Friends in Fellowship

Friends in Fellowship – PtP Prayer letter – May 2023

Dear Friends,

Several of you have joined us at the PtP Silver Jubilee Thanksgiving Service and celebrated 25 years of its fruitful ministry. This month PtP completes 26 years. On June 1st, we begin our 27th year. We have served Churches, Christian Institutions, NGOs and the community at large. I ask, “What is the Lord telling us as we step into another New Year?” And it is tempting for me to think in terms of programs, projects and finances. And God being our helper, we will. But I believe, God primarily wants us to prioritise three things:

PtP must be a sacred space where people are invited and encouraged to worship God. Jesus said, “My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations (Matt. 21:13).” Prayer is looking up to God by depending and trusting our loving Lord Jesus. It is earnestly seeking His intervention in all situations of our lives. It is also giving up independent ways of doing things and start living in God-honouring ways (Mark 14:36). PtP seeks to help people to do this through counselling and training counsellors. In this way we would like to provide a sacred space where people can ‘pray’ unhindered.

PtP must be a safe space where people find acceptance and affirmation. No matter how affected, damaged or abused people are, they will find a safe space and pluck courage tobecome vulnerable before the Lord and receive His healing. We do so by coming alongside others to regain their faith like Jesus did with Cleopas and His companion on the road to Emmaus; like He offered a safe space to a seeking Nicodemus (John 3:1-2);or a rejected Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1-10). PtP offers confidentiality for anyone to share their most delicate issues and find resolution. People feel safe at PtP.

PtP must be a sunny space for people to grow basking in the love of Christ. We are not a church but those who do counselling training courses with us over an extended period feel we are a community of like-minded brothers and sisters. They feel a sense of acceptance, freedom, and a sense of belonging (Acts 4:32a). They seek counsel from one another, support each other in prayer and share resources. Since pandemic the community has become pan India and even international. We see individuals and even families growing in a new way.

We thank PtP friends for making PtP a sacred, safe, and sunny place whether physically or virtually.

Yours in Christ,
Dr. Samson Gandhi

Friends in Fellowship

Friends in Fellowship – PtP Prayer letter – April 2023

Dear Friends,

I just came away from an intense Holy Weekend. For some, it would have been 40 days of
lent too. No matter what spiritual approach you take to life or the denomination you come from it is imperative that we examine our walk with the Lord at regular intervals.

Meditating on Jesus washing the feet of His disciples on Maundy Thursday, seven utterances on the cross and the powerful resurrection on Easter has left me overwhelmed with the love, power and greatness of His salvation. When I asked the Lord as to what my response should be, He reminded me of two important points.

One, the salvation that we take for granted was worked out by Christ at a great price. The son of God came down to empty himself, suffer every form of pain and shed His blood to die on the cross. I have been purchased at a great price. I do not belong to myself but to God; my body, soul and spirit belongto Christ. Therefore, I must glorify God in my whole being. I cannot pollute my lungs, poison my body with substance abuse or give in to gluttony. Or corrupt it with sexual immorality of pornography, sexual indulgence or adultery. All my senses must be consecrated to Him for holy living (1 Cor. 6:19,20).

Two, the great salvation that was so freely given must not be neglected. We tend to cheapen anything that comes free. When we do that, we begin to neglect it. Our neglect is seen clearly when God is not part of our discussions, desires, and decisions. Examine how you spend your time, talents, treasures? Are they prioritised for God’s kingdom? If we live a life of this world while paying lip-service to God, we are neglecting the great salvation. The author of Hebrews has a stern warning that we will not escape God’s anger if we neglect His salvation (Hebrews 2:1-4).

Let us examine if the sacrifice of God has led us to glorify Him in our body, soul, and spirit. Allow God to show us in what ways we are neglecting His salvation and work out our salvation with fear and trembling (Phil. 2:12).

Yours in Christ,
Dr. Samson Gandhi

Friends in Fellowship

Friends in Fellowship – PtP Prayer letter – March 2023

Dear Friends,

They say that when we go to the doctors with a health issue, we must be honest and share all information related to it. Information to questions like, “Where does it hurt?” “How badly does it hurt?” “How long have you had this pain?” “Does anyone else in your family have this condition?” “Do you consume alcohol?” “How much and how often?” so on and so forth. Only when he has complete and accurate information can he treat the disease effectively.

Sometimes, the doctor can ask seemingly unrelated questions but nevertheless important. Usually, when they can’t find anything wrong with the body, they suspect a psychological problem. They ask questions like, “Are you worried about something?” “Are you sleeping
well?” “What is keeping you awake?” When they are sure that it is a psychosomatic problem, they refer you to a psychologist/psychiatrist.

Take that advise seriously and talk to a wise counsellor who is trained. They can help you deal with a number of emotional and psychological problems. If you are open to looking at your problem from a spiritual perspective, seek out a godly, trained counsellor. Guilt, fears and anxieties are quite often rooted in misbeliefs, faulty thinking and unrealistic expectations.

Jesus Christ came into this world full of grace and truth. He said, “You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free” (John 8:32). His grace can address our guilt for He has paid the price. The word of God says, “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are
in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). A godly counsellor who has experienced such a freedom from lies and liberation from bondages will be able to communicate “grace and truth” to you. It will be quite therapeutic!

A trained counsellor also knows when medical intervention is needed. He would urge you to see a psychiatrist. It is not unspiritual to see one. Make sure you do that without fail at the earliest. There is no taboo attached to it. Medicine is part of His healing.

Yours in Christ,
Dr. Samson Gandhi

Friends in Fellowship

Friends in Fellowship – PtP Prayer letter – February 2023

Dear Friends,

One of the attitudes that God looks for in His children is a deep dependency on Him. We find many instances of people who showed such a sterling quality – Joseph, Daniel and his three friends, David, Abigail, Mary and the list is long.

However, king Ahaziah stands as a warning to all of us (1 Kings 1:1-17). He looked to BaalZebub, the god of Ekron to know if he would recover from his serious injury. Very human to
want to know if we will get well and how soon. King Ahaziah did not ask another medicine man but enquired of a god of Philistines in Ekron. When he enquired of Baal-Zebub, he professed faith that Baal-Zebub had the knowledge of his future. He ignored the true living God at best and at worst he rejected Him.

How many times we place the opinion of doctors, engineers and so called “well-wishers” above the clear teaching of God in the Bible? We conveniently ignore God. We take shelter under expert opinion even though the Spirit of God is wrestling us to obey Him. Then when things go wrong, we question God as to why He had not stopped us?

But the hero of the story is the third captain of fifty. He had a better heart than king Ahaziah. He saw how the God of hosts had destroyed the first two captains and their fifties. He trembled, humbled and pleaded for the life of his fifty and himself. The Lord had mercy and spared their lives. But the Lord not only spared their lives but preserved them. If the captain and his fifty had gone back without Elijah, they would have been most probably killed by king Ahaziah. But God sent Elijah with them and executed judgement on king Ahaziah. The captain showed faith. God rewarded him with life.

May God give such an attitude and faith to all of us.

Yours in Christ,
Dr. Samson Gandhi

Friends in Fellowship

Friends in Fellowship – PtP Prayer letter – January 2023

Dear Friends,

There are several mysteries in our faith, don’t you think?

  1. CHRISTMAS: God became man and still be God and not avail of any immunity or strength afforded to God. Jesus was born to Mary – Spirit born to flesh! Mystery…
  2. RESURRECTION: Jesus, God incarnate died! A mystery. Rose again in flesh! We do not know if Jesus was in flesh before He was born on earth. But we will see Him henceforth in ‘flesh’ that is no longer restricted by material. Mystery . . .
  3. CHRIST IN US, THE HOPE OF GLORY: Jesus not only forgives but is willing to inhabit us to give victory over sin. Being lead by the Spirit is a mystery . . .
  4. When hatred turns into love, rejection into acceptance, grabber becomes a giver, murderer a mentor, addict an achiever . . . some call it transformation and others a miracle. I prefer to see it as a mystery of God.

