Who doesn’t feel bad at times – sometimes for extended periods.
Good news then: the purveyors of Transformational Prayer Ministry (TPM) say they’ve got the solution. The introduction to TPM on the website says that TPM is for people who feel bad and want those feelings to go away:
No wonder then that the TPM organisation has such lofty ambitions for TPM.
But not everything that is available, or even popular, is right for you. So, let’s examine TPM, using Scripture as our standard.
To be fair to TPM, we should look at it in the way that the authors suggest: purpose and principles before process. And use their material, The Essentials of TPM.
Let’s start with its purpose.
The purpose of TPM is to provide a frame of reference that views life’s difficulties from a heavenly perspective, so we might intentionally and purposefully cooperate with what God is doing as He refines our faith, renews our minds and transforms our lives [page 172].
How do we access this ‘divine vantage point’? By being ‘positioned’ through the TPM process:
The only way that we can have God’s truth and perspective is by having God persuade us of it. The good news is; this is exactly what He wants to do! However, we need to be in the proper position to receive it. What we will learn in TPM will help us move to the place where God can shine His light of truth into our hearts [page 19].
This process achieves ‘the ultimate goal of TPM’:
The ultimate goal of TPM is that the person might know the truth within his or her heart, resulting in the effortless and maintenance-free expression of the fruit of the Holy Spirit in their daily lives [page 18].
This is not via additional knowledge but by ‘transformation’:
Transformation is accomplished through an inner work that is brought about by God. The Scriptures point out,
“We all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit” (2 Cor. 3:18).
We are being transformed by God, not by our own efforts. This transformation is the purpose and goal of TPM. Transformation is the outcome of the work that God is doing within every believer [pages 20-21].
The purpose of TPM is therefore to provide ‘both a frame of reference and a process by which we can co-operate with God in this refining [transforming] process’ [page 22].
The result of this co-operation with God is that it ‘expedites what He is trying to accomplish’ [page 37].
Having seen the purpose of TPM, let’s now turn to Scripture.
TPM was a recent invention of man. How did Christians survive before it was invented?
Feeling bad? Scripture says that we should be controlled by the Holy Spirit (e.g., Ephesians 5:15-18; 1 Peter 5:6-11), not by our emotions. Speak to God, cry out even. See the Psalms. Talk to other believers (e.g., Galatians 6:1-10). (Yes, from these things you may end up with a specialist helper, but even there Scripture can be the guide.)
To build up my insulation from feeling bad, I would continue with the renewing of my mind (Romans 12:1-2): increase my knowledge of God by reading and studying His Word, pray, and spend time with other Christians who also want to ‘grow in the Lord’ (2 Peter 3:18).
And Scripture’s answer to accelerating this transformation (Hebrews 10:14), TPM’s ‘expediting’? Do more of the above.
Let’s get…Back to The Gospel
- TPM is for Christians: ↑
- ‘The early training that he developed (which he then called “Theophostic Prayer Ministry”) focused primarily upon training ministers, counselors, and lay people in how to help those viewed as the emotionally wounded. Unfortunately, because of this early perspective, TPM came to be viewed by many as a “recovery” ministry for those who could not manage their emotional pain in healthy ways. Because of this limited view, much of the Body of Christ did not consider TPM for themselves since they did not put themselves in the “emotionally wounded” category. It would be over a decade before Ed Smith would come to realize that TPM was not about pain management or “healing the past” (or healing anything for that matter), but rather about faith refinement, mind renewal, and genuine transformation available for all’ [The Essentials, 8]. ↑
- The ‘Three P’s of TPM’ [The Essentials…page 7] ↑
- Ed Smith & Joshua Smith, Second Edition, New Creation Publishing, Simpsonville, 2019, downloaded from Welcome to TPM – Transformation Prayer Ministry, 4.12.2020. ↑
- If you are already convinced that TPM is something that you should use, please still read on: the authors say that if you don’t understand the purpose of TPM, you ‘will not likely see any need for more once [your] pain reaches a tolerable level’ [page 10]. And that, they say, would mean that you would miss out on the benefits of making it part of your lifestyle [page 11]. ↑
- ‘The Purpose answers the question, “Why should we learn and apply TPM?” It provides a frame of reference or, more accurately, a divine vantage point from which to view life’s difficulties. When we are able to understand our difficulties from God’s perspective, we can then more intentionally participate in His purpose, which is to refine our faith, renew our minds, and transform our beliefs and, subsequently, our behavior’ [The Essentials…, 168-169]. ↑
- ‘The TPM Process (what happens in a ministry session) has a specific purpose and intent: to connect with negative emotion, identify lie-based thinking, and receive the Lord’s perspective that results in transformation’ [The Essentials…, page 56]. ↑