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In Conversation with Loren Sandford

 

Pneuma Review: What was it like growing up in a household where your parents had such a distinctive ministry? Please tell our readers about your own journey and how you came into prophetic ministry.

R. Loren Sandford: There were strong positives and strong negatives. It wasn’t just that the ministry was distinctive, but that it was also pioneering in three areas (the charismatic movement in general, inner healing and the prophetic) not well understood or received in the early days. This drew persecution both from the local congregations my father pastored and from the wider body of Christ. As children (I’m the eldest of their six) we felt it and were deeply wounded by it. It drew a lot of energy from our folks which often left them with a deficient awareness of how it affected us. Those were lonely years for me at a time when I was really too young to understand or process what was coming at us.

John and Paula Sandford

After working in pastoral ministry for more than twenty years, John and Paula Sandford (Loren’s parents) founded the Elijah House (ElijahHouse.org) in 1973. Authors of more than a dozen books, they have become widely known for their counseling ministry and teaching on family living, inner healing, and prophecy.

Understandably, I didn’t like the church much and spent a lot of time fighting my calling as a pastor before I finally surrendered. The Lord had to enable me to forgive. He then planted a miraculous love for the church and its people in my heart. Meanwhile, my father entered into his prophetic calling at a time when there were no mentors to teach him any kind of balance. Experimentation and searching often led him into blind alleys and created unnecessary trouble. Somewhere in my own heart I reacted by deciding never to be unbalanced or crazy. This served to suppress the prophetic senses the Lord had naturally endowed me with.

The turning point came in 1988 when John Paul Jackson prophesied over me in a pastors’ meeting that my own prophetic calling was not my father’s calling and that the fear of my father’s calling had kept me out of my own prophetic destiny. I began to pay attention to things I simply “knew” in ways I cannot describe. Even so, twenty-five more years would pass in a dark night of the soul designed to crush and break me to conform more to His image before I came into what has now unfolded. I began to realize that I had so often been right when others had been wrong. While much of that error was born in dreams, visions and mystical experiences, I just knew things in my spirit. It wasn’t until about five years ago, however, that the Lord told me clearly to put myself on the line and go public with the things I was hearing from Him in that simple rational knowing.

Character formation and wholeness are everything.

I should say that good seminary training in exegesis and sound study helped greatly to filter personal feelings and experiences and to keep the word clean. I’m not infallible. We’re fresh out of Jeremiahs and Isaiahs, but I’ve been pretty accurate over the years.

 

Pneuma Review: What kind of experiences does the Lord use to train and mature the truly prophetic person?

Sandford: Character formation and wholeness are everything. These can only be accessed through what Paul described as, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me” (Galatians 2:2). In Romans 12:14-15 he called us to, “Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled.” There must be a dying before there can be a resurrection. This is more than positional. It’s a real experience that more often than not involves some pain.

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Category: Spirit, Summer 2011

About the Author: R. Loren Sandford is the eldest son of John and Paula Sandford, widely recognized as pioneers in the charismatic renewal, prophetic ministry and inner healing. A graduate of Fuller Theological Seminary, Loren has been in ministry full time since 1976 and is the founding pastor of New Song Church and Ministries in Denver, Colorado. As well as traveling internationally as a conference and seminar speaker, he is the author of numerous books, including: Burnout: Renewal in the Wilderness (1998), Purifying the Prophetic: Breaking Free from the Spirit of Self-fulfillment (Chosen, 2005), Understanding Prophetic People: Blessings and Problems with the Prophetic Gift (Chosen, 2007), The Prophetic Church: Wielding the Power to Change the World (Chosen, 2009), Renewal for the Wounded Warrior: A Burnout Survival Guide for Believers (Chosen, 2010), Visions of the Coming Days: What to Look for and How to Prepare (Chosen, 2012), and Yes, There’s More: A Return to Childlike Faith and a Deeper Experience of God (Charisma House, 2015). Married since 1972, he and Beth have two daughters and one son who have collectively given them nine grandchildren. Loren is also a member of the Osage Nation, a Native American heritage he deeply treasures. rlorensandford.com Twitter: @pastorrls

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