God beckons us to enter into His work of mystery and be in awe of Him. But some of us demand that God become a professor and offer rational answers to spiritual mysteries and then offer applause of approval.

Many children have enjoyed the mystery of Cinderella turning into a beautiful girl and a pumpkin turning into a chariot to take her to the ball. A child is captivated by the mystery and is transported into the world of beauty and wonder. It does not even occur to a child to spoil that joy with ‘silly’ questions. But adults will never be able to enjoy such stories if they look at them through rational lens.

Did Jesus not say, “Unless you become a like a child you cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven?” (Matthew 18:3; Luke 18:17). May God give us grace to become more of a child in 2023.

Yours in Christ,

Dr. Samson Gandhi

Friends in Fellowship

Friends in Fellowship – PtP Prayer letter – December 2022

Dear Friends,


The first thing we have to do

is to notice

that we’ve loaded down this camel

with so much baggage

we’ll never get through the desert alive.

Something has to go.


Then we can begin to dump

the thousand things

we’ve brought along

until even the camel has to go

and we’re walking barefoot

on the desert sand.


There’s no telling what will happen then.

But I’ve heard that someone,

walking in this way,

has seen a burning bush…*

(* Author unknown)

Christmas is Goodnews for those who are on their pilgrimage – a journey taken to experience God. Their thirst is quenched even at the streams in the deserts. For others it is mostly an experience of glitter and glamour. They feel thirsty no sooner the show gets over. If you have Christ, you have everything – a song in your heart, a smile on your lips, joy in your eyes and a spring in your step. Nothing comes close this side of heaven. Wishing you a ‘pearl of great price’ moment during this Christmas! May God give you grace to let go of the ‘camel and the burdens’ and have a ‘burning bush’ encounter in the New Year!

Yours in Christ,

Dr. Samson Gandhi

Friends in Fellowship

Friends in Fellowship – PtP Prayer letter – November 2022

Dear Friends,

Every economist worth his salt is predicting a world recessionbut is bankrupt for ideas to avert it. Every environmentalist is crying hoarse about crippling climate change but it is falling on deaf ears of world leaders. No sociologist is raising a red flag at the runaway moral decay crept into the societies. And Psychologists are busy normalizing the pain of broken lives and relationships. Sadly, no spiritual guru is giving a clarion call to return to God and be reconciled to Him through Jesus Christ our Lord! No wonder the world is talking about the need for mental health more than any other thing.

God is not unmoved. He has raised many leaders and institutions to comfort His people. PtP is one of them.

When PtP started 25 years back, it had a vision given by God to train Christian Counsellors for the church and community so that those who put their trust in God and obey Him in their lives will be able to experience the abundant life promised by Jesus Christ! It was crazy to talk about counselling ministry when everyone was talking about evangelism. Some even tried to ‘counsel’ me. But visionary leaders saw beyond the present and supported my vision. Today, all individuals and institutions involved in evangelism are talking about counselling.

God raised PtP for such a time as this and we rejoice in it.

Join us in thanking God as we celebrate the Silver Jubilee on 26th& 27th November 2022 at Hyderabad. We celebrate each one of you who is a part of PtP ministry.

Yours in Christ,

Dr. Samson Gandhi

Friends in Fellowship

Friends in Fellowship – PtP Prayer letter – October 2022

Dear Friends,

Death is not a very pleasant topic to discuss. And I am not offering any apologies. Involved as we are in counselling, we are all familiar with this reality of life. But how we perceive it matters. Here, I wish to reflect with you on what death meant and means in the life of Jesus Christ – the Saviour of God come to die for you and me.

Jesus started His ministry at 30. He taught how to live, healed the sick, delivered those possessed by the evil spirits and raised the dead. He also trained a few to do the same. He also performed some miracles like walking on the sea of Galilee in a storm, feeding the multitude and turning water into wine and averted some crises. Compare these blessings with what came after Jesus died.

The sacrificial death (perfect sacrifice) of Jesus Christ (and his resurrection) gave us free access to God the Father – no more sacrifices, no more earthly priests and no more rituals to receive God’s mercy. His death (as a peace offering) brought us forgiveness of sins by faith in Him. His sinless death enabled God to impute the righteousness of Jesus to us. His death made possible for us to not only enjoy abundant life but also eternal life. We have an inheritance in heaven. We can become people of love instead of hate; givers than grabbers and all because of the grace that is ours because of His death.

What would you rather have? The blessings of here and now or the blessings of hereafter? A smart child would say both. The wise Teacher would say, “My child the road to the blessings of hereafter is via death. I died. But now it is your turn to put to death in you what is not mine. Begin your ‘Christian Discipleship 101’ by carrying your own cross and follow me.” You will be surprised that any hardship here is nothing compared with the joy that is set before us in heaven (Luke 9:23-25; Hebrews 12:1,2). When by His grace, we have learnt to put to death our carnal nature, we have nothing to fear, even death itself.

Yours in Christ,

Dr. Samson Gandhi

Friends in Fellowship

Friends in Fellowship – PtP Prayer letter – September 2022

Dear Friends,

Jacob is distraught that he has to let go Benjamin. Only then could his other children secure food for Jacob and all other children. This is the same Jacob who saw angels ascending and descending at Bethel. Jacob wrestled with God and struggled with men and prevailed. But now he and his family are facing a grim prospect of perishing in the famine (Genesis 42).

Quite unknown to Jacob or his sons, Joseph is their saviour in Egypt. Bible scholars also tell us that Joseph is a ‘type of Jesus’ a foreshadow of the coming Saviour. Joseph suffered as a slave and a prisoner but raised to be head of Egypt, next only to Pharoah. The whole world was at his mercy for food to live. Even Jacob and his sons were to bow before Joseph in fulfilment of the dream he had as a boy.

Jacob and his children were saved by trusting this saviour. These were the words of faith of Jacob: “Take your bother also, and arise, go back to the man. And may God Almighty give you mercy before the man, that he may release your other brother and Benjamin. If I am bereaved, I am bereaved (Genesis 43:13-14).” All in!

Even Esther uttered similar words of faith: “If I perish, I perish (Esther 4:16).”

I wonder if we would ever face such moments in life. God give us faith to remain faithful in peace times so that we may be ready to act in His grace when the adversary rises against us. The times are evil. May we know that His grace is sufficient. At all times.

Yours in Christ,

Dr. Samson Gandhi

Friends in Fellowship

Friends in Fellowship – PtP Prayer letter – August 2022

Dear Friends,

God was always gracious. He was graceful when Adam and Eve rebelled. His plan was full of grace – He made garments for them to cover their shame (Genesis 3:21); He promised them that He would take away the guilt and shame of their sin and the sin of humanity (3:15).

The grace of God was fully revealed in Jesus Christ. It is His grace – free and unmerited – that brought us salvation (Ephesians 2:8-9). The grace of Jesus Christ, the salvation in our lives gives us that special ability to live the life He expects from us. One of them is to live authentic lives. We don’t have to fake it.

We find it difficult to live authentic lives because we want to please people and not God. We fake it before others; we think we can fool people and impress them to gain that recognition and relationship. We buy large houses, big cars and go on lavish vacations to exotic destinations even when we cannot afford them. As a result, we fall into debt, live in perpetual anxiety and end up all messed up. Sometimes, even our sacrifices are paraded to please people (Matthew 6:1-4). Our foolishness catches up with us and we become a public shame.

Grace of Jesus Christ invites us to live before God and be pleasing to Him. Before Him, we need not feel inadequate, ashamed or guilty. He will cover us with the righteousness of Christ. We can live honest lives; feel the contentment He gives and hear the affirmation we need. You can be like the thief on the cross who said “Remember me when you come in your kingdom.” Or you can be like the rich young ruler – very religious but in love of pleasing himself and others rather than God. The thief found the grace of God. The rich young ruler turned his back on it. What is your choice? Will you live before God, receive His grace and grow in love? Or live a life before people, fool yourself with strategies to impress them and end up being sorry for yourself? Ask God for the grace to make a wise choice.

