This session considers how we attain the virtue of self-acceptance on the basis of Christ’s righteousness. These notes outline the basic flow of the teaching and contain the full text and reference for scriptures and quotations. At the bottom of the notes are resources for further exploration of this topic.
“Jesus then said to His disciples, ‘If anyone wishes to be a follower of mine, he must leave self behind. He must take up his cross and come with me. Whoever cares for his own safety is lost, but if a man will let himself be lost for my sake, he will find his true self. What will a man gain by winning the whole world at the cost of his true self? Or what can he give that will buy that self back?’” Matthew 16:24-26 (NEB)
“There is a line over which many of us never step. That is the line between
Immaturity / Maturity
Being under the Law, a law, or many laws / The walk in the Spirit
Listening to many voices:
those within our unhealed hearts, and of the world, the flesh, the devil / Listening to God”
Five qualities observed in people who lack self-acceptance:
1. a judgmental spirit that is harsh and demanding on self and others
2. a strong, perfectionistic attitude demanding the impossible from self and others
3. a strong pattern of fearing future events;
4. a sense of aloneness and abandonment whenever there are times of decision;
5. a preoccupation with one’s own guilt and a compulsive reaction to compete for position and success.
(from Inner Healing by Michael Scanlan)
What self-acceptance is
“The act of self-acceptance is the root of all things. I must agree to be the person who I am.
I must agree to have the qualifications which I have, agree to live within the limitations set for me. The clarity and courageousness of this acceptance is the foundation of all existence” (Romano Guardini).
What it’s based on
“The humble acceptance of myself as fallen but now justified by Another who is my righteousness is the basis on which I can accept myself, learn to laugh at myself, be patient with myself” (Payne, Restoring the Christian Soul, 51).
“Only because we are addressed by God can each of us really say ‘I’, for the whole existence of each of us is nothing other than our answer to God’s creative call, ‘You, exist!’” (Guardini, Spiritual Writings, 62).
What opposes it
Christ calls us out of self-hatred and self-deprecation that causes us to reject ourselves.
It’s only after we’ve accepted ourselves that we’re free to love others.
How we acquire it
Natural building blocks: Parental affirmation and the role of the father
Virtue: structures of character that guide our emotions, motivations, interpretations, and choices, enabling us to be and do excellently, consistently, with ease.
Dialog: a listening prayer journal is helpful in replacing the diseased inner narrative
with God’s healing word
Supernaturally Received: “We all must eventually turn to the Master Affirmer,
God the Father, for our true identity, our real, authentic selves” (Payne, Restoring the Christian Soul, 45).
What a self-accepting person looks like
Freedom: “I have permission to be, to move, to walk with God” (Payne, RCS, 49).
Divine Objectivity: We can relate with love and respect, speaking truth and naming problems appropriately, and seeing and affirming the good.
Unselfconsciousness: “And then, wonder of wonders, we are enabled for at least
part of the time, to forget ourselves” (Payne, Restoring the Christian Soul, 51).
Resources on this topic:
Part I of Leanne Payne’s Restoring the Christian Soul through Healing Prayer, “The Virtue of Self-Acceptance”
See below for full text of guided prayer of repentance from self-hatred and dedication to self-acceptance
PRAYER OF RENUNCIATION OP SELF-HATRED
For God caused Christ, who himself knew nothing of sin, to be sin for our sakes, so that in Christ we might be made good with the goodness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:21, J. B. Philips, emphasis in Philip’s text).
Prayer of Thanksgiving
Holy Father, I thank You that I am reconciled to You through the death of Your Son,
and that through faith in Him as my Savior from sin,
my heart is not only washed clean from my own sin,
but it can be delivered from its grievous reactions
to the sins and shortcomings of others around and against it.
Because of Your Son, Father, I can look straight up to You
and dare to let all these feelings surface, and I do so now,
knowing that Christ is ready to take them
and give me in exchange His Life and Your perspective on myself and others.
Accept my thanksgiving, O God our Father.
I thank You for Christ who has redeemed me from sin and death
and who even now is pouring His eternal life into me.
Lord Jesus Christ Son of the Father,
in whom I am to abide, to fully live, move and have my being, (my true and new self),
I direct my thanksgiving to You.
I bow before You as Lord of my life, and I thank You,
Precious Holy One, crucified for me,
that Your blood justifies me, that in oneness with You, Your goodness is mine.
Holy Spirit, who constantly and faithfully mediate to us the love of both Father and Son,
I thank you now for the grace to receive all that is mine as a child of God.
