Healing for the Spouse of a Sex Addict

In addition to the stresses of dealing with a husband's or wife's sexual addiction, a spouse may face the challenge of dealing with the issues of her or his own past.  Living in a fallen world, none of us are immune to the emotional and spiritual wounds that come through our own sin and that of others. Those wounds can powerfully influence our development into the people we are today.  One of the awesome benefits of knowing Jesus is that He can heal us and help us make the best of whatever we may have experienced in life thus far.  He can help us face the spouse's sex addiction with courage and understanding, without our losing hold of the author and  anchor of our faith. 

Obstacles to Healing
Many people may not realize that forgiveness and healing can be hindered by sin that has not been dealt with in their lives.  So what does God want us to do about the sin in our lives?  Consider these verses:

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:0 NIV

Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.  Acts 3:19 NIV

There are two actions that God wants us to take regarding sin:  confess the sin (agree with God that it is wrong) and turn away from the sin (i.e. repent).  Confession often involves confiding with other people about what we’ve done.  Consider this passage:

15And 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. 16Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.  James 5:15-16 NIV

Here James mentioned that confessing sins and praying for one another would lead to healing.  This passage underscores the importance and potential benefits of meeting with other Christians for mutual fellowship, support and prayer on a regular basis.  Confession and repentance will open doors of forgiveness, cleansing and healing in our lives that we need in order to walk in the fullness of joy with God and live as a new person in Christ.  

Just as confession can lead to healing, unconfessed sin can block healing.  Let’s now examine eight obstacles to healing that could be significant in your life.

Obstacle #1: Unforgiveness
Unforgiveness comes in a variety of forms, such as bitterness, hatred, malice, grudge-holding and resentment.  It will block God's forgiveness of our sin and provide a foothold for the devil to influence our lives.  Such a foothold can become a “root of bitterness,” which could poison the fruit of the Holy Spirit in our lives, stunt spiritual growth and contribute to physical illness.  Like acid can destroy the vessel that holds it, so unforgiveness can destroy us when we harbor it. 

Forgiving a person does not mean that we are condoning their acts.  It is a giving up of the resentment and bitterness we may feel towards a person and entrusting the offenses to God, who is the ultimate Judge of people. 

Scripture gives clear-cut guidance on forgiveness, though it may be understandably difficult to receive when wounds are fresh.  Perhaps the most sobering message is what Jesus said:

14For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.  Matthew 6:14-15 NIV

Our own forgiveness of others determines whether or not God will forgive our sins (!).  Forgiving others gets especially challenging when we encounter people who repeatedly wrong us. Even in those situations, God’s will for us is to forgive the offender.  When a Christian is the offender, we have the obligation to inform him or her of the offense and to reprove them:

3Pay attention and always be on your guard [looking out for one another]. If your brother sins (misses the mark), solemnly tell him so and reprove him, and if he repents (feels sorry for having sinned), forgive him.  4And even if he sins against you seven times in a day, and turns to you seven times and says, I repent [I am sorry], you must forgive him (give up resentment and consider the offense as recalled and annulled). Luke 17:3-4 AMP

And even if the offender is not repentant, the Matthew 6:14-15 passage directs us to forgive him.  Furthermore, our attitude is to be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:32 NLT).

God expects us to forgive others just as he has forgiven us.  Considering the sacrifice God made for our sin (i.e. His Son’s death), our refusal to forgive another person is dishonoring to God and Jesus’ sacrifice.  God will hold us accountable for this as Jesus illustrated in the sobering parable of the unforgiving servant in Matthew 18:21-35.

Another important aspect of unforgiveness is that it is a form of pride.  When we’ve been wronged by someone, we have a natural desire to see justice done.  Withholding forgiveness is essentially the same as judging the person.  The scripture says, “Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord” (Romans 12:19 NKJV).  As God's followers, we must submit our desire for justice to him and trust that he will bring it about.   