Yours in Christ,

Dr. Samson Gandhi

Friends in Fellowship

Friends in Fellowship – PtP Prayer letter – June 2022

Dear Friends,

PtP celebrated 25 years of ministry in Christian counselling. We had a small group of PtP friends in Hyderabad attend the Thanksgiving Service to mark the occasion. Hopefully, we will have a larger get-together later.

I feel much like St. Paul when he wrote to the church at Corinth pointing them to three important things (1 Cor. 3:5-17). One, that Jesus is the foundation. The salvation work of Jesus Christ set in motion healing of the poor and broken-hearted, freedom to the captives and sight to the blind (Luke 4:18).There is no other foundation to such personal and individual ministry of counselling. This healing work of Christ is the heartbeat of PtP’s training courses.  Many who have taken our courses, including Christian psychologists and psychiatrists, have gone away with a conviction that the Spirit of Christ in our curriculumis unique (1 Cor. 10 & 11).

Secondly, if the wonderful Counsellor is our foundation, then how do we build on this foundation? To build on the foundation is first an honour and a fearsome responsibility at the same time. I believe that two points emerge. One, that we must never forget that we are fellow-workers with God (9). So, we build along with all whom the Lord has brought to us – godly board members, competent facilitators, sacrificial donors and volunteers and a committed team.  And they are precious stones because love and grace make them into ‘gold’ and‘silver’, and ‘precious stones’ (v12). They are living stones breathing the Spirit of Christ. Each of them lovingly and patiently but competently sows seeds in the field and builds them up. As Paul exhorts, we must take extreme care not to hurt or exploit (defile) those that entrust themselves to our training and counselling.

Lastly, there is no room to take personal credit. God will reward according to our labour, and our labour is not in vain (1 Cor. 15:58).

I have no idea what the next 25 years are going to be like. But building on the foundation of Christ and with gold, silver and precious stones is a non-negotiable.

Yours in Christ,

Dr. Samson Gandhi


Save the Soul of India – A Mental Health Priority

Dr. Samson Gandhi

Where there is no counsel, the people fall;

but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety. Proverbs 11:14

Covid 19 Pandemic has taken the world by surprise. It has exposed the inadequacies of a modern world. In the face of an onslaught by an invisible virus, humanity finds itself helpless, hopeless and worthless. No known drug is effective. The highly trained medical fraternity is reduced to care-giving to assist the bodies to heal on their own.  They watch helplessly those that do not recover and die. Vaccine is far away. There is no hope today. All success and achievement seems meaningless when one cannot prevent sickness and dying especially during a pandemic. More people are asking existential questions – what is the meaning and purpose of life? Unable to find meaningful answers, they want to go back to doing what they did – to eat, travel and work, even if it means running the risk of getting infected. Naturally, the problem of mental health gets compounded.

“Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.” – U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Anxiety of the future, fear of loss, disease and death are setting people on the edge. As a result slightest provocation is pushing them over the precipice. The media is calling attention for relief and recourse.

Globalisation and urbanization has uprooted people from their comfortable social settings and planted them in urban jungles leading to loss of identity. Under pressure to create an identity and facing an acute lack of proper support system, people are facing extreme stress and are experiencing severe loss of mental health. The current pandemic has exacerbated the problem and the country in not in a position to address the mental health tsunami.

In India, mental health is a luxury. More than 22 percent of our population lives below the poverty line which is a hand to mouth existence. Their mind is preoccupied with finding the next meal. Emotional, psychological and social well-being are alien to their existence. They exist on the fringes where neither the government nor the non-government agencies make a difference. Lower middle, middle and upper middle class constitute over 60 percent of our population. They have time and space to reflect if they are happy or not and make an effort to find a semblance of well-being. Many agencies operate here but are woefully inadequate. They are a significant drop in an ocean of need.

Although more than 150 million people need therapy, only 30 million seek help. The main reason is because of scarce resources and lack of accessibility. We have about nine thousand psychiatrists in India. It roughly translates to 0.75 psychiatrists per lakh. While the desirable figure is three per lakh. There is a deficit of 75 percent. We need about twenty thousand clinical psychologists but have only a thousand. There is an acute shortage of mental health professionals. Even if the government increases seats they are in no position to address the growing need in the short run.

There is an urgent need to train Community Counsellors (CC). These are para-mental health professionals who are trained to assess the level of need and interventions. Those that need psychiatric treatment, would be referred to psychiatrist and those that need intensive therapy to clinical psychologists and for specialized therapy to appropriate psychologists. The CCs will take on cases where the services of none of the above specialists are needed. This raises the question of their training.

CCs would need training in communication and counselling skills of relating, attending, listening, empathizing and confronting.  They should be encouraged to develop client friendly attitudes of respect, genuineness and concreteness. They could be trained in client-centred approach of counselling, emotion focussed counselling, solution focussed counselling and CBT to a certain degree. They must have a basic understanding of human personality. At this stage they can pick electives and specialize. Marriage & Family, Parenting, Debt, Emotional Wellbeing (depression, self-harm, suicide), Abuse and Domestic Violence, Grief, Crisis are a few of them.

Trained CCs can then be put into a practicum program under counselling psychologist. On satisfactory completion of the same they must be certified as Community counsellors who are para-counselling professionals. Like any other professional practice they must be committed to Continuing Professional Development (CPD) and remain under professional supervision of senior CCs or Counselling Psychologists.

 Once they are certified, based on their interest and specialization, they can be attached to or placed at the Primary Health Centres (PHC), District hospitals, Mandal Revenue Offices, National Disaster Response Force, District Collectorates, and all state and central government departments. Wherever people are likely to experience distress, a trained Community Counsellor must be made available. Educational institutions, universities, sports complexes and all coaching centres must have a certified CC.

The government and the local community must create a positive eco system to seek counselling. There is a lot of stigma attached to receiving counselling. Counselling must be made a positive, constructive part of the social welfare programme of the nation. A narrative must be built, influencers roped in and all elderly must be encouraged to become catalysts of  nation-building.

Development of infrastructure is good for commerce. People prosper. Government makes a massive investment in economic development for material improvement. Some investment is made into health sector. But the time has come for the government to look at mental health in a whole new light. It is important for government – central and state – to consider making a policy decision to create a mental health vertical for the emotional well-being of its people. It calls for investments to match the scale and proportion of the need.

India is a very religious country. It carries a massive spiritual capital accumulated over millennia.  It must not be forfeited; it must not be sacrificed on the altar of economic development. India can be a shining example to the whole world if it can set right priorities. India has placed a smart phone in many hands. It has come in handy for commerce, entertainment and education. But they do not know how to harness it for the well-being of their souls. Pornography on phones is corrupting millions of souls. More than 275 million people were lifted out of poverty in the past decade. But today India must listen to the cry of the soul of more than 300 million troubles souls. They need a shoulder to cry on, a listening ear to pour their heart out, and some light of hope in their despairing soul. An army of certified and caring Community Counsellors is the need of the hour. If we don’t address the millions will lose their soul. If people lose their soul, India will lose her soul!

Jesus said, “What does it profit a man, to gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” It still begs for an answer.


Safe Forms Of Meditations For Christians


“A thing of beauty is a joy forever”, said John Keats. There is a beauty of the body and a beauty of the soul. Both capture our attention and we must work to preserve them. Just as physical exercise promotes health of the body, meditation can nurture a soul. When we perceive our body “as the temple of the Holy Spirit” and seek to slake the thirsts of our soul with the “living waters” of God then we enter into a spiritual realm. It implies that we are surrendered to the Lord Jesus Christ and He sustains our spirit, soul and body. Practicing meditation in such an eco-system of God is safe.

The stresses of digital-world living, small and big crises and the effects of a pandemic have forced us to relook at how we cope with them. Eating well, good exercise and positive thinking have been traditional suggestions. But in recent times, meditation has captured our imagination. Today, the market offers many forms of meditations. So many that people are confused, doubtful and even fearful whether any of them expose a practitioner to spiritual forces. This pamphlet does not deal with such forms of meditation but offers safe Christian forms of meditation.