Empower me now as I renounce the sin of self-hatred
and as I move toward the goal of wholly accepting my true identity
as a child of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Pray quietly, giving thanks.
If diseased feelings start to surface, simply allow them to flow,
one at a time up and out of your heart and mind and into the crucified One.
Now see Him dying on the cross to take those things into Himself.
Then see Him risen again, ascending to the Father, there to intercede to the Father for you,
to pour out upon you His Spirit,
to send to you words of life that engender in you new and wholesome feelings and attitudes.
And give thanks.
Prayer of Petition
You may want to lift, simply and clearly, petitions to the Lord at this time. A prayer such as the following might be in order. It will better prepare you to make your renunciation of self-hatred.
Well you know, O Lord, that I have been unable to appropriate Your holiness and righteousness as I wish;
I have been unable to practice Your Presence because my feelings about myself are so diseased.
I have looked to You, just now, as my dying Savior, taking into Yourself my sin and darkness,
my diseased feelings about you, others, myself.
I thank You that You have done this and that in time even my feeling self will reflect this.
Heretofore, Lord, I have taken my eyes from You and from objective truth
and have descended into and lived out of my unhealed feeling self.
This, with Your help, Lord, I will stop doing,
and I will note the very moment I am “living out of” that subjective, hurting place
and will look straight up to You for the healing word You are always sending.
I confess to You the sin of pride that is bound up in my self hatred.
I thank You for Your forgiveness and for full release from it.
Prayer of Renunciation
Now, Lord, in Your Name and with the grace You shower upon me,
I renounce the sin of self-hatred.
Quietly give thanks for God’s forgiveness.
With this renunciation, a multitude of accusing thoughts or maybe even root causes behind the self-hatred may begin to surface. Simply write them down in your prayer journal, acknowledging them, and then listen for the thought or the illumination God is sending you, for this will be the word from Him that not only replaces the diseased thought pattern but will flood you with understanding.
This session addresses the barrier to our wholeness in Christ that is created by unforgiveness. These notes outline the basic flow of the teaching and contain the full text and reference for scriptures and quotations. At the bottom of the notes are resources for further exploration of this topic.
Forgiving others for petty offenses
“It’s the everydayness of such irritations and transgressions that get to us, and we can easily come to despise those who offend us in these ways” (Payne, Restoring the Christian Soul Through Healing Prayer, 81).
“We find we must enroll in a primary level of the Holy Spirit’s school of prayer. ‘Father, I am nothing apart from you. Have mercy on me. I have been seeing apart from You. If you leave me for an instant, I shall be even more prideful, more self-serving.’ When we learn to pray this prayer, without the least taint of the wrong kind of self-hatred on the one hand, or a feeling of superiority on the other, we will be well on our way to maturity in Christ” (Payne, 83).
Forgiving others when the offense is so great
Some sins are so grievous that, from our human vantage point, they seem unforgivable.
We find the supernatural grace to forgive by pressing into Christ and taking our place in Him.
Resources on this topic:
Chapter seven of Leanne Payne’s Restoring the Christian Soul through Healing Prayer, “Second Great Barrier to Wholeness in Christ: Failure to Forgive Others”
This session considers Christian forgiveness and how we participate in it by faith. These notes outline the basic flow of the teaching and contain the full text and reference for scriptures and quotations. At the bottom of the notes are resources for further exploration of this topic.
The necessity of forgiving
“Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” Mark 11:24, 25.
“Forgive us our sins, as we also forgive everyone who sins against us.” (Luke 11:3)
“The way to one’s neighbor leads only through Christ” (Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship, 93).
What is forgiveness?
“The exclusive prerogative of Christianity, not natural to the human heart, but rather an exotic, which Christ brought with Him from Heaven” (Meyer, Our Daily Bread, May 7).
“A miracle of God that is to be participated in by faith” (Coutts, A Shared Mercy, 118).
Forgiveness is one aspect of biblical reconciliation
This is an ongoing, non-linear ministry of the Body of Christ;
Forgiveness is not:
“Because of Jesus’ cross and emptied tomb, and because of His ascension and sending of the Spirit,there is a fellowship made on earth wherein we people look to ‘continually receive afresh’ our freedom from sin and allow ourselves ‘to be set forward on the road ahead” (Coutts, 172-173).
