“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will.” – Romans 12:2 (NIV)
OM workers share the message that Jesus changes everything. Many believers, however, struggle to experience total transformation in their lives, due to false beliefs they continue to hold onto. In Central Asia, one OM couple uses Transformation Prayer Ministry (TPM) to address painful parts of people’s pasts, identify lies they believe and provide freedom for their futures.
Simply put, TPM is “about finding hurting lies that we received in the past from a young age, and through prayer, we ask Jesus to tell the truth to the person,” explained Samal*, who leads the ministry with her husband, Miras*.
Samal, who first received TPM at a training in St. Petersburg, recalled the memory the ministry brought to mind: “I was in my home, maybe seven years old, and I was in the living room alone looking at the picture of my sister who passed away... I was crying and telling God that he made a mistake. He took the wrong person. I felt like I wasn’t supposed to live. I’m not worthy of living.”
That, Samal said, was the lie found in her memory. The next step in TPM is to pray for God to reveal His truth to the individual. “Then God talks to people,” Samal explained. “Sometimes people receive some verses from the Bible. Some people just hear His voice or feel His presence.”
Samal saw a vision.
“I saw the universe, like a cosmos, I saw the planet, the earth, all the planets and the sun, and I saw hands creating a baby in the mother’s womb,” she described. “Through that, I realised God was telling me that ‘I made you in your mother’s womb. I loved you in your mother’s womb. You were created. You were [worthy of] living.’”
After completing the TPM training in Russia, Samal and Miras, formed a little group in their country to study and practice the ministry. Then they presented the material to their Central Asian church leadership. The pastor’s wife received the ministry first. The pastor was interested, Samal noted, “but then when he saw the changes in his wife, he realised that this ministry really worked.”
At that point, he provided space for Miras and Samal to lead 13-week TPM courses in the church. From a woman left feeling helpless after her mother’s death to a youth leader hurt by his parents’ divorce to a woman struggling with a past abortion, Miras and Samal have facilitated a process of Spirit-led transformation for around 70 believers in their community.
According to the TPM website, “The purpose of TPM is that every believer become rightly positioned so they may intentionally and purposefully cooperate with what God is doing in refining their faith, renewing their minds and transforming their lives.”
TPM, which follows a seven-step process, begins by asking an individual to identity the emotion he or she is presently experiencing. However, in Central Asia, that request often presents a challenge.
“As [Central Asians], we never talk about our feelings,” Samal stated. “We grew up without hearing from our parents that they love us. They try to show with their actions, and they are caring, but sometimes you want to hear with words. When you have problems, you don’t talk about it. You don’t talk about your emotions.”
Therefore, people struggled to share what things they were feeling “because they couldn’t describe what that feeling is,” Samal said. When she and Miras started TPM courses in their church, they started giving participants a list of feelings in Russian and in their Central Asian language. “Some feelings we can say in Russian because we hear it on the movies and we hear it on TV, but in [our language], we don’t know it because we never talk about it.”
Miras tries to use TPM as part of mentoring younger men. He also sees value for Christian leaders who may be leading thriving communities of Jesus followers but struggling privately. One local leader told Miras about his relationship problems with his wife and his spiritual burn-out. “I preach, but I don’t believe for God to work,” the leader admitted. “If [TPM] is helpful for me, you can try it.”
Miras and Samal plan to meet with the couple individually and, hopefully, lead them through TPM. “This is a very good couple, their ministry is very good, but you aren’t thinking what happens inside,” Miras shared. “He’s a very good man, but has so much wrong thinking, so many bad feelings.”
Pray that believers in Central Asia would find freedom from the lies they have internalised. Pray that Miras, Samal and others would be able to effectively use TPM to help Central Asians become thriving followers of Jesus.
*Name changed for security
Nicole James is a world traveller and writer for OM International. She’s passionate about partnering with believers to communicate the ways God is working across the globe.