All medieval forms of meditation have religious roots with a primary objective of drawing closer to God and realising more of Him in one’s life. Desert fathers and mothers during this period have dedicated their lives for practicing Christian meditation. Hesychasm and Jesus prayer are two such practices. They are expanded later in this pamphlet. But contemporary forms of meditations have sought to make them physical and psychological, and delinked them from religious roots.

Description: Popular mediation forms for christians, Lecto Divina, Clare of Assisi Four-step approach to meditation and Hesychasm.

Popular mediation forms for christians

Among the many forms of meditation, the popular ones are:

 – Origins in Buddhism, focus on thoughts, here and now,

 – Religious origins, focus on scripture, object, God-connection

– Focus on breathing, prayer beads, listen to gongs, candle light

 – Yoga, walking, gardening, other gentle forms of motion

 – Repeating scripture, like Om, Kalma, Rosary, etc.

 – Use of mantras with magical and spiritual powers

 – To reduce tension in the body by relaxing muscles

 – Receiving and giving love to all people and living beings

 – Achieving calm by visualizing positive scenes and images

Meditation is a discipline. As a practice, “an individual uses a technique of focusing the mind on a particular object, thought, or activity – to train attention and awareness – and achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm and stable state.” Christian meditation – In Latin, meditari Form of prayer: Christian meditation is a form of prayer in which a structured attempt is made to become aware of and reflect upon the revelations of God. It focusses on specific thoughts (such as Bible passages), and reflecting on their meaning in the context of the love of God. Meditation is for obedience: The Bible mentions the words meditate or meditation 23 times. 19 times in the Book of Psalms itself. Meditation is often found alongside obedience indicating the purpose of meditation to be obedience (Joshua 1:8). Meditate on the Life of Jesus: Christian meditation is looking back on Jesus’ life and thanksgiving adoration of God for his action in sending Jesus for human salvation. Such a looking back is based on the word of God. It has three distinctive features:
  1. Christian meditation is grounded in the Bible. God revealed himself personally in the scripture and our engagement with him is based on it
  2. It responds to the love of God as in 1 John 4:19: “We love, for he first loved us.”
  3. The above two lead to the worship of God: making Christian meditation an exercise in praise.
Holy Spirit aids us: The role of the Holy Spirit is to help the meditator to understand the deeper meanings of the Word of God. One 12th century monk believed that when earnest meditation begins, the Holy Spirit enters the soul of the mediator, “turns water into wine” and shows the way towards contemplation and better understanding of God.  Charles Spurgeon affirmed it by saying that when we meditate on the word of God, the Holy Spirit will help us to ponder his message rather prepare it. The Spirit searches all things, even the deeper things of God (1 Cor. 2:10). Three types of meditation: Vocal prayers are basic forms of communication in a relationship with the Triune God. A deeper form of prayer is meditation. The third and even deeper characterization of prayer is contemplation. During the Middle Ages (5th to late 15th century), Christianity moved beyond vocal prayers to Christian meditation. Progressively they resulted in two distinct and different practices: Lecto Divina in the West and hesychasm in the East. Three Forms of Meditation
  1. Lecto Divina
Lecto Divina refers to the “divine reading” or “spiritual reading” of the scriptures. It is not like we read a newspaper – reading only headlines and the news of preference. Not like a novel jumping to the climax as and when you want. ““But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation”” (Romans 10: 8-10). The recitation of the biblical text that provides the rationale for Lecto Divina. ‘Pray and work’ was the motto of Benedictine monastery. Their day consisted of liturgical (corporate) prayers, manual labour and Lecto Divina – a quiet prayerful reading of the Bible. While following these four steps Holy Spirit must be our guide. The one who inspired the Word must now guide our meditation.

Guigo’s book The Ladder of the Monks offers four stages of methodical prayer.

  1. Lectioread the word of God
  2. Meditatiomeditate (think) on the significance of the text
  3. Oratio – then respond in prayer which leads to
  4. Contemplatio – to contemplate (the gift of quiet stillness in the presence of God)

Seek in reading and you will find in meditation; knock in prayer and it will be opened to you in contemplation — the four stages of Lectio Divina as taught by John of the Cross (16th Century).

Lectio Divina has been likened to “feasting on the Word”: first, the taking of a bite (lectio); then chewing on it (meditatio); savouring its essence (oratio) and, finally, “digesting” it and making it a part of the body (contemplation). In Christian teachings, this form of meditative prayer leads to an increased (experiential) knowledge of Christ. Lecto Divina uses different Scripture passages at different times. Scripture passages may be repeated a few times but it is not repetitive in nature.

Lectio (“reading”)

“These are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God (1 Cor. 2:9-10).”

Prior to reading of the word of God. Practice quiet stillness. “Be still and know that I am God (Psalm 46:10).” Sit quietly and in silence pray. Invite the Holy Spirit to guide the reading of the Scripture. Then as you read, open your mind to finding Christ in the passage being read. Read the chosen passage slowly and gradually, several times. Usually, a passage is read four times, each time with a different focus. If the passage is from gospels then Jesus could be primary focus. Then the disciples. Then the teaching. Then the place. Read by getting into the character of disciples of the person interacting with Jesus. Attentive reading can help achieve higher level of understanding.

Meditatio (“meditation”)

Here we meditate or ponder upon the text. The text is not approached as something to be studied but reverentially as the Living Word. We don’t look so much for the meaning of the passage as we desire the Holy Spirit to illuminate the inner or underlying message of it.

An example passage may be the statement by Jesus during the Last Supper in John 14:27: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give unto you.” A ‘study’ approach would see the context of the last supper to interpret it. One may study to see at what price this peace was wrought. But while meditating such approaches are avoided but one seeks to “enter that peace” and shares the peace of Christ. So, peace is experienced not so much by the study and analysis of it but closer communion with God. Similar other passages for meditation are: “Abide in my love.” “I am the Good Shepherd.”

Oratio (“prayer”)

Prayer is understood as dialogue with God, as a loving conversation with God who has invited us into an embrace. We speak to Him when we pray and we hear Him when we read the divine saying. Listening is as important as speaking to God. Listening to God prepares us better to utter the words to God. The more we listen to Him in reading of his word, the more we will encounter the Word, and our words to Him will be acceptable.

Contemplatio (“contemplation”)

Contemplation takes place in terms of silent prayer that expresses love for God. Contemplative prayer is silence. Words in this kind of prayer are not speeches; they are like kindling that feeds the fire of love. In this silence, unbearable to the “outer” man, the Father speaks to us in incarnate Word. In this silence, the Spirit of adoption enables us to share in the prayer of Jesus. “Holy Spirit is like a kiss of the Father to one who contemplates.”

  1. Clare of Assisi Four-step approach to meditation

Saint Clare’s method is more visual compared to Guigo II Lecto Divina which is more intellectual. Her approach has four steps:

Intueri (“Gaze on the cross”)

Words like ‘behold’, ‘look upon’ and ‘focus’ would give us more understanding as to what we could do as a step to draw ourselves from all that is around and start getting ‘centered’ or composed. Crucifix is a great focus. It must not be misunderstood as idol worship. It can be an aid to transport us to Calvary. Knowledge of related scripture can help us in finding ourselves at the foot of the cross and gaze upon Him along with John and Mary the mother of our Lord. Get into a receptive mode and ‘hear’ what Christ might say to you. Read Numbers 21:9; John 12:32; John 19:37

Considerare (“Consider”)

Jesus the Son of God come to the world as the Son of Man. How He emptied Himself. How He taught, healed and suffered for us. How He was rejected, mocked and crucified. He is interceding for us before the Father. He is preparing a place for us. He is soon coming to receive us. “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called the children of God! Read Philippians 2: 5-11; John 18, 19; 1 John 3:1(a).

Contemplari (“Contemplate”)

What does all that mean to me? What is expected of me? How do I receive His commission? How can I be His ambassador? How can I expend my life for Him? What change is God asking me to make? Read 2 Cor. 5:20

Imitare (“Imitate”)

Hear the words, “Go and do likewise.” Be the salt and light He wants you to be. ‘Wash the feet’ of (serve) fellow believers. Preach, proclaim and promote the gospel. Carry the cross. Read Colossians 4:5; Ephesians 5:15-17; Luke 19:23; Matthew 16:24-26.