Resources on this topic:
John Coutts’ A Shared Mercy
Part II of Leanne Payne’s Restoring the Christian Soul through Healing Prayer, “The Forgiveness of Sin”
Leslie Vernick’s How to Act Right When Your Spouse Acts Wrong
This session addresses the failure to receive God’s forgiveness by considering those who do not recognize their need to be forgiven. These notes outline the basic flow of the teaching and contain the full text and reference for scriptures and quotations. At the bottom of the notes are resources for further exploration of this topic.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. I John 1:9
We need to know we’re sinners
Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.
I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance. Luke 5:31-32
Cultural influence, bad theology, or inner denial and pride may block our awareness of the “bad guy” within, and this blindness can be worsened by a super-religious attitude.
“If the Divine call does not make us better, it will make us very much worse” (Lewis, Reflections on the Psalms, 31).
“We must know and acknowledge our two identities — that of sinner and saint. Our prime identity, of course, is that of saint… But the rhythm of repentance and reception of forgiveness must be woven into every life. We are always to rise up from confession in our prime identity, having received forgiveness” (Payne, Restoring the Christian Soul, 145).
Search me, O God, and know my heart, Test me and know my anxious thoughts; See if there be any offensive way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting. Ps 139:23,24
We need to be in touch with our hearts
Self-analysis or an activistic state can thwart authentic prayer and block us from receiving the forgiveness God is offering.
Our hearts must be open
Like the dwarfs in The Last Battle, our hearts may be closed off through cynical self-protection: “The dwarfs are for the dwarfs. We won’t be taken in… You wanted to make use of us. That’s why you rescued us” (Lewis, 73).
As Aslan explained to Lucy, a closed heart can refuse to receive God’s grace: “You see, they will not let us help them. They have chosen cunning instead of belief. Their prison is only in their own minds, yet they are in that prison; and so afraid of being taken in that they can not be taken out” (ibid, 148).
We must agree with God about sin
In order to receive God’s forgiveness, we must will to turn from our sin. The Spirit can revive a seared conscience, restoring our ability to feel compunction and choose repentance.
Resources on this topic:
Chapter nine of Leanne Payne’s Restoring the Christian Soul through Healing Prayer, “Third Great Barrier to Wholeness in Christ: Failure to Receive Forgiveness”
This session addresses the failure to receive God’s forgiveness by considering those who remain “under the law.” These notes outline the basic flow of the teaching and contain the full text and reference for scriptures and quotations. At the bottom of the notes are resources for further exploration of this topic.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9
“It is often harder for us to receive forgiveness from God than to forgive even our worst enemies” (Leanne Payne, Restoring the Christian Soul through Healing Prayer, 141).
Remaining Under the Law
Leanne Payne identifies several potential root causes that may prevent a Christian from receiving God’s forgiveness. Remaining under the law is the first issue she addresses, and the one we will focus on here. As she states: “The man ‘under the law’ will always feel guilty. He does not receive forgiveness because he is still trying to be ‘good enough’ on his own merit; he strives to be perfect on his own” (141).
How and why does the Christian, who has been set free in Christ, end up striving as though still under the law?
Firstly, this is the default stance of all of fallen humanity. It is deeply ingrained in our hearts.
· We have a fundamental drive toward autonomy.
· We are slow to change.
· Many Christians have the impression that we are saved by grace initially, but then must live by our own efforts.
Secondly, many of us discover within us that we have a compulsive drive toward perfectionism.
Thirdly, we need to remember that we have a very real enemy, Satan the accuser.
In sum, the old voices of the world, the flesh, and the devil conspire together to trap us under diseased heart-habits that rob us of the joy of forgiveness.
The good news—as Paul tells us in Romans 10:4—is that “Christ is the end (or fulfillment) of the law, so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.”
· We need to receive this truth with a deliberate act of will
· Discerning and repenting of pride is essential
· Receiving forgiveness requires humility
· Receiving forgiveness leads to freedom, joy, and spiritual renewal
“The law, as someone has said, is a fence to make us be good. In Christ, the fence has been removed. The walk in the Spirit replaces the fence. In listening-obedience to Christ and His Word, we are trusting always in His righteousness and doing what we hear Him say. In this way, we do indeed fulfill (not just the letter but) the spirit of the law” (Leanne Payne, Restoring the Christian Soul, 142).
Resources on this topic:
Chapter 9 of Leanne Payne’s Restoring the Christian Soul through Healing Prayer, “Third Great Barrier to Wholeness in Christ: Failure to Receive Forgiveness” “Removing Barriers to Wholeness: Receiving God’s Forgiveness” lecture and prayer live audio recording from an MPC school held in Wheaton, IL in 2019.
