Deliverance ministry growing within Diocese

Megan Marley

When you hear ‘deliverance ministry’, what do you think of? A scene from The Exorcist, perhaps? A lay-led prayer session, commanding evil spirits in a possessed person?

The deliverance ministry within the diocese is not like these.

“It’s an unfortunate use of the term ‘deliverance’,” said John Harrison, one of the individuals involved. “There are deliverance ministries that are confrontational, but we are not that.”

The Unbound ministry is a way of prayer empowering individuals to live more fully in Christ through a healing conversion experience, by which the person acknowledges God’s love and authority over their life and rejects and dismisses the lies and tactics of Satan they’ve accepted. It formally finds its roots in an approach to deliverance and healing prayer developed by Neal Lozano, outlined in his book ‘Unbound: A Practical Guide to Deliverance’. Lozano, a Catholic, uses basic Christian language that any denomination can understand and use.

John and Penny Harrison, Northland residents and parishioners at Our Lady of Good Counsel, shared their experience in this ministry.

“The reason I am drawn to this is because it’s a non-confrontational deliverance ministry,” Penny said. “The non-confrontational aspect is you’re addressing the person and not the spirit—you’re listening to the person and their story, they are listened to. A lot of our training is about learning the skills of listening and learning about compassion, and how the Enemy tries to hide and the different ways we cooperate with the Enemy in allowing him to hide.”

The Harrisons are far from being Charismatic types typically associated with deliverance ministries, but definitely understand the concepts of spiritual warfare. Penny first heard of Unbound through a friend, and then again through a Catholic News Agency article entitled ‘Yoga: A Cautionary Tale’. After reading Lozano’s book, she wrote to the Bishop and received permission and support about two years ago to begin the ministry, and soon found nine lay-folk and priests in the area interested in being involved.

The Unbound process has Five Keys for the individual to follow along the path to deliverance:

  1. Repenting of sin and expressing faith in Jesus—“How do you trust a God whom you don’t believe loves you?” Penny said. “I believe lot of our sin and consequences of sin are hinged on that—we don’t really believe that God loves us, or that we’re loveable.”
  2. Forgiving oneself and others—“they learn about what forgiveness is and what it is not,” John said.
  3. Renouncing the lies, spirits and tactics of Satan—“You renounce the different spirits that you cooperated with throughout your life and you name and how you believed a lie that ‘you’re not pretty’, ‘you’ll never be any good’, etc.,” said Penny.
    “These are things that are said in moments of crisis…you go up to your dad and ask him for something and he just snaps. And whatever he says just lands on your soul and you believe it, and you live your life working out of this lie—you didn’t intend it, the Enemy used it for his own designs,” said John. “The Enemy sees the opportunity and repeats the lie and covers it over and over with scars, and undermines a person’s faith and identity as a child of God.”
  4. Taking authority in the name of Jesus Christ to dismiss the works of Satan in their life—“You command the spirits that you have named and the lies that you have bought to leave in the name of Jesus, through your identity as a child of God,” said Penny.
  5. Receiving the Father’s blessing in prayer—“The prayer team speaks a word of blessing over the person…when you renounce these things, they leave gaps,” Penny finished.

“It’s much like an examination of conscience,” John said. “This deliverance ministry is a process not a formula, because the Holy Spirit isn’t a formula…It’s a horizontal prayer ministry, person to person—members of the Body of Christ helping other members of the Body of Christ…the freedom a person achieves is their own, it’s not something we give to them—it’s something the Holy Spirit wants for them.”

They said that a person seeking deliverance may be experiencing feelings of helplessness, guilt, unforgiveness, worthlessness or rejection and resulting anxiety or depression (though actual possessions and serious mental illness can’t be helped)—“It’s helping people see through all these things, whether it’s forgiveness, or a lack of faith…to identify and put words to things that they may not have even seen outside of them that was affecting them,” Penny said.

When someone is interested in the ministry, Penny said that they are assigned to read the first nine chapters of Neal Lozano’s book ‘Unbound: A Practical Guide to Deliverance’ and then decide if they want to continue to meet and discuss the material and go through the workbook, and then possibly be prayed with at a later prayer session. The prayer session is mostly “a conversation with prayer” along the five Keys of Unbound ministry, with guided questions from a prayer leader and prayer support by an intercessor, and often an opportunity for Confession at the end. All conversations and notes are confidential, and prayer sessions always feature at least one person the same gender as the person seeking deliverance.

The lay ministry also has an eight-week course called the ‘Freedom in Christ Series’, featuring presentations, workbooks and discussions on the five Keys and what the deliverance process entails, followed by the opportunity for a retreat (if desired) that offers a deliverance prayer session and Confession. The series has been held at Christ the King and St. Peter’s parishes in Kansas City, Our Lady of Guadalupe in St. Joseph, and soon at St. Andrew the Apostle in Gladstone.

Deliverance ministry is not a substitute for exorcism in the case of real demonic activity, which only a priest-exorcist with the proper authority to command demons is able to address. However, a good number of cases brought to the diocese’s attention are sorted as psychological/physiological issues or needing deliverance prayers, rather than real cause for exorcisms. If there appears to be demonic manifestation, the person is sent to the qualified exorcist.

The next ‘Freedom in Christ Series’ will begin 1:30-3:30 pm October 6 at St. Andrew the Apostle parish in Gladstone, with continuing meetings October 13, 20 and 27 and a concluding retreat offered November 1-3 at the Franciscan Retreat Center in Independence if desired. Registration is $145, including workbook, materials and retreat.

To register for the ‘Freedom in Christ Series’ or for more information on the diocesan Unbound ministry, email For general information on Unbound, visit


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October 30, 2020
The Diocese of Kansas City ~ St. Joseph