Archive for September, 2010

Refer to Step 4: I choose to believe what God says about Himself: that He is good and can be trusted.


As the years progress,

I often hear people talk

About how much they trust You,

But their pronouncements seem like a fickle lover

With a self-serving agenda rather than a commitment.

Lacking substance or depth,

Their mellifluous affirmations seem to be

Pathetic and selfish, lacking substance.

Obviously, their loyalty has not been forged

By adversity and weathered by hardship.

Their trust seems shallow and juvenile,

Rather than strong, resilient and confident.

Believing that whining and demanding

Will gain Your favor instead of humility and agreement,

They come before You with hearts that are

Petulant and peevish, lacking gratitude.

I understand their perspective completely, Lord,

Having spent the decades of my life

Coming before You in precisely the same way,

Never understanding or admitting that

You know what is best for me better than I do,

And that You are God, and I am not.

Forgive my effrontery, Father. On my best day,

I am Your spoiled child, but Your child nonetheless.

I have foolishly thought that my way is better than Yours,

But it is not. Nevertheless, I have wanted My way,

Believing that when You have refused to grant it,

You were distant and detached—unloving and uncaring.

But I have been wrong about that—completely wrong,

Just like all of Your other immature children.

You do know what’s best for me and everybody else,

Regardless of what that might be.

As I bow my knee before You, let me say,

I am Yours to do with as You see fit.

After years of foolishness, I now understand my petulance.

I wish I had known it sooner,

But I lacked the maturity to do so.

Now, as wisdom has entered my heart,

I am led to acknowledge gratefully,

You give and take away;

You give and take away;

Blessed be Your name.

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Refer to Step 11: I make a commitment to nurture my relationship with God, asking Him to reveal His will to me and to give me the power to carry it out.


My spirit has been rejuvenated.

Even my step feels lighter,

As the burden of my past has been

Lifted from my shoulders.

Now free to walk into the future,

Unencumbered by guilt, shame,

And all of my self-defeating behavior,

I want life to have more meaning

Than the mediocrity that has become my routine.

The pursuit of valueless materialism no longer

Has the appeal it once had for me.

In fact, my definition of success has changed.

My spirit has been awakened and I want

To spend all of my days, which You have numbered,

Doing what You would have me do—

What You have prepared for me.

I’ve learned that I can understand Your leading

By looking back, far better than by looking forward.

Whatever You have in store for me, Father,

Regardless of what that might be,

That is where I want to spend my days.

Having wandered so far from You in the past,

I know what I am capable of doing—

Of who I am capable of being,

And it is not what I want for my life .

Father, guard my heart so that

I do not wander away from You again,

Pursuing fruitless, meaningless endeavors.

Let my heart rejoice in Your ways

And give me peace each day for as many as I have left.

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Refer to Step 10: I choose to believe God still has a purpose for my life—a purpose for good and not evil.


Having been used, abused, and discarded,

By those who insisted they spoke in Your name,

But most certainly did not,

My self-worth has suffered significantly.

Having internalized the shaming charge,

Which my abusers have levied against me,

I have acted in ways contrary to my beliefs,

Which You have set forth in Your Word,

As well as in my heart and soul.

Having tried to run away from You for so long,

I now see how flawed my judgment has been.

Returning has required me to renew

My mind to look at life like You do.

Thank You, Lord, for enlightening me,

For revealing that You have good things

Planned for my life and not calamity.

At times, I still have trouble believing You—

Believing the validation You have instilled in me.

The stinging indictment of my abusers

Has found fertile ground in my soul,

And continues to resonate, telling me that

I am a person without value—without worth.

But, when that happens, all I need to do

Is come before You, Almighty God,

And listen to You tell me,

You are my child—loved and valued.

And I most assuredly have a purpose for your life.

Whenever you have doubts, come to me,

And I will remind you that you are highly-valued.

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Refer to Step 9: I humbly ask God to change anything He wishes, and I ask Him to heal my pain. Because God forgives us as we forgive others, I forgive my abusers.


Now that I’ve revealed myself completely,

Being as honest and forthright

As I know how to be,

Having also admitted my faults to another,

I want to humbly ask You

To change anything in me You desire.

You are Almighty God; and I am not.

I’m weary of trying to walk a path,

Which has not been directed by You.

To complete the process of purging

All that remains toxic in my soul,

I know I need to travel the final step as well.

I release those who have been abusive to me,

Forgiving them totally and completely.

I have clutched my anger and bitterness

For far too long, and I have paid

A heavy price within myself for doing so.

Believing I was punishing them by being unforgiving,

I have only punished myself instead,

Which I now regret and no longer desire to do.

I forgive them—just as You have forgiven me.

I release them completely—just as You have released me.