Key texts on freedom in the life Christ came to give us: John 8:31-32; John 10:10; John 8:36; Job 3:25-26; Hebrews 12:2.
Biblical themes related to self-acceptance: Romans 8:28-32; Colossians 1:16-18.
Hindrances or obstacles to self-acceptance: Father/Mother wounds; Unforgiveness; Inner vows and judgments; Shock, hurt, and trauma; Fears; Unconfessed sin and failure to receive forgiveness; A strong legalistic approach to Christianity.
What Self-Acceptance is not: Suppression or denial of reality; Expressing approval of things in us, our families, or the world around us; Becoming passive.
Characteristics of the False Self Security, significance, and sometimes position are achieved by what we have, what we do, and what others think of me Identity is our idealized self
Steps to Self-Acceptance Willingness to evaluate where you are in relationship to God the Father – John 17:3-4, John 14: 6-7, John 14:8 Accept the Love of the Father Choose to accept who you are, as you are, in the world as it is
Characteristics of the True Self Knowing and accepting ourselves begins by knowing the self that is known by God Significance, security, and position are achieved by knowing you are deeply loved by Father God Destiny is found by surrendering to God and discovering your part in His world Identity is who you are according to God the Father and what He tells you in His Word – Psalm 139:14-16, Isaiah 44:24 Living out life in His grace and mercy – John 8:32, Isaiah 49:14-16
Comments Off on MPC Video Curriculum: Removing Barriers
These videos address the three great barriers to wholeness in Christ: failure to accept ourselves, forgive others, and receive God’s forgiveness. As these barriers are removed, we are increasingly able to hear God’s voice and respond in loving obedience to His creative call. Each video includes a 20-minute teaching and a time of guided prayer.
Notes for each session include the scriptures referenced, any quotes shared, and a basic outline of the teaching. A printable version is included.
If we could suggest a goal for your group it would be that each member will grow in listening for and responding to the Word that God is always speaking.
Opening praise and adoration, prayer to welcome God’s presence
Video: teaching (~20 minutes)
Reflection and sharing
Video: guided prayer (~5 minutes), continue in prayer as God leads
We have found the following themes helpful for group facilitation:
Christian fellowship is most transforming when group members keep their faces turned up towards the Lord rather than horizontally towards one another. Beginning each meeting with praise and adoration of God helps the group maintain this healthy posture.
Space for silence
Holding space for silence throughout the meeting gives group members a chance to practice listening for God’s voice. When we’re new to this practice it can be easier to practice with the quiet support of others than when we’re alone. You can shape the group’s comfort with silence through your own comfort and desire to make space for God’s still, small voice. Model silence with your own body language and by leaving generous pauses after each group member shares. If group members are talking over one another, don’t be afraid to guide the group by saying, “Let’s pause for a moment and each quietly listen to what the Lord is speaking right now,” or, “Let’s leave room to see if anyone who hasn’t shared yet has something they’d like to say.”
Many small-group studies focus on the intellectual study of scripture or theology. This curriculum will do its best work on a heart level, and we find that intellectual understanding often comes after the heart apprehends and responds to God’s initiative. Group members may be particularly tempted to rational analysis during the reflection and sharing portion of the meeting. One simple practice that can reduce this temptation is to use a “no cross-talk” approach. This means that group members listen to one another’s sharing with curiosity and mutual support, refrain from responding to one another with answers or advice. Group members are encouraged to share their questions. The objective of the group is to welcome God to speak to each members’ wonder, longing, struggle or confusion, and so we refrain from offering our human answers and instead make space to listen for His.
Moving with the Spirit
Even as you offer good structure and guidance for your group, we encourage you to keep your spiritual eyes and ears open to how God is moving. For example, you may be prompted to use laying on of hands, to continue a theme in prayer beyond the video, to sing and praise God together, to end a meeting with an time of quiet rest in God’s presence, to postpone the sharing time and move directly from the teaching into the guided prayer, or skip the sharing time entirely. Welcoming group members to share their impressions of how God is leading, and taking the risk as the leader to invite the group to try something new are good practices for any who wish to walk in the Spirit.
With that flexibility in mind, we suggest this basic rhythm for your group meetings:
Praise and adoration. In our experience, there is no substitute for joining together to worship God in song. Whether you sing along to a recording or are blessed with musicians in your group, we encourage you to begin each session in this way. Open with prayer, invoking God’s presence. Involve your group members in prayer, either by asking one or two to pray, or allowing space for each member to speak out a simple prayer.