  1. Hesychasm (practice of silence)

Hesychasm is based on Jesus’ saying (Matt. 6:6): “whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” It answers the question, “How do I pray unceasingly?” Read 1 Thessalonians 5:17.

Hesychasm in tradition has been the process of retiring inward by ceasing to register the senses, in order to achieve an experiential knowledge of God. (One who practices hesychasm is called as a hesychastic.) We are able to move from a prayer of and in the mind to prayer of and in the heart.

Hesychasm involves the repetition of Jesus Prayer also known as The Prayer: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” This prayer is believed to be a method of cleaning and opening up the mind (the Noetic Prayer) and after this the heart (the kardia Prayer). The prayer of the heart is considered to be the unceasing prayer that the Apostle Paul advocates in (1 Thess. 5:17). Also in Song of Solomon 5:2: “I sleep, but my heart is awake.” It reflects consciousness of God presence at all times.

The Jesus Prayer combines three Bible verses:

Christological hymn: Philippians 2:6-11 (verse 11: “Jesus Christ is Lord”),

Annunciation found in: Luke 1:31-35 (verse 35: “Son God”), and

Parable of the Pharisee and the Publican: Luke 18:9-14 (verse 13: “God be merciful to me a sinner”).

Jesus Prayer is not only for attaining humility, love, or purification of sinful thoughts, but rather it is becoming holy and seeking communion with God. It demands setting the mind apart from rational activities and ignoring the physical senses for the experiential knowledge of God. It is not a substitute for prayer, charity (loving generosity), repentance and fasting. Therefore:

  • The Jesus Prayer is, first of all, a prayer addressed to God. It’s not a means of self-deifying or self-deliverance, but a counterexample to Adam’s pride repairing the breach it produced between man and God.
  • The aim is not to be dissolved or absorbed into nothingness or into God, or reach another state of mind, but to (re)unite with God (which by itself is a process) while remaining a distinct person.
  • It is an invocation of Jesus’ name, because Christian anthropology (study of human as it relates to God)and soteriology (study of religious doctrines of salvation) are strongly linked to Christology (the study of Christ) in Orthodox monasticism.
  • In a modern context the continuing repetition is regarded by some as a form of meditation, the prayer functioning as a kind of mantra. However, Orthodox users of the Jesus Prayer emphasize the invocationof the name of Jesus Christ which would be contemplation on the Triune God rather than simply emptying the mind.
  • Acknowledging “a sinner” is to lead firstly to a state of humbleness and repentance, recognizing one’s own sinfulness.
  • Practicing the Jesus Prayer is strongly linked to mastering passions of both soul and body, e.g., by fasting. For the Eastern Orthodox it is not the body that is wicked, but “the bodily way of thinking”; therefore salvationalso regards the body.
  • Unlike “seed syllables” in particular traditions of chanting mantras, the Jesus Prayer may be translated into whatever language the pray-er customarily uses. The emphasis is on the meaning, not on the mere utterance of certain sounds. For example: Pronouncing Jesus in English or Yesu in Telugu would be equally valid.
  • There is no emphasis on the psychosomatic techniques, which are merely seen as helpers for uniting the mind with the heart, not as prerequisites.


Anyone may practice Jesus Prayer. It is not limited to Priests and Clergy. Laypeople, men, women and children can practice it. It would help to have spiritual guide. He/she may be certified or a “practical theologican’ (a person well versed in theology but without official credentials).

Stages in Hesychasm

  • Katharsis or purification – Pay attention and focus to the consciousness of the inner world and words of Jesus Prayer to reject tempting thoughts. The tempting thoughts are seen as thieves come to steal your cluster of grapes. Passionately pray unceasingly 24/7 to maintain sobriety (free of tempting thoughts) and overcome temptation of laziness. Particular attention may be paid to the eight passions: gluttony, fornication, avarice (love of money), anger, sadness, acedia (anxiety of the heart), vainglory and pride.
  • Theoria or illumination – The goal at this stage is a practice of the Jesus Prayer with the mind in the heart. He prays with meaning, with intent, for real. It is not mouthing of the words with the associated syllables and sounds but an invocation and an introspection. This stage is called the guard of the mind. His mind has a certain stillness and emptiness that is punctuated only by the eternal repetition of the Jesus Prayer.
  • Theosis or deification (union with God) – From the ‘guard of the mind’ one is raised to contemplation by the grace of God. Contemplation of God is experienced as light, the “uncreated light”. The “uncreated light” is identified with the Holy Spirit. Such a state is described as theosis or deification. It is not a state to be achieved or be in but an experience to be received whenever offered by God in His mercy and grace. One must return to catharsis and theoria.


Our meditation must be a loving response to the knock of God on the door of heart for a time of abiding fellowship. When Jesus the Light comes in the darkness in our heart is dispelled. In meditation, He will come in and sup (feast) with us. He will slake our thirsts so that the world will lose its hold on us. Living waters will flow from our hearts and our cup would overflow into the lives of our community. A ‘Safe Meditation’ format is given below.




Setting: Your personal and private space

Place: Study room, bedroom, living room, terrace, etc. (wherever there is no external disturbance). If in a room, door may be closed to avoid any disturbance.

Ambience: Well-lit, ventilated and not cluttered. The room must not have any strong odors to distract your attention.

Seating: Ideally, seated cross-legged on the floor on a comfortable mat, durrie, carpet or mattress. Sofa is also good. Back in a comfortable position and hands rested on your legs.

Second option: Seated, legs stretched out on the floor on a comfortable mat/dhurie/carpet/mattress. You may like to lean your back against a wall, or any other supportive surface. Back in a comfortable position and hands rested on your legs.

Third option: Seated on a comfortable chair/sofa. Back in a comfortable position and hands rested on your legs.

Time duration: 60 minutes

PREPARATION (3 minutes): Bring yourself to stillness. The idea is to bring your mind, body and spirit into quiet calm. Importantly, know that you are retreating from a busy world into God’s presence. You quieten yourself before you invoke the presence of God. The setting is not that God is waiting for you and you rush into his presence breathless and mind all cluttered. Helpful to recall: “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). You may like to listen to a soft instrumental rendering of the song: “Be still and know” by Hillsong. Songs are advised only if necessary.

INVOCATION (2 MINUTES): When you are still, invite God, call upon Him to receive you into His presence. To grant the favour of His presence. To give you the gift of His fellowship and communion to you. Like, you have set the place to receive the most important guest and have a great conversation and ‘meal’ with Him. (Only that He is not a Guest but the Lord of your life who desires to have an intimate relationship with you.)  Ask for Holy Spirit to guide you (Luke 11:33).

MEDITATIVE PRAYER (15 minutes): Pray the Lord’s Prayer (Luke 11:2-4) slowly deliberately and intentionally. At least two times. Four times is not uncommon. Normally, it takes 25-30 seconds to say the Lord’s Prayer in English. The second time slow it down to say it in 60 seconds. You can do this by pausing after each phrase. Like, “Our Father in heaven . . . pause . . . hallowed be your name . . . pause . . . your kingdom come . . . pause . . .” The third time if you want to increase it to 90-120 seconds, pause between each word.

The purpose of slowing down is to reflect on the meaning of the words of the prayer. Once you have slowed down to saying it word by word, you are ready to ‘meditate’ on the meaning and significance of the word. For example:

“Our”: Meaning: God is the Father of my spouse, my children and me. Significance: It is a corporate prayer, includes others, my relationships with Him is personal but not without others.

“Father”: Meaning: God wants me to address His as my Father. Significance: I am His child. I can be open and free with Him.

“in heaven”: Meaning: Heavenly Father, not earthly. Significance: Heavenly Father is loving, holy and faithful (many times earthly fathers do not measure up and are stumbling blocks for prayer).

Variations: Other suggested passages for this slot are:

A Prayer of Repentance: Psalm 51

The Song of Mary: Luke 1:46-55; It may take more than 15 minutes

The Song of Moses: Exodus 15: 1-17; You may like to divide it into parts: Exodus 15:1-5; 15:6-13; 15:14-17 and do one part each day.

