Author Archives: Sarah Colyn

  1. A thrillingly high calling

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    Like many who love Jesus and His Bride, Fiducia Supplicans* has hit me hard. There’s much I could say about why I’ve wept, fumed, and stared numbly into space as I’ve grappled with what it means for the Church and for this world God loves so greatly. One thing seems most personal and pressing for us in MPC: FS’s confusing vision of pastoral care exposes the Church’s profound need, and the high calling that addresses it.

    Leanne Payne argued that the Church’s greatest need is a profoundly Christian theological anthropology. Distinguished Christian thinkers today agree. Hans Boersma articulates it this way: “Only one thing can prevent this date [when FS was published] from going into history as one of the most tragic dates in the church’s history: it is the conscious and deliberate reconnection of the pastoral and the theological.”i Charles Chaput observes, “The most urgent challenge that Christians face in today’s world is anthropological: who and what a human being is; whether we have some higher purpose that warrants our special dignity as a species; whether we’re anything more than unusually smart animals who can invent and reinvent ourselves.”ii The Church needs those who can articulate a profoundly Christian vision of human life and show Jesus-seekers the Way in. What a thrillingly high calling.

    When I stepped into leadership of Leanne Payne’s daughter ministry, the first book she encouraged me to read was Heresies.iii Why, as I was answering the call to a ministry devoted to pastoral care, should I begin by studying heresy? I could think of many books that seemed more relevant to pastoral care, but I respected Leanne and so I took her advice. She understood that faithful pastoral care must proceed from faithful theology. It must always be formed by a true answer to the question, “What is God like?”iv Although I must admit I didn’t make it through all 512 pages, Brown did convince me that that followers of Christ battle heresy — at some points in our history even to death — because heresy is a life and death matter for those who would hear a false gospel. At the same time, the fight against wrong teachings should be waged with a merciful heart toward any person who is so unfortunate as to become the proponent of heresy. Like all things, their failure is God’s servant, because the Spirit guards the Church’s integrity and works through the errors of Her members to refine Her. As both scripture and history prove, God’s people are prone to syncretism and vulnerable to confusion. It is very possible for us to believe we’re ministering in Christ’s name when in fact our offering is more shaped by the gods of progress or sentimentality than the God of scripture. Such corrupted care is cruelest to the most vulnerable among us.

    To consciously and deliberately reconnect the pastoral and theological calls us beyond academic departments and professional guilds. It calls us beyond the mindset of our day. It calls us to dig deeper into the riches of scripture and the wisdom of the saints throughout Christian tradition. Higher still, it calls us to become saints ourselves, courageous and clear enough to be the truth and speak the truth. Pastoral care is always a particular, personal encounter, and so this great need of the Church comes down to a need for persons. Integrated persons — those who wonder and study from the head and heart, those in whom theology and worship form an interwoven fabric. Equipped persons — those who aim high as students of both theology and human experience, and kneel low in exposing their weaknesses in the Body where they can be known and refined. Courageous persons — real disciples who follow Jesus’s total reliance on the Spirit to empower total obedience to the Father. We need such persons in formal and informal roles, ordained and lay, professionals and neighbors. My husband spends his working days as an engineer, and is surprised by how often a younger man on his team asks him for advice on how to be a father. The more grounded we are in the truth of what God is like and what it means to be human, the better we’ll obey the great commission.

    If you’ve read this far, I have what may be a challenging word. I suspect that you are a person who hears this call, and I urge you to answer it. The Enemy is pulling on every thread it can grasp to dissuade you. Words of intimidation, disqualification, and distraction fly like fiery darts, aiming to make you doubt what you hear or feel too ashamed or afraid to answer. These are stalling tactics by a defeated enemy. Don’t let it work. Admit your desire to yourself, to your Father, and to a brother or sister. Listen for your next step of obedience and take it. Rise up and go after the One who is compelling, “Follow Me.” These are dark days, and it’s right to lament FS along with every consequence of our loss of knowledge of the Holy. I’m grateful we can do more than lament, as Gandalf reminds us:

    “‘I wish it need not have happened in my time,’ said Frodo. ‘So do I,’ said Gandalf, ‘and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.’”v

    The key to answering this high calling is to listen to Christ’s voice and obey all He says. He knows what the Father plans to entrust to you, and has a brilliant curriculum mapped out for your learning and maturing in this call. Moment by moment, step by step, day by day, He will lead you faithfully. In case He might be inviting you to some head-and-heart training, I’ll share some of the best we’re aware of.

    Andrew Comiskey and Desert Stream Ministries — I pray that their reach will grow until every community has a Living Waters program. I encourage you to look for a Living Waters group in your area, [https://www.desertstream.org/ find-a-group], or consider their leadership training

    Christopher West and the Theology of the Body Institute — our team has gained much from Christopher’s inspired teaching. I encourage you to attend a TOB course or look into bringing “Made for More” to your community.

    Leanne Payne’s legacy — God has called MPC to build on her legacy in our generations. I’ll make a foolish boast here and include us in this list. I believe that our five-day pastoral care schools are an excellent offering, and our video series makes for fruitful study and prayer in your local community.

    Greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world (I John 4:4). Rise up and follow Him.