Teaching. Each video is 15-20 minutes in length. We’ve provided a notes page for each session, linked in the video description. These notes include scriptures and other references so that group members can focus on the heart-meaning of what is being shared.
Reflection. Immediately after the video, invite your group to a couple minutes of silence to let the teaching settle and notice how God is stirring their hearts. After this pause you can invite members to both write in their prayer journals and share with one another. Some sharing prompts you might find helpful: What felt meaningful to you in this teaching? What longing or desire in your life was touched on in this session? Is there a question you have for the Lord after hearing this? How is God stirring in your heart? Did this teaching touch on any area of confusion or difficulty for you? If it seems that some members are dominating the sharing time, suggest that the group leave some quiet space to see if someone who hasn’t spoken yet would like to share.
Prayer. Model active engagement with the guided prayer time, standing, kneeling, lifting hands, etc. Have tissues on hand for moments when the Spirit grants the gift of tears. When the video ends, notice whether your group members seem ready to end the prayer time or are continuing to dialog with the Lord, and encourage the group to stay in that prayerful posture until the time seems complete. Close the meeting with a simple prayer, asking God’s protection and blessing over His ongoing work in each member and the life of the group.
This session considers how obedience to God makes us whole. These notes outline the basic flow of the teaching and contain the full text and reference for scriptures and quotations. At the bottom of the notes are resources for further exploration of this topic.
Obedience, Listening, and Love
This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him! Matthew 17:5 “We are God’s work of art, and we must suffer ourselves to be moulded. Only with our willing it can He create in us the person He intends us to be. Paradoxically, it is only as we obey, as we become “slaves to obedience,” that we come into that incredible freedom of the realized and integrated personality” (Payne, Real Presence, 78-79). They who have my commandments and keep them are those who love me; and those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them. John 14:21 “If we will hide His words in an obedient heart, they will work toward the integration of that personality. As I listen and obey, I become” (Payne, The Broken Image, 150).
Listening-obedience and healing of the fallen position
The unfallen, vertical position The fallen, bent position “They wanted, as we say, to ‘call their souls their own.’ They wanted some corner in the universe of which they could say to God, ‘This is our business, not yours’” (C. S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain, 26).
Two stories of bentness
The healing position
Leanne Payne calls it the “rigorous but sternly magnificent work of converting the ‘desert of loneliness’ within into the spaciously beautiful ‘garden of solitude’ where the true self comes forward and flourishes. This is the self capable of friendship and Christian fellowship. Its identity is no longer in the creature. It no longer demands that the creature be god to it” (Payne, ListeningPrayer, 169).
Resources on this topic:
Chapter six of Leanne Payne’s The Broken Image, “Listening for the Healing Word”
Chapter four of Leanne Payne’s The Healing Presence, “Separation from the presence: the fall from God-consciousness into self-consciousness”
Chapter eleven of Leanne Payne’s Listening Prayer, “Listening prayer is friendship with God”
“Obedience and the Vertical Position” lecture and prayer live audio recording from an MPC school held in Wheaton, IL in 2019.
Christian living is about continually drawing our will, heart, and mind to the living, dynamic, real relationship God has entered into with us. These notes outline the basic flow of the teaching and contain the full text and reference for scriptures and quotations. At the bottom of the notes are resources for further exploration of this topic.
Saul’s story from I Samuel 13 Divine love and power
Christian nature How tremendous is this power available to us who believe in God. That power is the same divine energy which was demonstrated in Christ when He raised Him from the dead. Ephesians 1:19-20, Philips Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the evil actions of the depraved will, the worldly mind, the slothful and careless soul. Galatians 5:16
Spiritual Power to heal Great is the Lord and Mighty in Power. Psalm 147:5 To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me. Colossians 1:29 For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 “It is from the very depth of His apparent defeat that we hear the first confession of Him as King: in Pilate’s inscription on the Cross, in the cry of the dying thief, in the ‘creed’ of the centurion – ‘truly this Man is the Son of God’” (Schmemann, Of Water & the Spirit, 2000, 89-90). All things are yours… all belong to you, and you belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God. I Corinthians 3:21-22 “And those who have tasted [of this kingdom’s] joy, peace and righteousness can overcome this world by the glorious power of the Cross, can offer [this world] to God and thus truly transform it” (Schmemann, 94).
Whoever is wise, let him… consider the great love of the Lord. Psalm 107:43
I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:14-21 NIV
“But preach the Cross, and the energy of God is let loose” (Chambers n.d., april 12).