Give me the strength to put my pain and anger behind me,

Father, allow me to walk into the future

Free from my debilitating encumbrances

To become the person You created me to be.

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Refer to Step 8: I will share my experience and my own wrongdoing with a trusted friend, confessing the exact state of my heart.


Now that I have spelled out

The exact nature of my behavior,

And have written it on paper,

I feel naked to the world and very vulnerable.

Just reviewing at it makes me feel

Relieved but also sorrowful and insecure.

Now that I have brought to light

My deepest, most intimate secrets,

I feel so exposed and fear rejection and ridicule.

Perhaps I will even be mocked by my confessor—

Just like I was by my religious abusers.

I know that’s not a realistic fear,

But just the thought creates apprehension and foreboding.

I know that You will forgive my self-defeating behavior,

But humans are rarely as generous as You, Father.

You’ll have to prepare the heart of my friend—

The one I have chosen to be my confidant.

When I reveal myself to that person,

I pray that Your love and acceptance will be

What I experience and not the condemnation

Of someone who is self-righteous

And cannot understand or accept me—just as I am.

Father, I have already worked so hard and come so far,

Help me to continue being vulnerable and forthright,

Which I know is Your will for me.

Stand with me, Lord, so that

I can boldly state the exact nature of my heart

With humility and not with timidity.

Heal all of the broken places, Father,

And relieve the burden of guilt I have been

Carrying with me all of these years.

Free me to walk into the future unburdened by the past.

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Refer to Step 7: I will make a detailed, written account of my abusive experiences, as well as my subsequent behavior. I commit to being as thorough and honest as I’m able.


I’ve come before You so many times,

To tell You about my life—

About my woes, heartaches and failures.

I come to tell You who I really am—sort of.

I want You to know me, but only from my perspective,

Which may not be an accurate picture.

I know that. That’s why I tell You

About myself in bits and pieces.

But now that my situation has become

Too much to bear—too much to shoulder;

I’m forced me to be honest—to be forthright.

Until now, my admissions have been haphazard.

I’ve refused to consider that more was needed—

That a complete cleansing would be required.

As I continue on my road to recovery,

I want to unburden myself of all my shame,

All my guilt, and everything that enslaves me.

But to do so feels like a daunting task.

There’s so much there. I know it, and so do You.

Father, that’s why I need Your guidance so much.

Only You can help me be completely honest

With You as well as myself.

As I begin to journal my unvarnished inventory,

Give me courage to be thorough and transparent.

Give me the “grit” I need get it all out,

And the discipline to put it down on paper.

My insides churn as I begin this journey,

Because I’ve loved the darkness rather than the light,

Even though I pretend to all that I do not.

Father, without Your help, I can’t change a thing.

I know that but, with You empowering and guiding me,

I’m committed to be strong, courageous, and thorough.

Now, with Your help, let’s begin.

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Refer to Step 6: I refuse to become like those who have abused me and abandon my desire to spread malice because of my pain and my anger.


You know how badly

I have been mistreated

By those who should have fostered my welfare

But did the exact opposite—

Taking advantage of my trusting nature instead.

I’ve expressed my outrage and indignation

To You so often that I’ve lost count.

This affront has wounded my soul deeply,

And out of my pain, I know I have hurt others,

Which I’ve tried to justify but cannot.

I fear I have become like those who have hurt me,

Injuring others who are innocent—just as I once was.

Father, I acknowledge that I have done this,

And I am becoming a person I don’t want to be.

I don’t want to be like my abusers,

But if I am being completely honest, I know I have been,

Despite my insistence that I have not.

Forgive me, Father. Heal my wounds,

And restore gladness to my troubled soul.

As a conscious act, I choose to abandon

My self-serving ways, which have hurt others.

Despite my pain, anger, and disquietude,

I will stop spreading malice and enmity.

To make this a reality, Father, I will need

Your strength more than ever before.

Will You reach down and touch me?

Will You help me bridle my caustic tongue?

Will You keep my feet from stumbling?

Will You transform my wandering heart,

And keep it close to You?

Will You help me, Father? Will You?

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Refer to Step 5: I recognize that the only way back to a productive life is exactly the way I came. Therefore, I commit to repairing my relationship with God and making amends with everyone I have wronged along the way.


I have wandered so far from You—

From Your ways, from Your leading,

From Your purpose, and from Your love.

At first, it didn’t seem like such a distance,

But, over time, I have come to realize

My departure has been

Far greater than I ever imagined.

I know I need to return to You,

But now that I see the breach between us,

The way back seems so difficult.

In my reaction to having been wounded,

I have behaved in ways that have not only

Hurt me but many others as well.

I acknowledge this to You right now.

I’m so sorry for having wronged them,

Which I had no right to do.

I can see how wayward I have become.