    *Fiducia Supplicans is a declaration on Catholic doctrine, made in December, that authorizes priests to bless same-sex couples.

    i Hans Boersma, “The Fall of Rome,” Touchstone, 2/2/2024, emphasis added.

    ii Charles Chaput, “The Cost of ‘Making a Mess’,” First Things, 12/22/23, emphasis added.

    iii Harold Brown, Heresies, Hendrickson, 1988.

    iv A. W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy, Harper One, 2009, 4.

    v J. R. R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring, chapter two.

  2. In Christ I am a Channel of Living Water

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    Be blessed by this brief teaching and prayer from Leanne Payne’s archives. To come into Christ’s presence is to be converted, healed, and to become a source of His life for others! By His Spirit, living waters flow up and out of each of us, bringing new life to a thirsty, dying world.

    Leanne Payne teaching at a Pastoral Care Ministry school in Munich, Germany, 1993
    Used with permission, © Leanne Payne Literary Trust

    “If any man is thirsty, he can come to me and drink!
    The man who believes in me, as the scripture says,
    will have rivers of living water flowing from his inmost heart.”

    John 7:37 Phillips

  3. Another Lives in Me — a guided prayer

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    Sometimes we need a little help to quiet ourselves and come present to the wonderful reality that God is with us and within us. Use this 2-minute guided prayer anytime you’d like a companion in practicing His presence.

  4. Radiant Lent

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    The lenten spirit in the Church is one of splendor and delight.
    It breathes with the exhilaration of those girding up to ‘fight the good fight’
    for the One who loves them and has given Himself to them
    for the sake of their salvation.

    hopko, The Lenten spring, 9

    We have these forty days to follow Jesus into the desert. He invites us, calls us, and privileges us to fight for Him in a spiritual adventure. It is a spiritual achievement, one that takes great courage, skill and strength that we have only by His Spirit. In Lent we follow Christ on the radiant path that He has cleared before us.

    We fight for Jesus, cultivating the character and lifestyle that honors Him. We fight against the devil and against our sin nature, refusing the lure of self-protection, self-serving, self-satisfaction, and self-aggrandizement. We fight for the good of our brother and sister, beloved enemy and stranger alike. We’ve been given some powerful and effective weapons that we practice wielding in this season: fasting; immersion in scripture and prayer; openly confessing sin to one another; giving of our personal resources to satisfy the needs of others; and actively loving those who offend or dishonor us.

    Repentance and joy,
    compunction and consolation,
    godly grief and spiritual rejoicing
    are joined together in perfect union in the person who fights for the Lord.

    HOPKO, THE LENTEN SPRING, 15

    Sometimes we follow the wrong guide into the desert, and these distortions of Lent can numb our desire to engage the season. On the one hand, we can turn it into self-improvement therapy, fasting to gain health benefits or changing a bad habit so we like ourselves more. On the other hand, we can punish ourselves with sentimental sorrow and misery as though this self-inflicted pain has some purifying power in itself. Both of these errors drop our gaze to ourselves when the real meaning of Lent comes from the horizon of eternity where glory awaits us.

    I consider that our present sufferings
    are not worth comparing
    with the glory that will be revealed in us.

    Romans 8:18 NIV

    My heart sees truth in Rivière’s painting. Following Jesus to the desert requires humble resolve and a steadiness of will that can only come from Him. It is a rugged place with deep shadows, and we face a real and transforming battle there. Oh, what glory will soon dawn for those who remain with Him!

    Painting: Briton Rivière, 1898, The Temptation in the Wilderness

  5. What We’re Reading: Theology of the Body

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    From 1979 to 1984, St John Paul II gave a series of addresses about the meaning of human embodiment, with particular attention to our calling as male and female to become “one flesh.” These addresses form what he called the Theology of the Body, and have been excellently translated by Michael Waldstein in Man and Woman He Created Them. John Paul II and Leanne Payne were truly brother and sister, on different continents, speaking with their unique voices in the same era; greatly needed prophets who answered the call to proclaim the glorious mystery of our redemption in Christ. Like Leanne’s books, the Theology of the Body (TOB) illuminates the radiant path of the redemption of our embodied, sexual lives. And like Leanne’s books, it seems that these teachings will only grow in importance for this generation and beyond. Scholars, pastors, and cultural commentators from every corner of the Christian world today are encouraging the study of John Paul II’s Theology of the Body. 

    Christopher West is president and senior lecturer for the Theology of the Body Institute and a leading teacher of the TOB in the US and beyond. Several of MPC’s leaders have studied with Christopher either at the institute in Pennsylvania or through their online courses. This has been a rewarding connection for MPC as the insights of the TOB give us an even richer glimpse into incarnational reality. 

    One of West’s most recent books, Our Bodies Tell God’s Story, is written particularly to introduce Protestants to the rich teachings of the TOB. Many people find that they get much more out of their study of Man and Woman He Created Them once they’ve been oriented to the TOB through Christopher’s gifted teaching. He has an inspiring and infectious passion for this telling of the gospel that shows how human love belongs in the divine plan. 