-Ideas about God, the Bible, and Community vs. God’s self-disclosure -Feeling, sentimentality, experience vs. encounter with the objective real -Churchism and nationalism vs. the fellowship of the Holy Spirit -Legalism, certainty of prescripts vs. Christian obedience
(drawn from John Mackay’s Christian Reality & Appearance, 1969)
(prayer for repentance from churchism can be found in appendix C of Leanne Payne’s Listening Prayer, 1994)
Denying our inadequacy “We are authorized and under a mandate to move in the power the Spirit gives. We can then celebrate our smallness and our inadequacy, knowing that it is by His Spirit that we are to transcend our limitations. We do not run ahead, nor do we lag behind, but we moment by moment obey God. When we wait upon the Lord for His mind on the task or the difficulty, then we are spared from substituting our own limited vision and unaided wisdom for the mighty work he would do” (Payne, The Healing Presence, 1989, 42). Not by might, not by power, but by my Spirit says the Lord Almighty. Zechariah 4:6
Healing prayer is creative How tremendous is the power available to us who believe in God. The power is the same divine energy which was demonstrated in Christ when he raised him from the dead. Ephesians 1:19-20, J B Philips New Testament
Resources on this topic:
The Healing Presence, chapter 3, “Spiritual Power and Authority,” Leanne Payne.
“Abiding in Christ” lecture and prayer live audio recording from an MPC retreat held in Fresno, CA in 2019.
This session is about the utter and substantial reality of Christ with us and within us, and the salvation, the healing, the freedom, that come to us as we walk in the Presence. These notes outline the basic flow of the teaching and contain the full text and reference for scriptures and quotations. At the bottom of the notes are resources for further exploration of this topic.
Restoration of God’s image in us
“Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” (John 15:4-11)
Access to the Father
“I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” “Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.” (John 14: 6, 23) In John 17 Jesus prays to the Father for us, “I in them and you in me” (v. 23).
Discovery of the true self, revival of the personality
The radiant path and the problem of sin
“More deeply than it is comfortable to think, we are all rebels against God” (Father Patrick Reardon, Romans : An Orthodox Commentary, section on Romans 3). “Sin has to do, in a very real sense, with rebelliously demanding to experience what is not – what God did not create and can never look upon, much less bless” (Payne, Healing Presence, 85).
As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient… “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in
mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved. Ephesians 2:1-2, 4 William Barclay, Daily Study Bible on Ephesians 2. But I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. Romans 7:23
Through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. Romans 8:2
How it is we become persons The new self moves in the healing gifts of the Spirit “All Christians are called to exercise their priesthood but in different ways, depending on the gifts that have been allotted to them.” (The Essentials of Evangelical Theology, Vol II, p 107-108)
Incarnational Reality: God with and in us
“Christ… is present now. As long as we dwell in time, there will never be more of Him available to us than now. God is available to us; Jesus is indeed, if we are born again of His Spirit, the living Fountain within. We practice His presence” (Payne, Restoring the Christian Soul. 72). Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price : therefore glorify God in your body. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
“It is only the Christians who have any idea of how human souls can be taken into the life of God and yet remain themselves – in fact, be very much more themselves than they were before… The whole purpose for which we exist is to be thus taken into the life of God.” (Lewis, Mere Christianity, The Complete C. S. Lewis Signature Classics, 2002, p. 88)
Resources on this topic:
Part two of Leanne Payne’s The Healing Presence, “Incarnational reality: The presence of God within us” “The Holy One & The Presence of God With Us” lecture and prayer live audio recording from an MPC school held in Wheaton, IL in 2019.
This teaching points to the holiness of God as the central understanding of the Christian faith. Through Christ God imparts His holiness to us, granting us all we need to grow in wholeness. These notes outline the basic flow of the teaching and contain the full text and reference for each scripture and quotation shared. At the bottom of the notes are resources for further exploration of this topic.