This can be very hard to do, especially if someone has spitefully mistreated us or someone we love.  I’m reminded of the story of David and King Saul, when Saul was chasing David in the wilderness in hopes of killing him (1 Samuel 24).  Saul had repeatedly tried to kill David.  He had also given David’s wife, Michal to another man.  When David had a prime opportunity to kill Saul in a cave, he resisted the temptation to take vengeance.  He deferred to God for both the settlement of the conflict with Saul and the future establishment of himself as king. 

Again, forgiving someone is not condoning what they have done, but rather, it is laying the case before God’s throne and asking him to deal with it according to his will.  We have to remember that God saw the evil that was done and he knows how deeply we’ve been hurt.  If we can come to the place where we’re willing to forgive the person through Christ’s love, we will be able to move forward and leave the burden of justice in his capable hands.   

Are you ready to forgive people who have wronged you?  If you are ready to do so, take a moment to make a list of any people that you haven’t fully forgiven over the years.  It would be a good idea to ask God to bring those people to your mind at this time.  Once you have your list, you can pray this suggested prayer: 

Lord Jesus, you are holy, righteous and perfectly just.  I confess that I have not forgiven as you have commanded me to.  Empowered by the Holy Spirit, I now forgive these people: ________ (list names and offenses).   I confess that I have been prideful and judgmental.  Please forgive me and cleanse me from my sin.  Please help me to thoroughly release these people and the wrongs they caused me to your care.  I pray that your will be done in my life and in their lives.  Please help me to no longer think on the offenses, but instead to focus my thoughts on you.  I invite you, Lord, into any painful memories I have concerning what was done.  Please heal the wounds I received and help me to have your perspective on what happened.  (Take time now to pray silently and receive from the Lord) Thank you, Father!   In the name of Jesus Christ I pray, Amen.

In addition to forgiving other people, we should do a “heart check” to ensure that we’re not harboring resentment toward ourselves or God. 

Some people have a tendency to blame themselves for all sorts of things.  For example, we often hear from wives who blame themselves for their husband’s sexual addiction struggles.   Holding yourself responsible for your spouse’s problems is a form of unforgiveness.  It’s like trying to act like God as judge, punishing yourself with condemnation.  Even if your actions contributed to the problem, you still need to forgive yourself, just as God has forgiven you.  Released from self-judgment, you’ll be better able to make changes in order to strengthen your walk with God and your marriage. 

Here is an example prayer to forgive yourself: 

"Heavenly Father, I confess that I have unmercifully judged myself concerning __________ (describe the situation).  I forgive myself for my mistakes in that situation.  Please cleanse me of all self-condemnation and restore in me a healthy self-esteem. Please help me make any changes in my own life needed to strengthen my walk with you and my relationship with my spouse. Thank you, Lord for forgiving me and empowering me to live as a new creation.  In Jesus' name I pray, Amen."

When bad things happen to us, we might be tempted to blame God for not protecting us from the evil that was done.  The Devil probably loves to taunt people with thoughts like "How could a loving God allow this to happen to you?" Unfortunately, many people take the Devil’s bait at that point and turn away from God. 

When considering such difficult situations, we can look to the cross for confirmation that God is truly a loving God.  When we consider the magnitude of suffering that Jesus endured on our behalf, we need not doubt his love for us.  Even so, we may also need the Lord to give us a deeper understanding of his love, especially relating to the situations where we suffered.  Though we may not understand why the bad things happened, the first step in recovery is to release any unforgiveness we have toward God.  Here is an example prayer to do so: 

"Heavenly Father, I recognize my sin of not forgiving you for __________ (describe the situation).  I know that you are perfectly just and holy, although I may not understand why things happened as they did.  I forgive you, Father for any offense I took at you.  Please heal my wounds and deepen my understanding of your love.  Please help me see your perspective concerning what happened.  (Pause for time of silent prayer, and wait on the Lord)  I receive your healing and forgiveness, Lord. Thank you! In Jesus' name I pray, Amen."

Having forgiven people, ourselves and God, we must now walk forward and resist the temptations to revisit our feelings of resentment.  This will likely require us to exercise authority over thoughts and persistently make them obedient to Jesus.

