George's HealMyLife book
- a manuscript in process on Listening Prayer Therapy
Just copy this page into Microsoft Word, edit and comment, and e-mail to me:
© George Hartwell, May 2011 Commercial use prohibited.
Habits are hard to break. Addictions are even harder. According to the Apostle Paul sin patterns are also hard to break. "The good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice." Romans 7:19. Changing life patterns that are sinful, habitual or addictive is difficult.
Something like alcohol addiction does not yield easily to our determination, effort and education. We call it an addiction because we discern that we are up against a stronger force than our mind and will.
One method that has been helpful in dealing with addictions is the 12 Step programs. Even 30 day residential treatment programs for alcoholism, introduce those they are treating to the AA program.
Did you know that one's first step in these programs is to admit out loud that one's life is out of control? Even long time sober members of A.A. humbly introduce themselves as alcoholics.
Humility is displayed when someone goes to a counselor or to someone for prayer ministry. We are admitting that we need help. We may even sense that we are helpless to overcome our addiction. We are dealing with a force strong than ourselves. Our best efforts have failed.
The second step is to turn our lives over to Power higher than ourselves. This is where the expression, "Let go and let God" comes from. In Listening Prayer Therapy, we will establish Jesus as the one to take over what is out of control in our lives.
We who seek life transformation and who facilitate it need a deep unshakeable confidence that God is our Healer and, ultimately, only God can heal our lives. That means that when we are dealing with habits, sins and addictive patterns that we confidently turn things over to God. We know and believe that with God all things are possible.
I interpret the fact that Jesus died for my sins, to mean that Jesus had to die for my sins. If Jesus had to die for my sins, it must mean that I cannot overcome sin with my own effort, will power and mental ability. Sin is as hard to break as a bad habit or an addiction. It has force and momentum that, on our own, we cannot overcome.
Secular therapists normally provide insight, guidance and support to the client. However, more is needed it we are to discover life transformation from the inside out. The insight, guidance and support provided in regular counselling does not translate into significant life change.
In life transforming prayer therapy our goal is to see significant life change as soon as possible. To provide this the facilitator must move the session from talk therapy to prayer therapy. How else can we get God's life transforming power at work to help change what we cannot change on our own.
The first thing I need to do is find the issue that will be the focus of the prayer therapy. I review the information I have heard to find the main topic for the prayer therapy. If that is not clear then I may ask the client what area he or she wants to focus on. If it is not clear to either of us then we may pray to God for clarity.
We use listening prayer. The words might be, "Father, we are asking for guidance through your Holy Spirit as to the focus of this session." Then we may have a one-minute time of silent listening to tune in to what is coming to mind. Taking little pauses to listen, to atune to God are characteristic of Listening Prayer Therapy.
Once the main topic is agreed upon we turn directly to the next step which is declaring in prayer that Jesus is Lord, Savior, Healer and Deliverer of the problem area that is to be the focus of the session. Jesus is the 'power higher than ourselves' that we are turning to.
I call this step the "Jesus Proclamation." With the Jesus Proclamation, we get put Jesus in charge. We let go of our control and let God have control.
This is the step where we will establish Jesus as the one to take over what is out of control in our lives.
We do this aloud by declaring Jesus is Lord, Savior, Healer and Deliverer of their chosen problem area. The "Jesus Proclamation" puts Jesus in the driver's seat. The client humbly admits that this area is out of control, may even have confessed it as sin, and now acknowledge his or her need for God's healing, saving, delivering power to deal with this problem area.
It is important to note that I do not do all the praying in Listening Prayer sessions. My client takes responsibility for their life by praying aloud in their own words. The "Jesus Proclamation" is one of the prayers that I want my client to put in his or her own words.
However, I need to listen carefully as my client prays aloud. I listen for the very natural tendency to ask Jesus to help us with the problem rather than to be fully in charge. This wording reflects the need to be in control. However, for Life Transformation, we want Jesus to be in control.
It needs to be clear that we have declared Jesus to be Lord of this problem area in the client's life. That is what "Jesus is Lord" means. I cannot proceed with a wording that leaves this ambiguous. It needs to be clear.
When a person says, "Lord, help me with this problem," I fear that they are still in control; that they did not put Jesus in charge of the problem. If Jesus is helping then we are still in charge and that means that Jesus is not.
We need to give up control by declaring Jesus Lord of the problem. We will need to do that prayer over again until that is clear. Since only God can heal our life and we cannot, we need Jesus to be Lord of this problem and of healing our lives.
I always choose to clarify this issue when the client prayer was not clear. Do they really want Jesus to be in charge of this problem or not? To do this, I ask my client, "Do you want Jesus to help you with the problem or do you want Him to take over to bring complete healing of your problem?"
Jesus told us that blessed are the poor in spirit. When we say, "Lord Jesus Christ, you take charge of this problem," we confess our poverty of resources. With humility we say, "I can't fix this" and turn it over to God.
Step back and take hands off
When Jesus is Healer then we are not and we do not need to strain to make our prayers for healing heard. God is the healer not our prayer effort. That is true of prayers for both physical and emotional healing of others and ourselves. We need to step back, relax and let Jesus be Healer.
Before you pray for healing, it is helpful to acknowledge with humility that healing comes from God, and not from you. Our prayers are not the source of healing; God is. I have heard this called stepping back and taking hands off - a humble stance that says it is not all about me.
When you are ready to put your problems under new management, proclaim "Jesus is Lord" of your problems. This must be a heart-felt letting go of control and putting Jesus in charge. A little miracle happens when we let go of control and let God be God. That little shift gives God permission to act. Heaven begins to move on our behalf.
Jesus, himself, is our answer. Not just what he does for us, Jesus the person. He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. If you want Him to be your Way, your Truth and your Life then you must position him as such. You do that by proclaiming: "Jesus is Lord, Saviour, Healer and Deliverer of my life."
You can use the Jesus Proclamation to release control of problem areas of your life and put Jesus Christ in charge by confessing that you have been holding on to control of this area and by releasing control and declaring the Jesus is Lord of this area.
Health. If you want Jesus to bring you to health, then declare Jesus to be your Healer and Saviour and Lord of your body.
Oppression. If you want all the influence of dark powers to be gone, then you declare Jesus to be your Deliverer. Praise Him who has all authority in heaven and on earth.
Marriage. If you have trying to change things in your marriage or in your marriage partner, then release control of your marriage and your partner to God.
Worries. Anything you are worried about can be a topic for letting go of control, turning it over to God, declaring Jesus as Lord of your area of anxiety and then turn your focus onto God.
You are invited to read and comment on early version of George's
HealMyLife book - a manuscript in process on Listening Prayer
Therapy. Just copy this page into Microsoft Word, edit and
comment, and e-mail to me:
Print off for personal use only. Do not publish. © George Hartwell, Mississauga, Canada, 2011
George Hartwell M.Sc. is a Christian counselor with a masters degree in clinical psychology, 30 years experience and who integrates prayer therapy into his counseling practice.
To learn all About George or his professional practice see: George's Professional web site, Christian marriage counselling, Christian phone therapy, and Christian Marriage Retreats.