MEDITATING ON BIBLE PASSAGE (20 minutes): Listen to what God is saying, conveying, feeling . . .

Here you can read the passage slowly and absorb the love, goodness and greatness of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. It is not a cognitive study of the scripture but receiving the love, mercy and grace of God. It is more about knowing (experiencing) God than knowing (knowledge) about God. Therefore, it is not a suspension of our mind but transformation of the same in the whole experience.

The passages are read slowly, reflectively and measuredly as illustrated with the Lord’s Prayer.

The Lord the Shepherd of His People: Psalm 23

David’s Praise to God: 1 Chronicles 29:10-15

Blessing and Suffering of the Godly: Psalm 41

Desiring God in the Midst of Trouble: Psalm 42

PRAYER: Respond to God based on what you have ‘heard’, felt and ‘received’ in meditation (10 minutes): You may like to kneel, stand or sit with your head bowed down.

Allow the Holy Spirit to prompt you to respond to what you have heard, felt and received from God. Utter – saying spontaneously, say it from the heart – your feelings and thoughts. Need not necessarily be a rush of words. They can be “groanings” (Romans 8:26). There could be just silences and pauses but they are with the Lord. The withness is important.

HYSECHASTIC PRAYER OR JESUS PRAYER OR THE PRAYER (5 minutes): “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God have mercy on me a sinner.”

Say this prayer repetitively, slowly, intentionally and meaningfully. As you say it mean every word of it and let the promptings of the Holy Spirit bring meaning and substance out of it. Slowly, let the prayer sink from the mind to the heart. Let it become your heart beat. Then it can become your “unceasing prayer” through the day and night and even sleep.

Say the hesychastic prayer sitting. A variation could be four postures:

When you say, “Lord Jesus Christ”: Look up, lift your hands to heaven in an adoration mode

When you say, “Son of God”: Bow your head, bring your hands down to shoulder level, with your palms facing ground in a worship mode or hands together in a ‘namasthe’ posture.

When you say, “Have mercy on me”: Bow from your waist with folded hands.

CLOSING MOMENTS (5 minutes): Make it a spontaneous prayer of thanksgiving, praise, petitions and intercession.


Setting: Your personal and private space

Place: Study room, bedroom, living room, terrace, etc. (wherever there is no external disturbance). If in a room, door may be closed to avoid any disturbance.

Ambience: Well-lit, ventilated and not cluttered. The room must not have any strong odors to distract your attention.

Seating: Ideally, seated cross-legged on the floor on a comfortable mat, durrie, carpet or mattress. Sofa is also good. Back in a comfortable position and hands rested on your legs.

Second option: Seated, legs stretched out on the floor on a comfortable mat/dhurie/carpet/mattress. You may like to lean your back against a wall, or any other supportive surface. Back in a comfortable position and hands rested on your legs.

Third option: Seated on a comfortable chair/sofa. Back in a comfortable position and hands rested on your legs.

Time duration: 40 – 60 minutes

PREPARATION (3 minutes): Bring yourself to stillness. The idea is to bring your mind, body and spirit into quiet calm. Importantly, know that you are retreating from a busy world into God’s presence. You quieten yourself before you invoke the presence of God. The setting is not that God is waiting for you and you rush into his presence breathless and mind all cluttered. Helpful to recall: “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). You may like to listen to a soft instrumental rendering of the song: “Be still and know” by Hillsong. If you are able to bring yourself to stillness quickly, you may stop using music.

INVOCATION (2 MINUTES): When you are still, invite God, call upon Him to receive you into His presence. Seek the favour of His presence and the gift of His fellowship and communion to you. Your setting of the place and your attitude is to receive the most important guest and have a great conversation and ‘meal’ with Him. (Only that He is not a guest but the Lord of your life who desires to have an intimate relationship with you.)  Ask for Holy Spirit to guide you (Luke 11:33).


Anglican Prayer Beads are a relatively new form of prayer, blending the Orthodox Jesus Prayer Rope and the Roman Catholic Rosary. The thirty-three-bead design was created by the Rev. Lynn Bauman in the mid-1980s, through the prayerful exploration and discovery of a contemplative prayer group.

The use of the rosary or prayer beads helps to bring us into contemplative of meditative prayer—really thinking about and being mindful of praying, of being in the presence of God—by use of mind, body, and spirit. The touching of the fingers on each successive bead is an aid in keeping our mind from wandering, and the rhythm of the prayers leads us more readily into stillness.

The prayer beads are made up of twenty-eight beads divided into four groups of seven called weeks. In the Judeo-Christian tradition the number seven represents spiritual perfection and completion. Between each week is a single bead, called a cruciform bead as the four beads form a cross. The invitatory bead between the cross and the wheel of beads brings the total to thirty-three, the number of years in Jesus’ earthly life.

Praying with the beads

To begin, hold the Cross and say the prayer you have assigned to it, then move to the Invitatory Bead. Then enter the circle of the prayer with the first Cruciform Bead, moving to the right, go through the first set of seven beads to the next Cruciform bead, continuing around the circle, saying the prayers for each bead.

It is suggested that you pray around the circle of the beads three times (which signifies the Trinity) in an unhurried pace, allowing the repetition to become a sort of lullaby of love and praise that enables your mind to rest and your heart to become quiet and still.

Praying through the beads three times and adding the crucifix at the beginning or the end, brings the total to one hundred, which is the total of the Orthodox Rosary. A period of silence should follow the prayer, for a time of reflection and listening. Listening is an important part of all prayer.

Begin praying the Anglican Prayer Beads by selecting the prayers you wish to use for the cross and each bead. Practice them until it is clear which prayer goes with which bead, and as far as possible commit the prayers to memory.

Find a quiet spot and allow your body and mind to become restful and still. After a time of silence, begin praying the prayer beads at an unhurried, intentional pace. Complete the circle of the beads three times.

When you have completed the round of the prayer beads, you should end with a period of silence. This silence allows you to centre your being in an extended period of silence. It also invites reflection and listening after you have invoked the Name and Presence of God.

Closing your Prayers
The following ending can be used with any of the prayers in this booklet. After three circuits around the prayer beads, you may finish as follows:

Last time through:

Invitatory Bead
The Lord’s Prayer

The Cross
I bless the Lord.

(For step-by-step instructions please visit:



1Repeated use of mantrasNo use of mantras, only scripture as prayers
2Impersonal consummation with the BrahmanHeightens the personal relationship based on the love of God that marks Christian communion
3Focus on self and lead by technique or spiritFocus on Christ guided by the Holy Spirit
4Concentration on the physical aspects “can degenerate into cult of the body” and equating bodily states with mysticism “could lead to psychic disturbance and at times, to moral deviations.”Fasting at times is recommended but not mandatory. Spiritual in emphasis that has positive effect on thoughts and emotions.
5Self-consciousness, stillness and self-emptying or emptying of the mindDialogue of love, a process in which movement is from ‘self’ to the ‘you’ of God
6Achieve thoughtlessness, trance, higher consciousness, bliss, etc.Achieve communion with Christ; listen to the voice of God; realize the love of Christ. Ecstasy is incidental.
7Blurs the distinction between good and evil and creates the mindset that “we cannot condemn anyone and nobody needs forgiveness”Reaches for clearer revelations of Christ the Way the Truth and the Life.
8People are encouraged to follow enlightened masters.Only be led by the Spirit of Christ.
9Characterized by achievementCharacterized by receptivity
10Can lead to practices of the occultWithin safe boundaries of the scripture

PTP News Bytes – Feb 26 2019 – Stress


PTP News Bytes – Feb 26 2019 – Stress

You can now learn from anywhere in the world and at anytime you want, through the flexibility of our online courses. Do away with the constraints of time and space by signing up to our E-learning courses. Just find a quiet spot with your laptop, tab or mobile phone and log into the our online program.
Listen to video lectures, browse through accompanying notes, test yourself with quizzes and prepare and take the assignments.
Eligibility for the course is a minimum age of 18 years and proficiency in the language offered.