    One thing I love about the TOB that I also love about Leanne’s writings is that it gives us two critically important visions. First, it helps us see the goodness and glory for which we were created as men and women, husbands and wives, and members of the Bride of Christ. We need this vision of the heights to which we are called. Here’s just one passage in which Christopher points the way:

    “Why was Adam endowed with freedom? Because Adam was called to love – and without freedom, love is impossible. In his solitude, Adam realizes that love is his origin, his vocation, and his destiny. He realizes that, unlike the animals, he is invited to enter a covenant of love with God himself. God is a lover with all the passion of a bridegroom who wants to marry us. It’s this relationship of love with God that defines Adam’s solitude more than anything else. Tasting this love, he also longs with all his being to share this love (covenant) with another person like himself. This is why it is “not good for the man to be alone.” [1]

    Second, the TOB shows us how the Bridegroom has redeemed us from the lows to which we have fallen. The cross stands at the center of the TOB, and these rich teachings have profound pastoral reach as we see how Christ’s body, given for us, redeems and restores our bodies. For example: 

    “The true solution to all the pornographic distortions of the body so prevalent today is not the rejection of the body but the redemption of the body (see Rom. 8:23): the untwisting of what sin has twisted so we can recover the true glory, splendor, and inestmiable value of the body.” [2]

    Good and true symbols of man and woman, husband and wife, father and mother, family and sonship enable us to see and know God the Father, God the Son, and Holy Spirit, and how He brings us into His life and shares His love with us. Every person, family, community, society, and civilization needs these good symbols in order to survive and thrive. The Theology of the Body helps us grasp the good and true symbols that we, and the whole world, so greatly need. 

    Paul II, John. Man and Woman He Created Them: A Theology of the Body. Translated by Michael Waldstein. Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media, 2006. 

    West, Christopher. Our Bodies Tell God’s Story: Discovering the Divine Plan for Love, Sex, and Gender. Grand Rapids, MI: Brazos Press, a division of Baker Publishing Group, 2020. 

    [1] West, Christopher. Our Bodies Tell God’s Story: Discovering the Divine Plan for Love, Sex, and Gender. Grand Rapids, MI: Brazos Press, a division of Baker Publishing Group, 2020, 32.

    [2] West, 9.

  6. Repentance and Resurrection

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    We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was
    raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
    For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God.
    So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
    Romans 6:4, 10-11

    In a city where I once lived, there was a quiet little chapel built to the side of the main sanctuary of a church. It had a wonderful crucifix over its altar, and above that an exquisite old stained-glass window depicting the risen Christ. I had learned to walk in the Spirit and knew the joy of the Lord. The ministry He entrusted me with, however, was growing rapidly. It was then that I learned to work into my life, as Agnes Sanford refers to it, a rhythm of repentance and resurrection. I was so busy serving the Lord and helping others that I usually had little or no conscious knowledge of sin and pride in my heart, but I learned to set aside a time to be very quiet, letting Him show me the repenting I needed to do, and the changes I needed to make in my life. At these times, I would go to this little chapel and there look up to the crucifix.

    Then when I knew what to repent of, I would in prayer take my stand in His cross and with Him die to it. Sometimes this would take awhile. Having died once again with Him to the old man or self, I would (before rising from my knees!) look up to the stained-glass depiction of Him as risen Savior and take my place in His rising, all the while exulting in my forgiveness and true identity in Him.

    I no longer have access to this wonderful little chapel, but this practice is firmly planted in my heart. All of us have access to Christ’s cross, and to build in such a rhythm of dying and rising with Christ is surely the way we stay spiritually and psychologically healthy. [1]

    Whether we’re busy serving and helping, or caught in the cares and snares of the world, we need God to search and know us. In Lent the Church calls us to linger in the chapel of the heart, quieting ourselves under our Lord’s merciful gaze. He knows the perils of our journey intimately, and longs to cleanse and restore. Let’s give Him the time it takes to do this work, for our good and His glory.

    Come, Holy Spirit. Help us walk in newness of life by showing us where we’ve gone astray. Strengthen us in these desert days that we might be still and welcome Your probing kindness. Lead us to repentance, merciful One. Reveal the subtle sins that our eyes can’t see. Give us grace to invite You in to the secret shame we hide from all others. Teach us this rhythm of dying and rising with You.

    [1] Leanne Payne, Restoring the Christian Soul Through Healing Prayer (Grand Rapids, Baker Books, 1991), 63.

    Stained glass by Ott Freres, in a church in Gimbrett, France, Resurrected Christ.

  7. Video: On Prayer Partners

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    If we are following Jesus, we will be confronted by the forces that oppose Him. In the conflicts that ensue, we discover our need for the gift of battle:  the capacity to endure conflict while remaining filled with Christ’s love. Leanne Payne exhorts that mature prayer partners are “absolutely vital in the Christian walk” because their listening and intercessions help us receive this gift. [1]

    As critical as prayer partners are, Leanne was dismayed that many pastors and leaders lack such support. The fear of sharing with others can corner earnest people into doing ministry without partners who intercede and help them listen for God’s voice. Could this be why, in this past year that was so hot with spiritual battle, nearly four out of ten pastors have leaving full-time ministry? [2]

    The stakes couldn’t be higher. As Leanne wrote, without prayer partners “no one can stand long in battle… or win the prize of pressing through to victory in the vocations we’ve been assigned.” [3] Because men and women often experience friendships differently, I wanted to hear some mens’ perspectives on prayer partnerships. I was curious whether they agree with Leanne on this issue, and to hear what it’s been like for them to foster good prayer partnerships. Three veteran MPC leaders, Sill Davis, Jim Server, and Tommy Briggs, agreed to sit down with me and share from their own experience. Their stories and wisdom will be a blessing to both men and women who recognize their need for the great spiritual treasure of effective prayer partners. We’ll begin by hearing from Sill Davis.