As I begin my long journey back to wholeness,

I know that I need to make amends to those

I have hurt along the way.

It never occurred to me that I might have

Treated others in the same way I have been treated.

Just thinking about this makes me feel ashamed.

Father, I am so, so sorry for my behavior.

Forgive me, and restore me to those I have hurt.

Most of all, restore my relationship to You.

Help me learn from my egregious errors,

So that I never feel the compulsion

To drift so far from You again.

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Refer to Step 11: I make a commitment to nurture my relationship with God, asking Him to reveal His will to me and give me the power to carry it out.

Regardless of what you say, what you do speaks volumes about who you are and what you really believe.

Anything you can do in your recovery to do God’s will is your responsibility. When you do, it’s His responsibility to draw men to Himself—not yours. Lifting up the Lord is not promoting Jesus. Lifting Him up draws people to Him, which leads to a restored life. Pushing Him, regardless of how noble your intention may be, ultimately produces alienation. Attraction works—promotion doesn’t.

If you care for your fellow man; if you have compassion for abused people—for those caught in addiction, despair, and any acting-out behavior; if you routinely display the fruit of the Spirit; you are doing God’s will. By loving others selflessly, you are a witness every day of your life—whether you say anything or not. You just don’t realize it most of the time.

If your walk with the Lord is shallow, if your beliefs are simplistic, and if you are unwilling to have your faith challenged or questioned, your witness is weak, and the fruit you produce will not be full, rich, and satisfying. That’s why most people in recovery need to work on the fundamentals—walking in God’s leading and learning to love one another from the heart. It’s a strategy that will work every time, and it should  resonate within you and be freeing.

Instead of proclaiming that which is not strong in your life with bumper stickers, tee shirts, and canned three-minute testimonies, wouldn’t it be better to strengthen your faith and knowledge before looking foolish to everyone other than those within your cliche?

Work on the fundamentals, and everything will come in its time—not before. When your heart is better prepared, your fruit will be rich, positive, and lasting.

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Sometimes, life is so hard.

Doing the right thing seems easy enough,

Until it comes time to do it,

When dread of the consequences

Becomes an overwhelming concern.

Why can’t life be easier for me?

Why am I so special that my life

Is constantly filled with difficult situations?

Why can’t things go easily—just for a while?

Why me, Lord? Why me?

I don’t want to sound like I’m whining,

But I know that I am. I’m complaining

Because my shoes are too tight, while others cannot walk.

I know I should be more grateful,

But I need a respite from my pain,

From my despair, and from my sorrow.

There is nobody who can help but You.

The “Be warmed and be filled crowd”

Smile and offer meaningless platitudes,

As I try to nurse wounds that I fear will destroy me.

I want to serve You with gladness and joy,

But there is none in me—

Nothing that could sustain me for more

Than a moment at a time.

I don’t want to be a plastic automaton,

And pretend that everything is okay,

When I know things are dreadfully wrong.

My future is in Your hands,

My days, which are numbered by You,

Are passing before me, and it all seems

Like a terrible waste.

Intervene, Lord. Allow me to know

Joy and gladness  once more.

Fill my days with peace and prosperity,

So that I can tell other of Your faithfulness.

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Refer to Step 4: I choose to believe what God says about Himself: that He is good and can be trusted. I recognize that God is not the abuser; rather, people who misuse their authority are the abusers.


The wounds from my abuse run deep,

Creating shame, anger, and an

Overwhelming sense of worthlessness

That enervates every area of my life.

With my mouth, I deny that

This is how I see myself,

But in the recesses of my soul,

I wonder if my abusers are correct about me.

Maybe my life has little value, after all,

Precisely like I have been told.

At first, I was as angry with You

As I was with my abuser.

Being a person with spiritual authority,

I believed he spoke for You,

Which was certainly the clear indication.

In my heartache, it never occurred to me

That Your Son was also abused—just like me—

By hateful, self-serving religious leaders.

You allowed His abuse—just like you allowed mine.

What His abusers meant for evil, You meant for good,

And of Mankind has been redeemed by it.

Without His abuse, all would be lost

For everybody, and I know that.

Thank You for allowing such a tragedy

On my behalf, as well as for others.

Can You redeem what is left of my life,

And use it for something that has value

For You, for others, and for me as well?

Will You turn my weakness into strength,

And my broken spirit into something

That is joyful, substantive, and purposeful?

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Refer to Step 3: I accept that the responsibility for getting back on track is mine and no one else’s.


I don’t just think I’ve been wronged,

I know I have been wronged.

And You know I’ve been mistreated, too.

I’ve told You about it countless times.

Everybody I’ve talked to knows my story as well.

But it’s been a while since my abuse,

And everybody seems to have gone on

With their lives, except for me.