Online Courses in Christian Counselling from Person to Person

Introduction to Biblical Counselling

The IBC online course includes 12 lessons, delivered to you in four formats of Video Lessons, Reading Notes, Lesson Quizzes and Lesson Assignements. The course is intended to train lay counsellors and will take a novice through topics such as Biblical Basis For Counselling, Self Image & Self Esteem, Basic Skills for Counselling, Counselling model and Case studies.

Click Here To View Full Course

The Accredited Advanced Biblical counselling – Level 1 – Blended Mode training program is delivered in two modules :

An Online Module that includes 14 lessons, delivered to you in four formats of Video Lessons, Reading Notes, Lesson Quizzes and Lesson Assignments. This has to be taken up first.
A Classroom Module where those who have completed the online module have to enroll to and attend the classroom training in Hyderabad for three days.
The course is intended to equip participants for involvement in counselling ministry and for accreditation. 

Click Here To View Full Course

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PTP News Bytes – Feb 25 2019 – Suicide, Addictions


PTP News Bytes – Feb 25 2019 – Suicide, Addictions

Dear Friends,

In my spiritual journey, I felt good on many occasions. Going to a youth fellowship, participating in an “I found it” evangelistic campaign, going to a bible study, memorizing scripture, overcoming sinful nature (to some extent) and many other things gave me a great joy. Living a victorious Christian life had become a passion. Sharing some of the victories and finding encouragement in times of failures was comforting. In all this I realised that it was my effort to please the Lord. Occasionally asking God to give me spiritual steroids to achieve the ‘impossible” (Phil. 4:13).

My spiritual journey was a roller coaster ride. Thrilled, when I was gaining heights but scared when I was going down. I realised that I was chasing a perpetual high, an unfailing spiritual victory instead of God and His Presence; I was pursuing power instead of receiving it from the Lord; and I was running after projects instead of pursuing God-given purposes.

Moses asked to know God, know His ways and find grace. God said, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest (Ex. 33:13, 14).  Mary sought Jesus’ Presence over ‘ministry’ of Martha and received His affirmation (Luke 10:38-42). The Ark of the Covenant, the Presence of God gave Israelites their identity and strength (Joshua 3:3, 17).

Jesus said, “You shall receive power . . . (Acts 1:8). We tend to seek power even chase and try to grab it with both hands. But that does not go well with our God. Those that chase and grab power use it to their own ends. But they that receive power from God give it away to empower others. Joseph received tremendous power as the Prime Minister of Egypt. He realised it that it was from God and it was for the saving of many (Gen. 50:20).

Paul was completely on a wrong track when he was persecuting the church. He encountered Jesus on the road to Damascus. Paul the attacker of the church became the evangelist for the Church (Acts 9:6). He was told what he must do. He was directed to pursue God’s purposes. We may have a misplaced zeal and end up on a wrong planet. In the kingdom of God, it is dangerous to be on a mission without a commission.

Seek His Presence; receive His power; and pursue His purposes.


Dr. Samson Gandhi

To access the complete prayerletter online click the button below –

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Another Historic First For Person to Person


Another Historic First For Person to Person

Person to Person has had another historic moment this month. It’s not an achievement that we can stake claim to or a milestone that we had hoped to cross, but a tremendous recognition that the ministry received, for the work that it has been doing over the years.

St.Thomas SPG Tamil Cathedral, Hyderabad, threw open its doors to Person to Person in a unique and magnanimous way by appointing the Sunday of February 17th as PtP Sunday. They decided to step up their support to this ministry by taking up an offering for Person to Person. This, is a first for Person to Person.

Dr. Samson Gandhi has been ministering to the members of this church for the last 22 years. The church is blessed with a leadership that not only understood the dearth and the need of counselling in their congregation but also had the willingness to open its doors to a ministry that had the vision and the means to train counsellors for their church. The real joy was to see the exemplary shepherd of the church, Bishop Moses Ashirwadam, signing up as a participant to our training programs along with his wife.

With a mature leadership like this, it is perhaps not a stretch of imagination to expect that they would make efforts to strengthen their bonds with PtP, after vetting the ministry over the years. But since the time they told us about their intention to collect a retiring offering from their congregation for Person to Person, it has not ceased to amaze us.

God has done pretty amazing things through this ministry over the years and though there is hardly anything more rewarding than the joy of seeing relationships healed and restored, what the St. Thomas SPG Tamil Cathedral in Hyderabad decided to do for PtP last Sunday, was both humbling and exciting at the same time.

One would rarely expect that a kind thought in the mind of the Bishop, a gracious gesture from the church leadership and a resounding response from the church fellowship could be so overwhelming.

Irrespective of how much the retiring offering might have raised, this simple and sacred act, of the church coming together for a purpose, and reaching out to their fellow workers in the mission field, could speak volumes of the maturity of the faith and love they displayed, as well as send one into silent contemplation about how much the Church of Christ could accomplish together, if only we all stood with one another.

Dr. Samson Gandhi was also invited to share the word on God on the occasion. Mr. Noel Nicholes (Manager – Admin and Finance), shared about the ministry and calling of Person to Person.

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Training of Trainers Program – Event Report


Training of Trainers Program – Event Report

Person to Person’s Training of Trainers program, also known as the ‘Faculty Enrichment Seminar’ ended on an enthusiastic and upbeat mood, as participants completed their training modules and received their accredited certificates on Sunday, the 10th of February.

The three-day training program is aimed at fine tuning the training skills of those who are involved in training, teaching or preaching, or are planning to take them up on a regular basis. The training program is accredited by the Association of Christian Counsellors – South Asia.

As is the case of most PtP programs, the participant profile for the Training of Trainers program  was also diverse and included those who are involved in full-time ministry as well as those who are engaged in corporate or non-profit sectors; those who have had a prior relationship with the training institute as well as those who have never heard about Person to Person. A total of 19 participants from Hyderabad and other cities signed up for the program; the youngest being 19-years-old and the eldest, 59.

The program focuses on personal preparation, classroom dynamics, learning and teaching styles, learning objectives and lesson plans and communicating audio visually  and packs in practical workshops and micro teaching sessions.

The above collage is of the micro teaching sessions where each participant is asked to teach his peers employing the knowledge and skills he or she has been imparted. These sessions are also evaluated by their peers using an objective scorecard.

Sharing their feedback about the training program, participants testified about the validity of the course in the present day and about the competence of the facilitators in educating them and imparting those skills.

“…It’s always a pleasure to attend PtP programs, I get to learn so much here, and the faculty was excellent..” said Krishna Ayyar, a business consultant from the IT sector . “Also had a great time interacting with participants, which we do not get in a corporate environment; friendly interaction where we learn from participants and not just the faculty”, he added.

Attending her very first PtP training program Esther Sridevi said, “Heard about the PtP ministry and Dr. Samson Gandhi but was only able to put a face to it when I saw the brochure that was forwarded to me on Whatsapp. I have never taught to an audience like this, learnt so many things.. had the opportunity to be the MC for first time in my life… gave me confidence.”  Personally convinced about PtP training programs, Esther added that she is also planning to sign up for the Christian counselling courses and that she would also encourage her friends to sign up for them.

Emphasizing the importance of counselling in Christian ministry and recognizing the dearth of trained Christian counsellors in Indian churches, another participant J Ashirwadam, expressed that more Christians must come forward and get trained as Christian counsellors. Mr. Ashirwadam praised God for giving this vision to Dr. Samson Gandhi. He applauded the “well-seasoned, highly equipped and outstanding faculty of the program,” and appreciated “the coordination, love and affection of the PtP team for creating a professional yet family like atmosphere.”

Training of Trainers is the second accredited training program conducted by Person to Person in Hyderabad this year. For more information on our upcoming training programs refer our Events Calendar on our website.