    [1] Leanne Payne, Restoring the Christian Soul Through Healing Prayer (Grand Rapids, Baker Books, 1991), 185

    [2] Barna, https://www.barna.com/research/pastors-well-being/

    [3] Payne, 185-186

  8. Joyful Relationship

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    With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.
    And you will say in that day:
    Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name;
    make known his deeds among the nations;
    proclaim that his name is exalted.
    Sing praises to the LORD, for he has done gloriously;
    let this be known in all the earth.
    Shout aloud and sing for joy, O royal Zion,
    for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.
    Isaiah 12:3-6

    Satan and the evil spirits hate the Incarnation (and incarnational reality) because in it the God of the Old Testament, He Who is faithful and full of loving kindness, is made present to our world. In Jesus Christ the full revelation of God is made present to man. This, as John’s Gospel shows, is a revelation of light, and to know Jesus is to know the Father and to walk in light. To be in sin is to be in darkness, and to fail to believe in Jesus is to remain in one’s sins and in the kingdom of darkness. This believing is manifestly an experiential knowing, a relationship with a Person, as Luther says, closer to us than we are to ourselves. [1]

    (more…)
  9. Preparing Hearts

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    Jesus said to them…
    “But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows,
    not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.
    Be on guard, keep awake.
    For you do not know when the time will come.
    And what I say to you I say to all: Stay awake.”
    Mark 13:5a, 32-33, 37 ESV

    Knowing that Jesus is truly Emmanuel, God with us, and learning to practice His Presence is vital to being healed and remaining healed. This practice of the Presence is not a method, but a walk with a Person — and in this walk there is always healing. And there is also, as the Scriptures and our experience plainly shows, an ongoing dialog. Listening to God then is a vital part of the practice of the Presence. [1]

    Because Jesus is coming, we actively listen to His voice, alert to what is true and what really matters. He calls us, not to the draining vigilance of anxiety, but rather to the bright-eyed attentiveness that is natural in the presence of a great love. It is a privilege and joy that we have time today to prepare our hearts for His ultimate coming. There is nothing better we can do now than receive His healing word that continually makes us readier to live in His presence forever.

    PRAYER

    You, dear Lord, have loved me so well, from long before I knew Your Name. I want to listen to Your every word and follow Your every leading. Breathe Your Spirit within my spirit, and wake my soul to walk with You. Minister Your wholeness to my body and soul. Speak Lord, Your servant is listening.

    [1] Leanne Payne, The Broken Image (Westchester, Ill, Cornerstone Books, 1981), p. 54.
    Illustrated manuscript: Rossano Gospels, 6th century, The parable of the ten virgins [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
    Meditation prepared by Sarah Colyn, drawing on the writings and ministry of Leanne Payne.


  10. The Advent of Hope

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    Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure. 
    I John 3:2-3 NIV

    To have the hope of heaven restored to the soul is first of all to regain the great hope of Christ’s appearing and the mind-boggling promise that we shall be like Him. The power of hope is mysterious in all the ways it ministers life to us, but in this Scripture we see that this hope “purifies us” even now. [1]

    Meditating on Jesus’s birth also draws our attention to His second coming. We are going to see Jesus! We are going to be fully alive and whole! Perfect fulfilment with Him will never end! When we anticipate such glory, this world’s numbing, distracting, and corrupting counterfeits are put in their place. The intentionality of Advent makes purifying space for our hearts. We wait for Him actively, eager to begin now in the life that will be wholly ours when Christ appears. 

    PRAYER

    Holy God, we praise You for Your perfect ways. Your promises are beyond our comprehension, so we look to You and receive the supernatural gift of hope. We long for the day of your return; make this longing in us active and pure. Come, Lord Jesus.

    [1] Leanne Payne, Restoring the Christian Soul :  Overcoming Barriers to Completion through Healing Prayer (Grand Rapids, Baker Books, 1996), p. 217
    Painting: Sandro Botticelli, 1500-1501, Mystic Nativity [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
    Meditation prepared by Sarah Colyn, drawing on the writings and ministry of Leanne Payne.


  11. MPC Video Curriculum: Being and Becoming

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    These videos address human being and becoming, and how union with Christ opens the path for us to grow into whole, mature men and women. It is in Christ that we are able to shed our immature and diseased illusions and become our true selves. Through His creative and redemptive power, even those who were deprived of a solid sense of being and well-being can be born again. In union with Him we can grow in the supernatural virtue of hope and live faithfully as homo viators destined for eternal fulfillment in His presence. 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.

    Being & Becoming: The Presence of God Within Us: Incarnational Reality and the True Self 
    Being & Becoming: On Becoming: A Testimony of the True Self 
    Being & Becoming: God’s Creative Love: Being and Well-being
    Being & Becoming: Healing of Sense of Being: A Testimony
    Being & Becoming: The Virtue of Hope I: Humble Homo Viators 
    Being & Becoming: The Virtue of Hope II: Magnanimity Destroys Despair

    If you are using these videos as part of a church program, small group, or prayer cell, we’ve created a small group leader’s guide just for you!

    To contribute a financial gift in support of this video curriculum visit our donation page.

  12. Hope Cares

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    Dear Ones,

    I’ve been immersed recently in the topic of hope, and am convinced this supernatural virtue is particularly crucial for Christ-followers today. Hope carries us when the quickly-gathering darkness appears to be winning. Hope keeps our hearts anchored in Christ as we await the fullness of His kingdom. The heavenly orientation of hope sharpens our discernment, strengthens our courage, and steadies us to persevere. Because hope is so essential, it’s also under continual assault. The Enemy poses clever and relentless temptations to lure us away from hopeful living, and our prideful sin-nature has its own reasons for straying. I enjoy baking — or maybe it’s that I enjoy eating baked goods — and have cupcake papers in my kitchen from a brand called “If You Care.” This packaging makes me laugh out loud because it’s such a comical instance of the counterfeit of hope that pervades western culture. 

