Roots of Masturbation 

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Note: As you go through this page, feel free to print it, write on it and use it as a study guide.  

As with other sex addiction activities, masturbation can have one or many root causes.  In order to stop the habit, we'll need to address the root causes.  

Step 1: Ask God to help you answer the question, "Why am I masturbating?"  A simple prayer for this could be:

"Heavenly Father, I invite you to help me discover the reasons for why I have been masturbating.  Please reveal the truth to me through the Holy Spirit.  In the name of Jesus Christ, I command any voice that is not of God to be silent now.  I speak the peace of Christ to my mind, spirit and body.  Thank you, Father, In Jesus' name I pray, Amen."   

Following this prayer, it would be helpful to spend time in silent prayer, listening for the Holy Spirit.  Write down any thoughts that come up, and thank God for whatever he reveals.  Some common reasons for masturbation we've seen include:

Reasons for my habit: ____________________________________________________
                                                (list as appropriate for you)

Step 2: Identify the associated roots

Once we know the surface reasons for our habit, we can then seek to uncover the root causes  of those reasons.  Again, we should invite God to guide us in discovering the roots.   A sample prayer for this is:  "Lord, please help me understand the root causes behind the reasons for my habit.  Please help me to see the truth. Thank you, Father! Amen."  

Roots usually begin with an experience that disrupts our healthy physical, emotional or spiritual development.  If we respond to that experience in unhealthy (i.e. sinful) ways, it will cause the root to grow.   There are so many possible scenarios of how these roots can get started, that it's impossible to cover them all here.  By sharing some of the roots we've seen, we hope to help you uncover the roots under your habit.   

Generally, the roots involve sin that we committed or that someone committed against us.  Here are some examples of roots linked to masturbation:

Take some time to think through your life starting from as far back as you can remember and look for indications of starting points for roots such as those listed above.  Let God's Spirit lead you as you do this.  I've listed some typical life periods below where roots are often started.  Be sure to write down any roots that the Lord shows you as you do this.  

Early childhood (0-3):_____________________________________________

Pre-school (3-6): __________________________________________________

Grade School (7-12): _______________________________________________

Teens (13-19): _____________________________________________________

Career/College/Marriage/etc. (20-40):____________________________________________________________
            _____________________________________________________________

Other:_____________________________________________________________

Here is an example of how these roots can get started and grow in our lives:  A father continually berates his 7 yr old son for his poor sports ability.  The father is unable to see any value in his son's love for music, art and drama.  Those activities "are for sissies," according to the father.  The son is emotionally wounded by his father's rejection and this becomes the starting point of a "root of rejection."  Over the following years, the father continues to ridicule his son.  The boy begins to believe that he can do nothing right in his father's eyes and that he'll never amount to anything.  As the boy grows into adolescence, he responds to the pain of rejection by being reclusive and rebellious.  When a friend introduces him to pornography and masturbation, the boy discovers a pleasure he never knew before.  The intimate images of porn offer him the acceptance and love he's always longed for.  It doesn't matter to him that the porn is based on fantasy - he'll take any love and acceptance he can get.   Finding solace in masturbation, he soon finds himself addicted to it.   

Step 3:  Remove the roots

The importance of removing the roots cannot be underestimated.  Leaving them as is will almost certainly make it more difficult to stop masturbating.  Also, the roots will continue to release "spiritual poison" that damages us.  Moses mentioned this in Deuteronomy 29:18 NIV:  "Make sure there is no man or woman, clan or tribe among you today whose heart turns away from the LORD our God to go and worship the gods of those nations; make sure there is no root among you that produces such bitter poison."  In the Israelites' case, idolatry was the root that produced the poison of spiritual confusion.   Masturbation's roots produce poisons such as sexually-charged memories, selfishness, lust, perversion, numbed conscience and damaged relational skills.  The longer we allow the root to remain in us, the deeper the damage that we'll have to recover from.    

We encourage you to be patient as you go through the "root removal" process.  This can often take time to deal with.  Don't allow the devil to convince you to give up.  Keep at it persistently as the Lord directs you.  Don't settle for the lie that "you'll never be free."  

A.  Start with Prayer: Prayer plugs us into God's power supply.  He has the power to work the impossible.  Jesus said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible" (Matthew 19:26 NIV).  As you pray, believe in your heart that God's power is going to make the difference.  Believe that he is hearing your prayer and will respond.  Your faith completes the "circuit" of God's power in your life.