Obstacle #2: Bitter roots

Originating in unforgiveness, Bitter roots involve making judgments against a person in response to offenses.  Here is a good explanation of judgments (in relation to bitter roots) and why they are bad:

“Judgment is a form of unforgiveness. Judgment is more than forming an opinion about something someone else has said or done. It is holding them responsible for not measuring up to our specific code of conduct or action. When we judge someone we hold that person in bondage, which in return comes back on us.”[1]

Paul described an important spiritual law that relates to bitter roots in Galatians 6:7-8 (NIV): 

 7Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. 8The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.

When we judge others out of our own bitterness or resentment, it is a form of sowing to please our fleshly nature (as opposed to the Holy Spirit).  That judgment will in turn affect us and other people in a negative way.  For example it could return as pessimism about others, which in turn harms them, or it could produce (ironically) the same behavior in us that we found offensive in them. 

I recently cleared a large group of palmetto bushes from my backyard in order to install a fence.  Palmettos are infamous here in Florida for their extensive root structure, which resembles a buried log with many runner roots securing it from underneath.  Once one of these bushes gets rooted in the soil, it’s impossible to remove them without special tools. For me the tool of choice ultimately was a pick axe, which made chopping and dislodging the root structure easier.  Like Palmettos, bitter roots that are not dealt with will grow and ultimately cause trouble.  The Hebrews author wrote, “See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many” (Hebrews 12:15 NIV).  Bitter roots bring trouble and defile people (i.e. corrupt, make impure).  Here are some examples:

Overall, bitter roots rob us of the abundant life Jesus came to give us. They can be “perhaps the most powerful negative forces in our lives, [bringing] destruction not only to us but to all around us.”[2]

As you look back over your life, are there any bitter roots that you need to deal with? If so, please summarize them below. 

 

 

 

 

Here is a suggested prayer for removing the bitter roots: 

Heavenly Father, thank you for revealing the bitter root in my life.  I forgive the person(s) involved, (name them), and I repent for withholding forgiveness and judging them.  In the name of Jesus Christ, I cancel out the bitter root judgments that I’ve made.  Father, please heal the damage that I may have caused in my life and others’ lives as a result of my judgments.  Please free me from any binding effects that they may have caused.  Thank you, Father. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen. 

Obstacle #3: Inner vows 
Inner vows are closely related to bitter roots. They can be described as vows a person makes in response to an injustice and/or injury either to herself or someone else.  The purpose of the vows is to prevent recurrence of the injustice or injury.  In other words, inner vows are typically self-protection mechanisms.  For example, in the above situation with the young girl whose mother was being abused, her inner vows might have been that she would never be like her mom (i.e. feminine) and that she would never be vulnerable to a man through marriage.  Other examples might include: 

I will never:

…let anyone love me

….be weak

…trust anyone

…allow myself to need

…let them take anything away from me.

…allow anyone to touch me

…share what is mine

…allow anyone to give me money

…allow myself to be vulnerable

…let a man or woman control me

…be violent or abusive

 

- or -

 

I will always:

…remain aloof, separate

…be logical

…be in control of my life

(ref: School of Healing Prayer Manual, Level 2, page 49-50, Christian Healing Ministries)

The reason why inner vows are detrimental may not be readily apparent – in fact some may seem like good vows.  While they may be well-intentioned, the problem is that these vows cause us to rely on self instead of on God.   They can act as “directives which control our responses to situations and people around us,” and they “imprison us to think and act only from the mold set by those inner vows”[3].  God desires that we rely on the Holy Spirit for the power to live in righteousness – not on vows. 

Additionally, inner vows are typically involved with the condition described in the scriptures as a “heart of stone” (Ezekiel 36:26, Hebrews 3:12-13).  The heart of stone is a form of emotional or spiritual callousness, which arises from years of hurt and/or sin.  When a person is wounded repeatedly, they often make inner vows to protect themselves from further hurt.  The danger of the heart of stone (and hence inner vows) is that a person can become desensitized and unresponsive to God. 

Thankfully, bitter roots and inner vows can both be addressed through prayer.  Dealing with them will involve forgiving the offender(s), renouncing the vows and praying for healing of the wounds involved. 

As you look back over your life, are there any inner vows that you have made? If so, please list them below. 