    This sneaky counterfeit of hope is what church tradition calls presumption:  the failure of humility that supposes we’ve arrived. Presumption wrongly assumes that there’s no need for the fear and trembling of working out our salvation. The moralistic tone of “If You Care” is marketing a clear conscience to any customer who buys their brand (and inferring guilt to any who don’t). So many movements today suggest that we humans, in our own strength and goodness, are in a position to right what is wrong in the world. Presumption forgets that God is on the move, setting things right in the only efficacious and wise way, and that His initiative will be fully consummated by Christ’s second coming. God invites us to join His mission, to point to and rejoice in and serve the coming of His kingdom. If you care, the best thing you can do is to seek to become a deeply devoted follower of Christ who lives every moment humbly walking in His Spirit. By remaining intently focused on His promises, and His will and power to fulfill them, we will enjoy the glorious privilege of playing some small part as He sets things right. By remaining intently focused on Him, we will be saved from the delusion that we’ve arrived at a place of personal goodness and wealth whereby our humanistic caring and social action can give us peace with God and our fellow man.

    The other enemy of hope this silly slogan echoes is despair, a sinister vice that traps us in a place of no-more-becoming. “If You Care” suggests it’s possible not to care. In reality, as long as we’re alive we do care, we do long for fullness of life for ourselves and the world around us. Despair isn’t able to extinguish the imperishable spark of desire, it just wars against it by pushing it down. Those who have convinced themselves they don’t care are fighting a miserable inner battle against the indestructible desire for fulfillment. Despair pretends it doesn’t care. But we who have a truly Christian anthropology know better. Our outlook is distinct from the moralistic, neighbor-judging hostility that dismisses those who haven’t joined our cause as not caring (and thus as having a less-than-human heart). It is our privilege to see as God sees, to know that the spark of life yet burns in every heart, that a bridgehead of good remains by which His grace can invade. When we have strayed into the swamp of despair (all too easy when life gets tough), we need the Body to help us hear Christ’s voice calling us back to hope. We need brothers and sisters to woo, prod, nurture and challenge us to take possession again of our desire for life. We must reach out to one another and say, “You do care, so let’s sojourn on together in the hope we have in Christ!”

    Yours in Him,

    Sarah Colyn

    Painting: James Tissot, 1886-1894, The Pilgrims of Emmaus on the Road [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

  13. A Personal Pentecost

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    For it is in Christ that the complete being of the Godhead dwells embodied, 
    and in him you have been brought to completion. 
    Every power and authority in the universe is subject to him as Head.
    Colossians 2:9-10 NEB

    John the Baptist said to those repenting of their sin, “I baptize with water, but he [the Christ] will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” Jesus baptizes with the Holy Spirit, and when He does, He imparts Himself to man. The Pentecostal Presence and power is vital in the healing of neuroses. It is the passing on of life to the soul lacking life, the passing on of being from the Source of all being to the one who has heretofore more nearly identified with non-being. The message of Pentecost is that God centers Himself in His people; we are a people of the Presence. Every soul coming out of the world’s lifestyle needs to pray for a personal Pentecost — and receive it. He is then centered in God, and God is centered in him. He can then hear God while standing and walking with Him in the vertical position. [1]

    Those who witnessed the wonder of Pentecost as told in Acts 2 were amazed by the presence and work of the Holy Spirit. We are no less amazed today as we see Him work wonders through the miraculous healing of souls. He fills in deficits and straightens out distortions that no merely human method of healing can reach. The personality immersed in anxiety becomes familiar with peace. The grasping, desperate heart is granted a solid, secure center. Dignity grows as we who had been trapped in fruitless immaturity grow nearer to our full stature in Christ. We can celebrate Pentecost not just as a moment in the history of the Church, but as a movement flowing through our lives. Alleluia!

    PRAYER

    Lord Jesus we thank you for this very personal, very real baptism of Your Spirit. Give us grace to fully and eagerly receive You. Thank You for centering us in You, and for centering Yourself in us. Grant solidity and fullness of being to each of us, that we, Your people, might stand up straight and hear You well. Come, Holy Sprit, come!

    [1] Leanne Payne, The Healing Presence (Grand Rapids, Baker Books, 1995), 63.
    Painting: Juan Bautista Maíno, 1615-1620, Pentecost [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.
    Meditation prepared by Sarah Colyn, drawing on the writings and ministry of Leanne Payne.

  14. Leanne Payne’s Biography

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    Leanne Payne, made an extraordinary contribution to the ministry of healing prayer through over forty years of service and leadership. Called a “great soldier for Christ” by the philosopher Dallas Willard, she founded Pastoral Care Ministries, dedicated to teaching, healing, and growth in Christian maturity. She wrote seven books that continue in print in English and in 12 other language translations.

    Leanne PayneLeanne Payne was born during the Great Depression on June 26, 1932, in Omaha, Nebraska, the elder daughter of Robert and Forrest Mabrey. Times were hard and became even more difficult when her father died when she was three years old. Her mother moved with Leanne and her younger sister to Little Rock, Arkansas, to live with family.

