Some of the issues people have overcome are anger, anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, perfectionism, and addictions. The addictions overcome are multiple such as alcohol, drugs, pornography, sex, food, shopping, gambling, excessive exercise, social media, video games, television & movie watching, and tobacco.
That said, I have also grieved to witness some people–who I am positive experienced breakthrough in Healing Prayer–later return to their former destructive behavior.
I knew the answer to their failure for some people was a lack of discipleship; after Healing Prayer, they did not go on to practice the disciplines of the Christian faith such as prayer, meditation, the hearing and study of God’s Word, fellowship, fasting, etc.
Yet, there were others who genuinely tried to pursue God through ongoing discipleship and still returned to their former brokenness. That had always been baffling to me. I now have a theory as to why those individuals failed.
To present my theory, I need to first give an abbreviated explanation of my beliefs regarding Healing Prayer; a detailed explanation is found in a series of previous articles that begin here.
As to the abbreviated explanation of my beliefs, as they relate to Healing Prayer, we begin with the following thought.
Properly administered Healing Prayer will create for a broken Christian, a non-threatening environment that makes it easier for them to have an encounter with the Lord. That encounter is often profound and it first spotlights a lie or lies the person has believed. They are next presented with God’s truth in regard to the lie(s). When people believe that truth and act on it, they experience the freedom they have not known.Don Mondell, CCLC
The “believe” portion is the awareness of a lie or lies they have believed, along with God’s truth regarding the lie(s).
The “act” part is what they need do in response to the truth revealed.
The needed “act” is most often forgiveness of whoever abused them in the past, and can also include accepting God’s forgiveness for their own failures, as well.
The process is essentially a revelation of sin and a response of repentance. When successful, this process frees a person from the power of the lie(s) they have believed, and that, in turn, allows them to proceed in the maturation of their faith through discipleship.
A bit more needs to be said in regard to the lie(s) a Christian believes.
The power of the lie(s) is that when believed, a person is sent down a path of deep emotional pain. The pain develops into a “bent” toward anger, anxiety, addiction, depression, perfectionism and/or low self-esteem. They then do what all creatures do when in pain; they seek relief.
Both the pain and relief sought is something that occurs nearly subconsciously & automatically; they usually do not ponder either. Typically, the relief they find becomes an addiction, which, of course, causes further issues.
The addiction doesn’t matter whether it is drugs, alcohol, sex, exercise, shopping, social media, gaming, workaholism, etc. What does matter is that it releases Dopamine, which is a neurotransmitter created in the brain.
Certain chemicals, such as Methamphetamine will cause not only Dopamine but also Serotonin & Norepinephrine, to flow in greater amounts, as well. The greater release of neurotransmitters is key because this activity creates in the body & mind a state of euphoria. Euphoria is an enhanced sense of well-being. That sense of well-being or “rush” dulls one’s sense of pain & discomfort.
The problem again for some Christians is that though they are set free, they then neglect to grow in their faith through discipleship. Eventually, that neglect can result in a return to their former captivity; that explanation I clearly understood. What I did not see was the significance of a missing component in their discipleship efforts.
Some, even though they may pray, attend corporate worship, read the Bible, etc., still fail. Why?
I think some people may falter and return to their former “broken” life habits, because the practices I just mentioned may not, for them, release Dopamine to the extent they have become accustomed.
Prayer & study can be cerebral activities. Those activities may not release Dopamine at all or the Dopamine released may not be the unnaturally high amount that they are used to receiving. Also, prayer can be difficult for many people, and Bible study, especially for those not intellectually gifted, may be quite challenging.
What I am saying is that these Christians may be free from their past compulsion(s), addiction(s), or poor habits, but—their brains are still accustomed to the dopamine release of their former lives—and they miss that effect, which causes discomfort and inner turmoil. What to do?
I am ashamed to say that after decades of performing this ministry, countless hours of prayer, training, research & study, I only now see what I believe to be the missing component. When I say “missing component” I refer to what it is that causes the failure for some who experienced successful Healing Prayer and then later returned to their former “broken” state.
The answer is a lack of personal (not corporate) deliberate praise to God.Don Mondell, CCLC
Why, for many people, does a vibrant worship service cause them to feel more “alive”? Is it always a supernatural encounter? Even if it is, what is happening within them physiologically? I believe it is a Dopamine release.
Now, I am aware that much happens within Heaven and the soul of a believer when they engage in praise; however, within the context of this article, I am speaking only about the potential physiological effect. The effect is euphoria, and it is Dopamine that causes the effect. Again, Euphoria is a condition in which the body feels good, and one has a sense that their problems are not so big after all.
Through both my past as an addict and through my counseling education & practice, I learned to recognize a brain flooded with Dopamine. From that experience, I know the release of Dopamine occurs within me when I am engaged in genuine praise & adoration of my God.
That said, a brain “up” with Dopamine will later “come down;” then the difficulties of life will be more easily felt. For a former “broken” Christian, even if they have labored to pray & study, but haven’t developed the discipline of praise, the temptation to former habits may be overwhelming. Their tendency will be to “white-knuckle” it, and that is seldom a reliable solution.
For praise, you do not need to be intellectually gifted or driven. You don’t need to know how to study the Bible. You don’t have to be in a fellowship with others. You can do it alone, and you don’t have to sing, dance, or play an instrument well. The quality is not the focus; the Lord is the focus and your obedience to His Word to praise God.
If you raise your hands and sing to the Lord, play your instrument to the Lord, or dance before the Lord, I believe Dopamine is released. Thus, a Christian who recently experienced the Lord’s deliverance through Healing Prayer needs to begin training to praise the Lord immediately.
I say a Christian who recently experienced the Lord’s deliverance through Healing Prayer needs to begin training themself to praise the Lord, not only for the sake of obedience to the Word but also for the following reason: stress is unavoidable in life. Why do I say this?
In their former condition, broken Christians incurred stress that formed due to their internal battle caused by the lie(s) they believed. The brain’s Limbic System interprets stress as pain and pain as a threat to one’s survival. In the past, they trained their Limbic System to seek survival by seeking relief from pain through unhealthy methods. If they now train their brains to praise God when the stress of temptations occur, they will experience a praise-induced, proper release of Dopamine.
Thus, their brain will learn to crave that Godly experience when the stress of temptation arises.Don Mondell, CCLC
I think it is helpful to consider my theory in this way. Trying to forget or block out a bad habit is a mistake; our brains are too smart to forget. The better method is to replace the Dopamine released by a bad habit with the Dopamine released by a good habit. Does this make sense?