“’Holy’ is the real name of God, of the God ‘not of scholars and philosophers,’ but of the living God of faith. The knowledge about God results in definitions and distinctions. The knowledge of God leads to this one, incomprehensible, yet obvious and inescapable word: holy. And in this word we express both that God is the Absolutely Other, the One about whom we know nothing, and that He is the end of all our hunger, all our desires, the inaccessible One who mobilizes our wills, the mysterious treasure that attracts us, and there is really nothing to know but Him. ‘Holy’ is the word, the song, the ‘reaction’ of the Church as [she] enters into heaven, as [she] stands before the heavenly glory of God.” (emphasis mine, “it” edited to “she” by me, Alexander Schmemann, For the Life of the World. Crestwood, NY: SVS Press, 1963, p. 32)
Praise the Lord! For it is good to sing praises to our God; for it is pleasant, and a song of praise is fitting. He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. He determines the number of the stars; He gives to all of them their names. Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure. Psalm 147:2-5
“If God’s will is to be done on earth as it is in heaven, prayer begins with adoration.” (P.T. Forsyth, The Soul of Prayer, 2012, p. 34)
O my strength, I will watch for you; for you, O God, are my fortress. My God in his steadfast love will meet me. Psalm 59:9-10
God’s holiness is the “ruling interest” of Christian faith
“Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. ”
“If we take the Lord’s Prayer alone, God’s holiness is the interest which all the rest of it serves. Neither love, grace, faith, nor sin have any but a passing meaning except as they rest on the holiness of God, except as they arise from it, and return to it, except as they satisfy it, show it forth, set it up, and secure it everywhere and forever. Love is but its outgoing; sin is but its defiance; grace is but its action on sin; the cross is but its victory; faith is but its worship.” (Forsyth, Cruciality of the Cross, p. 39, New York : Eaton and Mains ; Cincinnati : Jennings and Graham, 19–).
The loss of knowledge of the Holy = loss of identity, meaning, and truth
Three consequences of loss of knowledge of the Holy: narcissism, meaninglessness, and lies, corresponding to Christ’s three offices of priest, king, and prophet.
(drawing on John Coutts’s study of Karl Barth’s theology in A Shared Mercy)
Dr. Victor Frankyl says that we live in an “existential vacuum,” caught up in “a private and personal form of nihilism… the contention that being has no meaning.” (Man’s Search for Meaning, 1946, pp. 152)
“As the privation of truth, falsehood provides nothing of its own, but only utilizes truth in order to evade it… If we usurp ‘the truth in the name of truisms,’ we reduce the living Christ to an overseer of principles that we can harness in a self-serving system.” (Coutts, A Shared Mercy, IVP Academic, 2016, p. 41)
And you shall say to them, ‘This is the nation that did not accept discipline; truth has perished; it is cut off from their lips.’ Jeremiah 7:28
Save us, O Lord, from lying lips. Psalm 120:2
Keep watch over the door of my lips. Psalm 141:3
The Lord detests lying lips. Proverbs 12:22
He who guards his lips guards his soul. Proverbs 13:3
Do not use your lips to deceive. Proverbs 24:28
They shall teach my people the difference between the holy and the common, and show them how to distinguish between the unclean and the clean. Ezekiel 44:23
You yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. I Peter 2:5
“Why are you cast down, my soul? And so disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him, for my God is the salvation of my being.” Psalm 42:11 (translated by Fr Patrick Henry Reardon, Christ in the Psalms)
The life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. Galatians 2:20
Resources on this topic:
The Knowledge of the Holy, A.W. Tozer, The Healing Presence, part 1, Leanne Payne.
Notes for Foundations: A Testimony of Christian Obedience presented by Melanie Post
In this session Melanie shares her story of learning to obey God and stand in the upright, vertical position.
“To be in God’s grace is to be in His obedience, because it is our obedience that keeps us close to Him and to the protection, fulfillment, provision and joy that fellowship with Him brings. Gospel obedience is not constricting but liberating, because it keeps us in tune with the will of the Father which is always a will for our liberation and wholeness.” Thomas A. Smail, The Forgotten Father, 146.
It is written: ‘Man must not live by bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God’. Matthew 4:4 (HCSB Version)
“Listening to God is obeying Him.” Leanne Payne, Listening Prayer, 125. “Sin has to do, in a very real sense, with rebelliously demanding to experience what is not, what God
did not create and can never look upon – much less bless.” Leanne Payne, Healing Presence, 85. “The journey of life is for setting love in order.” Leanne Payne quoting Fr. Allen Jones, Restoring the
Christian Soul, 68.
“When strength or joy or pity of truth urges him, let him speak it out and not be afraid – content to be condemned for it, comforted that if he makes a mistake the Lord Himself will condemn him and save him, too. The condemnation of his fellow men will not hurt him, too. If he speak the truth the Lord will say “I sent him”, for all truth is of the Lord.” George McDonald, Knowing the Heart of God, 94-95.
“Love is more stern and splendid than mere kindness.” C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain, 28.