    Leanne’s early adult life was shaped by several impulsive and painful choices that ultimately brought her to a place of deep repentance. At the end of herself by her mid-twenties, she underwent a full and lasting conversion to Christ, stepping firmly onto the path of obedience to God.

    In 1963 Mrs. Payne became the dorm mother at Wheaton Academy, beginning her forty-plus-year association with Wheaton, Illinois, and its legacy of great evangelical leaders such as R. A. Torrey, F. B. Meyer, and Dwight Moody. A year later she joined the prayer circle of Fr. Richard Winkler, considered the grandfather of the charismatic renewal movement. In 1965 while working for Wheaton College, she enrolled as a student and thus began her formal education. From 1965 to 1974 she studied at both Wheaton and University of Arkansas, earning a BA and two MA degrees.

    During the next several years she wrote her first book, Real Presence: The Christian Worldview of C. S. Lewis as Incarnational Reality, taught at Wheaton College, and assisted Dr. Clyde Kilby, the visionary who established the C. S. Lewis literary collection at Wheaton College (today’s Marion E. Wade Center). She catalogued the letters of C. S. Lewis while sitting at his desk and benefitted richly from Lewis and the mentoring by Dr. Kilby.

    Fr. Winkler introduced her to the healing-prayer ministry of Agnes Sanford in 1973, and Leanne was soon serving with Mrs. Sanford in her Schools of Pastoral Care. By 1976 she was ministering full time through writing and healing prayer. She moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in 1978 and served as a research fellow under Henri Nouwen at Yale Divinity School in 1981. This year also saw the much-celebrated publication of The Broken Image.

    In 1982 she incorporated Pastoral Care Ministries with the guidance of friends experienced in business matters. The establishment of this ministry structure brought order, and Leanne flourished in generative creativity. From this time onward, she provided pastoral care through prayer and counselling mainly at the week-long PCM schools conducted throughout North America, Europe, Hawaii, and Australia. She published five more books in the years that followed: Crisis in Masculinity, The Healing Presence, Restoring the Christian Soul, Listening Prayer, and finally in 2008 her spiritual autobiography. Dr. Donald Bloesch said of Heaven’s Calling, “It poignantly shows how the author has been mightily used by the Spirit of God to spearhead a ministry of renewal and celebration.” In 2009, Ministries of Pastoral Care was founded with Leanne’s blessing, which has allowed pastoral care schools to continue beyond her retirement and to this day.

    Leanne was known for her deep devotion to God, her profound thought, her writing about “incarnational reality” – how God dwells in his people – and for the way the triune God would respond mightily to her prayer, “Come, Holy Spirit.” She shared the winsome character of her mentors Dr. Kilby and Agnes Sanford, the “eternal child,” delighting always in creation whether it be a squirrel, a perfectly formed flower, or a man or woman made in the image of God.

  15. Notes for The Virtue of Hope II – Magnanimity Destroys Despair

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    presented by Sarah Colyn

    This teaching considers how magnanimity — greatness of soul — protects hope from despair and empowers us to continue the journey of becoming. 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.

    Youthfulness

    God is “closer and more intimate to us than we are to ourselves,” and hope of fulfillment in Him “cannot be touched by aging or disappointment” (Pieper, On Hope, 42).

    The youthfulness of Christ’s saints:  aspiration that is at once both relaxed and disciplined; adaptability and readiness; strong-hearted freshness; resilient joy; steady perseverance in trust.

    Hope is the steadfast turning toward the true fulfillment of our nature.

    Acedia and Despair, enemies of hope

    Acedia:  “a sadness in view of the divine good in man” (Pieper, 52).

    “One who is trapped in acedia has neither the courage nor the will to be as great as he really is. He would prefer to be less great in order thus to avoid the obligation of his greatness. Acedia is a perverted humility; it will not accept supernatural goods because they are, by their very nature, linked to a claim on him who receives them” (56).

    The sorrow of acedia “lacks courage for the great things that are proper to the nature of the Christian” (55).

    Despair:  “It will turn out badly for us and for me myself.”

    “It is not so much sin as despair that casts us into hell.”  (St. John Chrysostum)  

    When an individual whose despair springs initially ‘from weakness’ comes ‘to realize why he does not want to be himself, then it changes suddenly, and defiance steps in’ (Kierkegaard quoted in Pieper, 61).  

    Magnanimity, Protection against Despair

    “A person is magnanimous if he has the courage to seek what is great and becomes worthy of it” (Pieper, 28).  

    “Despair [is destroyed] only by that clear-sighted magnanimity that courageously expects and has confidence in the greatness of its own nature and by the grace-filled impetus of the hope of eternal life” (60).

    Resources on this topic:

    Josef Pieper (1986), On Hope, Ignatius Press, San Francisco. 

    C. S. Lewis (1953), The Silver Chair, HarperTrophy, New York. Passage read in this video can be found on pages 180-182.“The Virtue of Hope” live audio recording of lecture and prayer from an MPC school held in Wheaton, IL in 2019.

  16. Notes for The Virtue of Hope I: Humble Homo Viators

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    presented by Sarah Colyn

    This teaching considers the pilgrim nature of this life, and the temptation called presumption that is a counterfeit of hope. 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.

    Homo Viators

    To be a human being is to be a person “on the way” – Aquinas calls us homo viators.  