Sample Prayer:  "Father God, I thank you for loving me and dying for me. Thank you for being with me right now.  Please help me remove the roots of my addiction completely.  Please guide me and protect me from the evil one.  I believe in the freedom that is mine through Jesus Christ.  Please help me in any unbelief I may have. Thank you, Father."  

B.  Confession, Repentance and Release: In this step we take responsibility for our sin involved with the masturbation and its roots.  We repent from the sin by turning away from it and no longer embracing it.  Finally, we must release any unhealthy attitudes we have clung to.

It is possible that you may encounter resistance  as you attempt to confess the root sins.   The resistance may indicate the presence of evil spirits/demons associated with the root.  Manifestations of this resistance can widely vary.  Some examples could include: hot flashes, difficulty speaking, difficulty breathing, uncontrollable thoughts, uncontrollable bodily movement, rage, physical pain and the mind "blanking out."  

We share this not to cause fear, but simply to prepare you in advance for what you may experience.  If the devil has you in bondage, he will be reluctant to let you go.  No matter what happens, know that the Lord Jesus is with you and lives in you and is greater than any power of the devil.  If any such manifestations occur, you can take authority over them in the name of Jesus Christ and command them to stop.  An example statement you can make is, "In the name of Jesus Christ, I command the evil spirit causing this manifestation to stop.  I am saved by the blood of Jesus and I have authority over you.  Release me right now."  At that point you should be able to proceed.  If not, you may want to obtain help from a trusted group of believers who will help you pray and work through the root area.  It may be that you will need "deliverance ministry" to completely deal with that area.

Root                                    Examples of possible sins involved 

Trauma                              fear, rage, violent behavior, unforgiveness, hatred

Rejection                            unforgiveness, rebellion, perversion, hatred

Occult activity                   pride, lust for power, trying to control others (witchcraft)

Sexual sin                           lust, sexual idolatry, love of pleasure, pride

Soul ties                              Cherishing sin memories

Homosexuality                  Rebellion, unforgiveness, lust, hatred of man/woman

 

Example prayer for confession and repentance:

"Heavenly Father, I confess that I have sinned in the following ways: ______________.   Please forgive me for these sins.  I turn from them now and shut the door on them.  I seal the door with the blood of Jesus Christ. I renounce my activities associated with these sins.   I recommit myself to you, Lord, body, soul and spirit."   

Unforgiveness and cherished sin memories are common with sex addicts.  To release unforgiveness, we must forgive the people involved (with Jesus' help).  For the cherished sin memories, we must surrender the memories to God and restrain our thoughts from fantasizing over them any further.    

Example prayer of release:  "Father, I release these sinful attitudes and/or cherished memories to you right now.  Specifically, I release ______________(list your specific items).   Please take them from me and cleanse me with the blood of Jesus from any residue or poison they have left in me.  I forgive the people who have done evil to me:_______________ (list them).   Please fill me afresh with your Holy Spirit now and replace any former areas of sin with love, joy, peace, kindness, patience, self-control, goodness,  faithfulness and gentleness. Thank you, Father."

C.  Pray for healing: This final activity is where we invite God to complete the healing in us that our confession and repentance has cleared the way for.  1 John 1:9 NKJV says, "If we confess our sins He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness."  Also, James 5:15 NIV says, "And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up.  If he has sinned, he will be forgiven."  God will purify us, heal us, raise us up and forgive us when we've confessed our sin and prayed in faith for healing of our addiction.  

Praying for healing is not rocket science.  Remember that it is the Lord who will do the healing and all you need to do is to ask and believe that he will do so. You don't have to pray an elaborate prayer to receive results. You simply need to be sincere and prepared to back up your healing by obedience in the respective area.  

Some activities that will help you get into the right mindset for praying for healing include:

Here are some example prayers for healing:  

We encourage you to pray for healing in those and any other areas the Lord reveals to you.  It may also help to have some trusted friends in the Lord pray with you in faith for healing.   Some roots take more prayer sessions than others to heal from, so be patient and persistent.  For example, I periodically pray for continued healing and cleansing of my memories of sexual sin even many years after being porn-free.  It can take time to restore the mind to health and wash away the evil things we've allowed in.   

Next page:  Masturbation Recovery 

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