“In choosing to fear God rather than others, we opt for inner integrity and a change from the inside out that ends in fullness of being.” Leanne Payne, Listening Prayer, 50.
Thomas A. Smail, The Forgotten Father, pg. 146
Leanne Payne, Listening Prayer, pg. 125
Leanne Payne, The Healing Presence, pg. 85
Leanne Payne, Restoring the Christian Soul, pg. 156
Leanne Payne quotes Fr. Alan Jones, Restoring the Christian Soul pg. 68 (Melanie misquoted the source of this quote as “Listening Prayer” in the video).
Leanne Payne, Listening Prayer, pg. 118
George MacDonald, Knowing the Heart of God, pg. 94 & 95. Full Quote: “When strength or joy or pity of truth urges him, let him speak it out and not be afraid – content to be condemned for it, comforted that if he makes a mistake the Lord Himself will condemn him and save him, too. The condemnation of his fellow men will not hurt him, too. If he speak the truth the Lord will say “I sent him”, for all truth is of the Lord.
Notes for Foundations: Practicing God’s Presence Presented by Gay Barretta
This session considers the awesome reality of God with us:
● His transcendence and immanence ● what it means to practise His presence ● learning to recognize His voice through listening prayer ● how we can enter into dialogue with Him ● in a way that brings healing and completion to our souls
These notes outline the basic flow of the teaching and contain the full text and reference for scriptures and quotations. At the bottom of the notes are resources for further exploration of this topic.
God is transcendent, exalted far above the created universe and other than His works. Yet He is immanent within them, and manifests Himself in and through His creation.
Where shall I go from Your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven You are there. If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there shall Your right hand lead me and Your right hand shall hold me. Psalm 139:7-10
Surely the Lord is in this place and I didn’t know. Jacob in Genesis 28:16
God is not far from each of us for in Him we live and move and have our being. Paul in Acts 17:27-28
This is eternal life, that they know You the one true God. John 17:3
Acknowledging God’s Real Presence with and within us is crucial to our regaining a Christian world view, what Christian reality is.
Surely you know that you are God’s temple, where the Spirit of God dwells. 1 Corinthians 6:19
It is vital we don’t confuse the experience of God’s presence with the objective reality of His being present.
I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand I will not be shaken. Ps 16:8
“Thank You Jesus that You indwell me by the power of Your Spirit. Thank You Jesus that I am the temple of the Holy Spirit. Thank You Lord that all of us who love You and follow You are a temple of Your Holy Spirit.”
We are made for dialogue, and listening to our loving Father is a vital part of practicing His presence.
How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called the children of God, and this is what we are. John 3:1
We can exchange with God in prayer taking in His words as replacement for the other words that have shaped us.
For sword take that which the Spirit gives you- the words that come from God. Ephesians 6:17
In His healing Presence listening, we gain objectivity and are drawn up and out of our ego-centric, subjective worlds. The Christ we listen to is the Christ of the scriptures who always listened to and obeyed the voice of His Father.
They received the message with great eagerness, studying the scriptures every day to see whether it was as they said. Acts 17:11-12
How do we begin to hear God? You will know His power today if you will listen to His voice. Psalm 95:7
As we open our Bibles we can ask the Lord to breathe on the word He is speaking personally to us and quicken it to our spirit.
Through the Spirit’s prodding, we write out our responses in conversation with Him.
The third step: the prayer of quiet waiting and listening for His voice for any word He may be sending.
Prayer: “Lord You are always speaking and I choose now to quiet my heart and listen to You, to hear and receive Your Words to me.”
Resources on this topic: Chapter six of Leanne Payne’s The Broken Image, “Listening for the healing word.”
Chapter five of Restoring the Christian Soul through Healing Prayer by Leanne Payne, “Listening prayer: The way of grace and the walk in the spirit.”
Listening Prayer by Leanne Payne, particularly part one, “Keeping a listening prayer journal,” and chapter 11, “Listening prayer is friendship with God.”
“Practicing the presence of God with us,” lecture and prayer live audio recording from an MPC school held in Wheaton, IL in 2019. [link: https://mpcs.myshopify.com/products/the-presence-of-god-with-us-practicing-the-presence]
These videos offer an introduction to how we share in the life of Christ, and the freedom and wholeness that come as we learn to live in the fullness of Him. Each video includes a 20-minute teaching and a time of guided prayer.
Notes for each session include the scriptures referenced, any quotes shared, and a basic outline of the teaching. A printable version is included.