 

 

 

 

Here is a suggested prayer to cancel out those vows:

Father in Heaven, thank you for revealing the inner vows that I have made.  I repent from making these vows and relying on them instead of you for power to live in righteousness.  In the name of Jesus Christ, I cancel out these vows that I have made: __________________ (list them). Father, please release me from any and all ill effects of these vows.  I put my trust fully in you and now rely fully on the power of the Holy Spirit to live in righteousness.  Thank you, Father! In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

Obstacle #4: Occult involvement

"The Occult" is a broad term referring to activities that seek or use knowledge and/or power from sources other than God. Many Christians have dabbled in this area for fun without understanding the serious consequences that may follow it.  Unfortunately, the occult is becoming wildly popular in our culture with the help of the entertainment industry. 

Many movies and video games these days feature, if not promote the occult. Even some popular “Christian” films take advantage of the occult’s entertainment value, mixing it with Biblical themes.  Here are just a few examples of occult activities:  sorcery, astrology, magic, witchcraft, palm-reading, conjuring spirits, consulting a psychic, fortunetelling, false religions, astral projection, mind control, spell-casting, using Tarot cards and playing with Ouija boards. 

(For a more thorough inventory of occult activities, please visit our page at http://www.porn-free.org/occult_inventory.htm)

No matter how insignificant or harmless occult activities may seem, it is important to know that:

Such influences can hinder your freedom from sin and your ability to live the new life that God has for you in Christ.  

God gives very clear guidance in the scriptures concerning the occult.  Consider Deuteronomy 18:10-12 (NLT):

10 Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, 11 or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. 12 Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD, and because of these detestable practices the LORD your God will drive out those nations before you.

The people who did these things were characterized as “[objects] of horror and disgust to the LORD.  Their actions caused God to drive them out of the land.  Further on in history, the Israelites were also expelled from the land because of their commission of the very same occult practices. 

Other than the fact that God forbids his people from practicing the occult, we can look to the first and second commandments of the Ten Commandments to understand why these activities are sin:

 3 "You shall have no other gods before me.  4 "You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. 5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing love to a thousand {generations} of those who love me and keep my commandments.  Exodus 20:3-6 NIV

God commanded that the people were to have no gods before Him and that they were not to make any idols and worship them.  The consequences of disobeying God in these areas would affect descendants of the guilty up to the fourth generations.  “Having other gods” (i.e. idolatry) can take a variety of forms.  Seeking hidden knowledge or powers through the occult is basically going around God and trying to find alternative sources, or “gods” for help.  Since there is real power in the occult, results can be expected, but they come with the price of demonic oppression in varying degrees. 

In short, God’s followers are to have nothing to do with the occult.  Jesus gave us the perfect rule of thumb in Matthew 22:37: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (NIV).  For additional information on the occult, see http://www.porn-free.org/occult_background.htm

If you have been involved with the occult but have not yet repented from it, I encourage you to pray the below prayers specifically for each area of the occult you have been involved with:

Heavenly Father, I confess that I have sinned through the occult in the following ways: _____________(list the sin).  I renounce these sins and the use of my body in conjunction with them.  I renounce any attempt I have made to seek power or knowledge from any source outside of Jesus Christ.  Please forgive me, Father, for entering the realm of evil and opening myself up to the devil's influences.  In the name of Jesus Christ, I command any evil spirits that have gained access to me through the occult to be bound now and to go straight to Jesus for him to deal with. I present myself anew to you, Lord, as an instrument for righteousness and not for sin.  Thank you, Father! In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen. 

Note: If you have been heavily involved with the occult, you will likely need more in-depth prayer and deliverance ministry with a team of strong Christians.  Unfortunately, spirits of the occult are among some of the most tenacious in resisting deliverance work. 

Obstacle #5: Idolatry
Though idolatry is at the foundation of the occult, I mention it under a separate heading because it is so prevalent.  As previously mentioned, idolatry is characterized either by outright worship of an object or by immoderate attachment or devotion to something.[4]  The latter is perhaps more prevalent today than the former.  Immoderate attachment or devotion will be reflected in the amount of time, effort and resources we may be expending on something.  Such activities have the potential and often do supplant a person’s devotion to God.  In this study series we have often mentioned sexual idolatry, and other forms of modern idolatry might include extremes of potentially any interest, such as shopping, cars, gaming, money-making, TV, sports, romance novels, exercise, dieting,… even being over-involved at church!  