    I do not consider that I have laid hold already. Phil 3:13

    A place for us

    In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. John 14:2-3

    A journey of becoming

    By your steadfastness and patient endurance you shall win the true life of your souls. Luke 21:19 

    “Many of us prefer to stay at the threshold of the Christian life instead of going on to construct a soul in accordance with the new life God has put within” (Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, May 20). 

    Homo viators are virtuous

    Virtue is “the most a man can be,” the realization of our potential for being.  

    Virtue enables us to “perform excellent actions easily and joyfully, in a stable manner, with profound interior freedom, the freedom of the children of God” (Nault, The Noonday Devil, 77).

    His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence (virtue), by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue (excellence), and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 1:3-8

    Homo viators live in Christ

    Hope:  a steadfast turning toward the true fulfillment of our nature, that is, toward good.

    “Hope, as the lasting elevation of man’s being, cannot exist except from, through and in Christ” (Pieper, On Hope, 36).

    For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory.  2 Cor 1:20, ESV

    “We must not measure our spiritual capacity by education or by intellect; our capacity in spiritual things is measured by the promises of God”  (Chambers, April 20).

    Christ in you, the hope of glory.  Col 1:27

    Presumption

    Presumption is a fraudulent imitator of hope.  

    In presumption, a person thinks and lives as though they have already arrived.  

    Theological distortion

    Presumption abandons the paradox of Phil 2:12-13:  Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling for it is God who works in you.

    “We are not only saved by grace, we are paralyzed by it.”

    “The path of spiritual growth in the riches of Christ is not a passive one. Grace is not opposed to effort. It is opposed to earning. Effort is action” (Dallas Willard)

    Man-centered optimism/confidence

    Liberal moralism, Pseudo-religious activism, or the myth of human progress.

    Humility

    Humility reveals the limits of our possibilities.

    Resources on this topic:

    Chapter 15, “Restoring the Christian Hope of Heaven and the Grace to Persevere” in The Healing Presence by Leanne Payne.

    Josef Pieper (1986), On Hope, Ignatius Press, San Francisco. 

    The Virtue of Hope” live audio recording of lecture and prayer from an MPC school held in Wheaton, IL in 2019.

    Dallas Willard quotes can be found at:  

    https://dwillard.org/articles/spirituality-made-hard;

    Willard, Christian Herald (U.K.) 14 April 2001, https://dwillard.org/articles/live-life-to-the-full

  17. Notes for Healing of sense of being: A testimony

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    presented by Kim Jones

    This testimony gives us the privilege of understanding more of what it means to have, or lack, a

    solid ‘sense of being,’ and to witness God’s healing power at work in one unique and precious

    woman’s life. These notes contain the full text and reference for the scripture and quotations

    shared. At the bottom of the notes are resources for further exploration of this topic.

    “it is when the unbearable infantile feelings charge forward that we minister to the suffering

    inner child…Sufferers are at these times … back in the experience of abandonment with its

    associated feelings” (Payne (1991), Restoring the Christian Soul Through Healing Prayer, 110).

    “… we often find that the power to feel the pain is itself a vital part of the healing. The sufferer

    has repressed this heretofore and denied it precisely because it was so painful. But now he has

    to get it up and out. He needs to understand that, if he will stand in the cross and hurt, there is

    a place for it to go, an end to the pain. This seemingly endless pain is the way he gets in touch

    with and names the heretofore repressed grief, fear, anger, and shame, underlying his

    depression…” (Payne (1991), Restoring the Christian Soul Through Healing Prayer, 103).

    I will never leave you nor forsake you. Hebrews 13:5

    “Another lives in me. My spirit is one with His. That is my whole place. All else is raging around

    me and within me, but I can stand now, confident, and watch as God heals this part of me that

    is so wounded” (Payne (1991), Restoring the Christian Soul Through Healing Prayer, 71).

    Resources on this topic:

    Chapter 8, “Prolonged Healing of Memories: Abandonment Issues and the Repression of

    Painful Emotions,” Restoring the Christian Soul through Healing Prayer by Leanne Payne.

    Chapter 4, “The Search for Sexual Identity,” The Broken Image, by Leanne Payne

    “God’s Creative Power: Sense of Being and Well-Being” live audio recording of lecture and

    prayer from an MPC school held in Wheaton, IL in 2019

  18. Notes for Becoming the true self: A testimony

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    presented by Anjonette Baum

    This testimony invites us to witness the process of liberation from the prison cell of the illusory self and journey into the wholeness of the true self. These notes 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.

    “The compulsive, illusory self:  that center of pride, inferiority, fear and pain, the hurting, unhealed childish attitudes within.” (Payne, The Healing Presence, 87).

    O Israel, hope in the LORD, for with the LORD is unfailing love (or lovingkindness) and with him abundant redemption. Psalm 130:7

    “Your new real self will not come as long as you are looking for it.  It will come when you are looking for Him.” (Payne, Restoring the Christian Soul Through Healing Prayer, 32).

    Resources on this topic:

    Patterns and Characteristics of Codependency:  https://coda.org/meeting-materials/patterns-and-characteristics-2011/

    12-step support:  Co-Dependents Anonymous 

    Chapter 5, “The Identity Crisis According to the Scriptures, in The Broken Image, by Leanne Payne

    Part 2, “Incarnational Reality:  The Presence of God Within Us,” in The Healing Presence, by Leanne Payne

    God Within Us: Incarnational Reality and the True Self,” live audio recording of lecture and prayer from an MPC school held in Wheaton, IL in 2019. 

