now and in the days ahead.
  • Allow time for the Lord to speak. Ask what they have heard (if anything). It is not necessary that they hear a word from the Lord, but it is something to celebrate with them if they do. Many people are so wounded or poorly equipped that they don’t know how to recognize the way the Lord speaks, so don’t dwell on this if they can’t.
  • Remind them to “walk it out.” The enemy is certain to come around tempting them to fall back into their former heart attitudes. They need to be on guard against this, resist him when it happens, and trust that the Lord will ultimately use such attacks to deepen their freedom.
  • Close with prayers of thanksgiving and infilling. Make sure they have come to at least a measure of peace and release before closing. Sometimes you cannot get a point of pain healed, but you can always pray for the Lord to close the wound and heal it in the future.

Tread Lightly!

What if the person refuses to repent? Here is a suggestion. Ask them: In your ignorance, you sinned. In their ignorance, they sinned against you. Are you willing to forgive? If not, are you willing to confess that as sin?

Let the Holy Spirit convict—do not force recognition of a sin upon them. If they will not take steps to forgive, gently speak to them about the necessity of forgiveness and let them know that you cannot effectively minister beyond that point. Ask if they will at least pray “Lord, help me want to want to forgive them” as an invitation to God to begin working with their hearts.

As you can see the ministry of inner healing is primarily a ministry of helping people discover where they need to repent and then helping them do it by the use of the three keys. What did we expect? Sin is unhealthy! It locks us out of the very place of freedom from pain and freedom for joy that we want to get into. That's why these kingdom keys are so effective: They enable us to "repent for the kingdom of God is at hand." Jesus knew we would need them.

More to Explore

Values and Guidelines  Thanks to the ministry of inner healing and deliverance, there are countless thousands, perhaps millions, of Christians who have been marvelously healed and set free. Sadly, there are also others who have been thrown deeper into bondage and pain, because the enemy was able to use over-zealous and under-trained ministers to cause damage. When the footing is potentially treacherous—and you know it—it is always best to slow down, walk carefully and pray a lot! Let these values and guidelines give you balance and show the way.

Free Downloads

pdf Doing Ministry (41-page eBook) (928 KB)

pdf Prayer Ministry (this article) (423 KB)

Scriptures on Ministry

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 ESV

Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Galatians 6:1 ESV

Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. James 5:16 ESV

Scriptures and Foot Notes

[1]  That could be rebellion and pride. Let others disciple you and the Lord won’t have to discipline you.
[2]  “And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses." Mark 11:25 ESV
[3]  This promise could easily have us all shouting for jay in any situation—if we fully believed it with the faith we have already been given: And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28 ESV
[4]  “Then his master summoned him and said to him, 'You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me.  And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?'  And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt.  So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart." Matthew 18:32-35 ESV
[5]  Certainly, this loving of self the right way is included in the second of the two great commandments: “And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets." Matthew 22:39-40 ESV

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Rescued from Hell

I'm Steve, a former hippie and carpenter, now a passionate follower of Jesus.

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