I know I’m still stuck in my

Debilitating and destructive mindset,

Which has not changed appreciably.

It’s infuriating and unfair that I’m the one in pain.

They should be the ones to pay, but they haven’t.

I’m the one that continues to suffer.

But I know that by refusing to change,

I’m not hurting them—not one bit.

I’m only hurting myself and those around me.

I realize I can’t live like this any longer, Father.

I don’t want to waste my years harboring resentment,

Rehashing my drama over and over again in my mind.

But it’s going to be difficult to get back on track.

I know that. I’ve drifted so far from You.

I didn’t realize how willful I had become,

But now I recognize it. It becomes clearer each day.

That’s why I need You so much

To help me come back to You.

I have blamed others for my plight for so long,

That bitterness seems normal and comfortable,

Which frightens me for the future.

I’m still Your little child, Father.

Help me find my way back to You,

Whatever it takes to do so.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: Each posted prayer will be used as a Sunday entry in a new book I’m writing on abusiveness, which I’ve yet to title. While I have felt everything I describe in each prayer, much of what I write is from past experiences—not current ones. Some of it’s current, however.


Refer to Step 2: I commit to stop living my life in pursuit of self-defeating behavior.


Having been wounded at the core of my being,

I have stopped seeking You—

Stopped praying, stopped looking toward You

For wisdom, guidance, and discernment.

I haven’t wanted anything to do with You.

I’ve been so angry, so hurt, so humiliated.

In my pain, I have acted in ways I’m ashamed to admit.

I want to keep them secret—to hide them

From You and from everybody else.

I didn’t want to become like this—

To become the person I know I am,

But my sins have gone over my head,

And I am unable to control them,

Which I foolishly believed I could.

They control me, and I know it.

And I can no longer hide them from You.

I am weary of hanging my head in shame,

Of churning contempt, anger and bitterness.

I don’t want the affront from my abuse,

To control my future, as it has my past.

To change my behavior, Father, I will need Your help.

I am in a deep pit—where there is no easy way to escape.

I have often blamed others for my situation,

Choosing to embrace my role of being a victim,

Convincing myself I have been faultless,

But I no longer believe my delusions.

I have to admit the truth to You, and to myself.

I need Your help, Father. Without You,

My life will have neither meaning nor value.

At the core of my being, I know this is true.

Help me end my self-defeating behavior,

So that I can once again be forgiven,

Cleansed, and restored to wholeness.

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Step 1: I acknowledge that my life is shipwrecked and not where I want it to be.


I’m not where I want to be—

Not even close.

I’m not the person I want to be,

And I’m not the person I’m capable of being.

Even worse, the gap between the two

Is widening and not narrowing.

If I’m being honest with myself,

Which I rarely am,

As I constantly and repeatedly excuse

My poor behavior and poorer attitude,

I don’t really like myself.

I’m a pathetic substitute for what I should be—

For what I know You want me to be.

But it’s even worse than that.

Nearly everyone who knows me well

Recognizes that my life is shipwrecked.

I may look acceptable to casual observers,

But to those who know me—

To those who really know me,

I know they don’t like what they see.

How could they? Neither do I.

My intimacy with You has evaporated,

Even though I pretend that it hasn’t.

Father, I know who I am,

And I want to acknowledge the truth to You

And not pretend any longer.

I have traveled the wrong road for so long

I’m not certain I could ever

Follow the correct path again,

And that scares me so much

That I have refused to face the truth—

To face myself, to face You.

I know I can’t change on my own.

Without Your help, I have no chance at all.

Will You meet me on my journey?

Will You hold my hand and touch my heart?

And be there for me and not leave me behind?

Will You, Father? Will You?

For without You, I know

I will never be able to make it on my own.

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I feel like a wounded gazelle,

Unable to fend for myself,

As hungry beasts surround me.

My demise seems certain,

And there is no place to hide.

My friends—those who call upon Your name—

Are nowhere to be found

Just when I need them the most.

My love has abandoned me for another,

Without ever looking back.

I am undone and greatly crushed,

As those who seek what little is left,

Fight over scraps of my being—

Pieces of my shattered soul.

How long, Lord?

How long will You leave me exposed—

Vulnerable to ravenous predators that seek my harm?

When will it be enough?

When will You protect Your wounded child?

When will You move Your mighty hand to help?

If You don’t rescue me soon,

There will be nothing left.

My countenance is greatly diminished,

And my head hangs in despair,

As dread of economic insecurity overwhelms me.

Provide a way through the thick fog

And thorny path that surrounds me.

I have no one but You to trust—

No one but You that can help—

No one but You with the power to save.

Reach down to me, Father.

I am greatly undone and plead for Your help.

Help me, Father; Help me now.

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