  19. Notes for God’s Creative Love: Being and Well-being

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    presented by Sarah Colyn

    This teaching considers the foundations of our existence, what Leanne Payne calls sense of being and well-being. 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.

    God’s creative power

          …the earth is full of the steadfast love of the Lord. By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, and by the breath of His mouth all their host. For He spoke, and it came to be; He commanded, and it stood firm. Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him! from Psa 33:5 – 9

    In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.  Gen 1:1-3

    In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.  In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.  John 1:1-4, 9-14

    God’s created norms for how we become persons

    Dynamic Cycle of Being:

    1.  Acceptance (dynamic input of existence)

    2.  Sustenance (dynamic input of essence)

    3.  Status (dynamic output of personal selfhood)

    4.  Achievement (dynamic output of work)

    In God’s design, our experiences in infancy set into us a solid sense of being and well-being; these inner resources can then carry us through the challenges of adult life.

    Disruptions of God’s ways

    Sources of disruption of the dynamic cycle include:  prolonged physical separation from mother/primary caregiver; emotionally shut out from her presence; rough or insufficient care.

    Reactions to disruption include:  

    Desperate and clingy orientation in relationship

    Remain disconnected and withdrawn 

    Core-level persistent depression or anxiety

    Enemies to the ‘womb of the spirit’ include:  physical or emotional illness of mother; hostility or breakdown between the parents; family life harmed by poverty, war, racism; medical issues for baby that causes prolonged separation from mother; misogyny (hatred of the feminine) that militates against the mother-baby pair.

    Healing and rebirth in Christ

    God has come down to us, taken on our flesh, and entered into our infantile experiences of suffering, abandonment, and rejection. He bore what we cannot so that we might have life.

    Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father, interceding for us that we might receive the gift of life.

    God is able to heal us:

    1. To take the unendurable edge off our mental suffering, always. What remains we shall bear with joy, finding our strength in the Lord.
    2. To the point that we shall be fruitful. Out of our inner being will flow living water for others.
    3. To the degree that we shall fully enter into our identities as children of God and heirs of Christ.

    Resources on this topic:

    Chapter 2, “The Understanding of Depressed, Melancholy, or Accidious Persons,” Clinical Theology by Frank Lake

    Chapter 4, “The Search for Sexual Identity,” The Broken Image, by Leanne Payne

    Chapter 9, “The Imagery Really Matters,” The Healing Presence, both by Leanne Payne

    God’s Creative Power: Sense of Being and Well-Being” live audio recording of lecture and prayer from an MPC school held in Wheaton, IL in 2019.

  20. Notes for The presence of God within us: Incarnational reality and the true self

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    presented by Sarah Colyn

    This teaching considers the maturity of soul that must be chosen and developed in those who take up their cross to follow Christ. 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.

    True Center

    And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. Ezekiel 36:27, Today’s NIV

    I pray that out of his glorious riches the Father may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. Ephesians 3:16-17, NIV

    The “home within” is the center in which we abide in Christ and Christ abides in us.

    The Illusory Self

    A false, mis-created center:  Living in the constellation of feelings and attitudes that belong to the old self holds us in immaturity and causes dis-ease.

    The illusory nature of evil:  “All that is evil and untrue has an illusory character to it… 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). 

    The construction of the illusory self:  built on the flawed foundation, “I will be my own;” supported by pillars of pride & shame, defensiveness, and bentness; a prison cell in which accusation and condemnation echo; aligned with other false selves through projection and co-dependency.

    Transformation:  Death, Life, & Spiritual Battle

    “Only the real ‘I,’ shedding its illusory selves, can draw near to God. In His Presence, my masks fall off, my false selves are revealed. I stand stripped and naked before Him. To continually abide in His Presence is to have one face only – the true one. To draw near to God, therefore, is to find the real ‘I’ as well as its true home, my true Center” (Payne, Healing Presence, 83).

    Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.  John 12:24

    Resources on this topic:

    Chapter 5, “The Identity Crisis According to the Scriptures, in The Broken Image, by Leanne Payne

    Part 2, “Incarnational Reality:  The Presence of God Within Us,” in The Healing Presence, by Leanne Payne“God Within Us: Incarnational Reality and the True Self,” live audio recording of lecture and prayer from an MPC school held in Wheaton, IL in 2019.

  21. Video Curriculum: Being and Becoming

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    These videos address human being and becoming, and how union with Christ opens the path for us to grow into whole, mature men and women. It is in Christ that we are able to shed our immature and diseased illusions and become our true selves. Through His creative and redemptive power, even those who were deprived of a solid sense of being and well-being can be born again. In union with Him we can grow in the supernatural virtue of hope and live faithfully as homo viators destined for eternal fulfillment in His presence. Each video includes a 20-minute teaching and a guided prayer. We recommend this series for home and church settings, both for personal study and to help prayer partners and small groups learn and grow together.

    Notes for each session include the scriptures referenced, any quotes shared, and a basic outline of the teaching. A printable version is included.

    The Presence of God Within Us: Incarnational Reality and the True Self 
    On Becoming: A Testimony of the True Self 
    God’s Creative Love: Being and Well-being
    Healing of Sense of Being: A Testimony
    The Virtue of Hope I: Humble Homo Viators 
    The Virtue of Hope II: Magnanimity Destroys Despair

    If you are using these videos as part of a church program, small group, or prayer cell, we’ve created a small group leader’s guide just for you!

    To contribute a financial gift in support of this video curriculum visit our donation page.