Those of us in the Orphaned Heart Ministries in East Africa and the U.S.A. have been writing a lot about the Orphaned Heart traits to help individuals understand the degree to which they suffer from this deep wound of the soul. A universal definition of “orphan heart” can not be found, but the definition from Shiloh Place Ministries is simple and gets to the point: “someone who does not feel they have a safe place of value in the heart of a loving father.” The key to the orphaned heart is that it is an emotional wound often resulting from the lack of love from a human father.
The ‘orphan spirit’ attaches to the wound of the orphaned heart and is present until the wound can be healed in an individual through the power of the Holy Spirit. The symptoms of the orphan spirit are seen in a heart attitude (how the heart feels) and as a mental stronghold (what the mind thinks from the input of these feelings). To have such a condition, a person would exhibit traits including independence, hostility, contentiousness, and no sense of home, belonging or of being a son.”
Those suffering from the orphan spirit think of themselves only as servants, performing duties, but not sons and daughters of the Father, the King of heaven and earth. They feel they must strive for all they have because they do not have the assurance of the great spiritual inheritance available only to sons and daughters of God the Father. Instead they try to get what they can for themselves and resort to competing, stealing, or begging. They also are afraid of intimacy because they have never been able to trust their human father and therefore, have never learned to trust anyone, even God Himself.
On the other hand, when we receive the ‘spirit of Sonship’ (or the spirit of Adoption) by entering the family of God the Father through the saving work of Jesus Christ on the Cross we receive the gift of eternal life. We begin to understand and sense that death is not the end. Jesus has gone before us to prepare a place for us. We are not afraid of death. In fact we look forward to the day we will be with Jesus in Heaven. We feel a sense of security and joy knowing we will be with the Father forever.
Clarification is important here: a person is not given the spirit of sonship simply because they have accepted Jesus as their Savior. It is a mature spiritual heart attitude. The wound of the orphaned heart must be healed first in order to receive the spirit of sonship, because this wound was the way the spirit of the orphan entered the person’s heart. It must be healed to have this spirit leave. In my belief, it is part of the life long sanctification process of the Christian walk well described by Paul:
For all who are being led by the spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!”
The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
(Romans 8:14-18 NAS)
Written by Janet Helms, Founder and Director of Orphaned Heart Ministries.
 Bruce Brodowski. My Father My Son: Healing the Orphan Heart with the Father’s Love. (Matthews, NC: Carolinas Ecumenical Healing Ministries, 2010), 65.
 Brodowski, My Father, 106.
 Brodowski, My Father, 119.