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Training of Trainers Program Kicks Off in Hyderabad


Training of Trainers Program Kicks Off in Hyderabad

The much awaited Training of Trainers program kicked off at the Grace Communion Church today in Hyderabad. This accredited training program is catered to participants who have a passion to teach and are looking to sharpen their skills to teach, preach or facilitate. The course is spread over three days and will cover topics such as –
  • Personal preparation
  • Classroom dynamics
  • Learning and teaching styles
  • Learning objectives and lesson plans
  • And communicating audio visually, among others.
As one would expect, it is pragmatic in approach and comes with workshops and micro teaching sessions that participants can readily benefit from. “As always we have a good mix of participants for this PtP program as well. Out of the total 19 participants, 5 are women and 14 are men. Participants are from Christian ministry as well as from secular vocations.” said Noel Nicholas, PtP’s admin manager.

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PtP Launches Its First E-learning Program


PtP Launches Its First E-learning Program

Person to Person, on Friday launched its first e-learning program – Introduction to Biblical Counselling, in Hyderabad. The team did not choose to have a special event for its launch but rolled it out at the ABC Level 3 training program that is currently underway in Hyderabad.

“We thought it would be meaningful to do it here, during one of their tea breaks, and also give a small demo so the participants can take the news back to their church groups and let their friends know about it”, said Noel Nicholas, the Admin Manager.

The team had been working hard for many months now, to take the Board’s vision of offering some of the training programs through the e-learning mode.

Mr. Philip Dayanidhi, PtP Board member, and his wife Reupah were hands on in developing the video animations for the lessons themselves. They also provided their valuable feedback at every stage and along with few other board members, were part of the pilot project that audited the course before the launch.

Speaking at the launch ceremony, Dr. Samson Gandhi, the Executive Director of Person to Person, said “The Introduction to Biblical Counselling course, which is Person to Person’s basic course in Christian counselling is a tried and tested course, that has been offered to over 1200 participants across the nation so far, through the distance education mode”, and added that he is happy to launch it online.

Pastor Daniel Zachariah, the senior pastor of Grace Communion Church, Trimulgheri, prayed and asked for God to continue to enable the ministry and for the participants who undergo their training programs.

Cdr. J.P Moses, PtP’s board member, congratulated the PtP team and launched the online course.

Paul Yesudas, PtP’s IT & Media Manager gave a brief demo of the course and explained the registration process.

The course is now available online for an introductory price of Rs. 1000/-.

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Practice Generosity – Joy and Character Will Come Your Way


Practice Generosity – Joy and Character Will Come Your Way

Generosity is a spirit of life. It is not just a matter of giving away money and things, although that is a part of it. Our source of understanding generosity is neither Bill Gates nor Warren Buffet, although I have a great regard for them. Our template is God Himself as He is restoring His image in us. Christ in us is the hope of glory. He can empower us to be generous.

God is generous. He creates big, loves us lavishly and treats us like kings. He is building mansions for us; He will come and take us to heaven, personally. As He thinks of the whole world, He thinks of me. Though His mind is filled with mind-boggling concerns of the world, He is mindful of my little needs. God is generous in His details. His outlook is never sketchy.

The forgiveness of God made possible in Jesus Christ is the fountainhead of all generosity.

The forgiveness of God made possible in Jesus Christ is the fountainhead of all generosity. He paid the debt I could never repay. Wiped away the blot I could never erase. He is lifting me to heights I could never attain. None of this at a price but all freely given. Therefore, generosity is His initiative. When we experience such free-flowing grace, we become channels of His generosity. Jesus’ grace is the fountainhead of all human generosity.

Our generosity begins with forgiveness. We have tasted the sweet forgiveness of God given to us generously, freely and with no pre-conditions. Let us be generous in forgiving. When Jesus forgave the sin of the woman caught in the act of adultery (John 8), He did not even use the word forgive. When He said, “Go and sin no more” to her, nobody was there. When Jesus went into the house of Zacchaeus the Tax collector, there is no mention of a sermon on extortion or patriotism. His graceful and generous presence at his house even at the cost of criticism, condemnation and rejection by a section of the community was amazing.

We would be so awful if we were to expose a person before forgiving; if we were to make him/her feel miserable before releasing; if we were to forgive but bring it up again and again. When you forgive, do it generously. The only way we can do it is to see Jesus on the cross dying for our sins. Forgiving in love is the highest form of generosity. When our heart becomes light, our lips become gracious (generous) and hands become big.

Be generous in your appreciation. Offer compliments generously.

Be generous in your appreciation. Offer compliments generously. In Indian culture, appreciating one another and complimenting each other does not come easily. If we grew up without much appreciation, we will find it difficult to appreciate others. However, as we receive from God and begin to appreciate and compliment others, you will be surprised to see that what goes around comes back to you. However, I am not at all suggesting that one must flatter the other. Flattery is a deception. We must train ourselves to look at the bright side of every person and reflect a positive image to them. Make believing statements like, “I know you can do this.” Or “If I had my way, you would be in my team.” Or to someone young, “You rock!”

Let us be generous in small giving. There are so many places we interact with people who serve us. Bearers in restaurants, bell boys at hotels, parking attendants (where parking is not paid for), valet parking attendants, boys who carry groceries from the counters of a supermarket to your scooter/car, security guards at gated communities, auto rickshaw drivers and cab drivers are a few of them.

A cultural approach to this would be to offer a tip as a polite gesture. Leaving a decent tip for a good service is transactional. Verbal appreciation and decent tip would be a humane approach. But what would be a generous approach? If God has blessed you, and you are sensitive that all those that serve you struggle with poverty (at many of these places the employers just give them a meagre, nominal salary and expect them to survive on tips), then with a grateful heart to God can we leave a generous tip or offer a generous gratis to those that serve us? Such generosity does not wipe away their poverty but certainly lights up their heart, momentarily. For some, it is enough to face another tough day.

Most times, we are generous towards rich and stingy towards others.

Most times, we are generous towards rich and stingy towards others. When we are invited to weddings, anniversaries, birthdays and other social functions we tend to segregate our hosts and categorize them. To the rich we give expensive gifts and large amounts by way of reciprocation and sometimes to impress them. Probably, we think the rich will recognise us, return the favour in some form or the other and somehow we want to measure up to their status. I believe most rich people don’t care for the gifts but value your presence. If this is true then will a bouquet of flowers be sufficient?

When we are invited by those who are not rich, we are tight-fisted in our giving. We might give or spend just enough to reciprocate or as an obligation. However, when poor people invite us, let us be generous. They will not be able to return the favour and therefore your gifts would be purely out of generosity without any expectation whatsoever. Some people just send their gifts and not attend the function. Although your gifts may be generous, what will dignify your gift would be your presence. Sometimes our giving of gifts is also in the nature of “settling accounts”. We tend to ask, “What did they give us?” and “What should we be giving?” That is a ‘poor’ spirit of giving. It is difficult to be generous without a generous spirit.

For some of us, more than money, our space matters. Armrests in buses, trains and aeroplanes are a testing ground for our generosity. If you are in a middle seat, both the armrests are in question. In an isle or a window seat at least one armrest is yours. You could possibly share the common one but if it is contested be generous. Give up your privilege with a smile. Be generous. Remember it does not happen always.

Interesting things happen in church, too. Some members come early and occupy an aisle seat as they prefer it or more practically under a fan on a hot day. However, quite a few come late and must cross the aisle seat to occupy others. It is bad practice to come late, disturb the service and inconvenience someone who has come early. However, be generous. Slide and give space to the late-comer. Sometimes, the latecomers are more than the seats available in a pew. They expect the early comer to ‘adjust’. Be generous to leave the pew for their comfort and you find your own space. Go the ‘extra mile’.

More than money and space, what becomes more and more precious is your time.

As the Lord prospers you, you will come into money and comforts. More than money and space, what becomes more and more precious is your time. Jesus ceased from ‘ministry’ and spent time with His disciples. He invited himself to a supper at Zacchaeus’ house. He spent time with Lazarus, Mary and Martha. After an amazing resurrection, Jesus had time to have breakfast with his disciples, walk and chat with Cleopas and his companion. Can we be with people instead of doing things for them? Being generous in time with people is better than generous in things for the people. We will become a little bit more like Christ. After all He left heaven and came down to be with us.

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