As with the rest of the occult, idolatry is specifically identified in the Bible as sin (Exodus 20:3-5, Exodus 20:23).  Considering God's main command to love him with all our heart, soul and mind (Matthew 22:36-38), we should recognize that it is impossible to love God with all our heart, soul and mind when we are idolizing something in our thoughts. 

Take a moment to consider if you have you been idolizing anything in your heart.  If so, please list it here:

 

 

 

 

If you listed anything, I encourage you to take time now to surrender it to God and ask for forgiveness for the idolatry.  Here’s a prayer to do so:

Father in heaven, I confess that I have allowed idolatry in my heart, specifically that I have: ___________________ (describe).  Please forgive me for allowing this to take priority in my life and interfere with my love and devotion for you.  I surrender this to you now and ask that you would help me stop my idolatry both in my actions and thoughts.  Please heal me from any ill-effects of my sin.  Please guide me in truth and help me to recognize the way of truth and righteousness.  I want to live for you, Father, in single-minded devotion.  Thank you! In Jesus, name, Amen.

Obstacle #6: Pride    

Pride is perhaps the most self-deceptive and creative sin.  There are so many ways it can manifest in our lives.  Some indicators of pride can range from fearing exposure of our secret sin, criticizing others, resisting the Holy Spirit, refusing to admit we need help, to avoiding accountability.  Here are some questions to help detect pride in the heart: 

If you answered “Yes” to any of those questions, chances are that pride has a place in your heart.  If this is the case, you’re not alone, as most people have at least a little pride in one way or another. 

What is the problem with pride?  This passage from James helps us answer that question:

6But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble."  7Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. James 4:6-8 NIV

The main problem with pride is that it prevents us from drawing near to God.  There are a great deal other negative effects of pride.  It inhibits harmony in relationships (Romans 12:16), corrupts our ability to love (1 Corinthians 13:4), deceives us (Obadiah 1:3), hardens our hearts (2 Chronicles 32:25), hinders our prayers (Psalm 18:27) and brings destruction (Proverbs 16:18). 

Pride is typically rooted in an attribute, position or ability, such as

When we know the root of our pride, we can both confess our sin and ask God to help us deal with the root.  Here is a prayer to that end:

Father God, I confess that I have been prideful in these specific ways: _______ (list).  I recognize my pride as sin and I ask for your forgiveness through the blood of Jesus Christ.  I turn from my pride now and surrender every area of my life that has been a basis for pride: _____ (list).   I lay them all down before your throne, and commit myself to serving you in humility. I pray this in Jesus’ name, Amen.

An important follow-up action in dealing with pride is a daily “putting on” of humility.  Consider this passage:

Young men, in the same way be submissive to those who are older. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. 1 Peter 5:5-6 NIV 

When we “clothe” ourselves with humility, we gain God's favor and assistance in the battles we face.  I’m reminded of the story of King Josiah in 2 Chronicles 34:23-28.  The tribe of Judah had forsaken God through idolatry and consequently God was determined to unleash his wrath on the nation.  King Josiah humbled himself and sought the Lord, who decided to delay the nation’s judgment and spare Josiah from experiencing it.  Similarly, when we put on humility each day, we can win favor with God and potentially even avoid some unpleasant events. 

Here are some ways to put on humility each day:

Obstacle #7:Abortion
The tragedy of abortion is often distorted or minimized by those in favor of keeping the practice legal.  Besides the millions of babies who have died from it, many people do not realize that abortions cause tremendous emotional damage to the mothers and fathers.  Though some people may be able to temporarily quell their consciences under a variety of rationalizations, many know deep down that abortion is murder.  The realization of this truth can be accompanied by deep shame, self-condemnation, grief and depression.  A person who has aborted their child may feel that they’ve committed the unforgivable sin and that God could never forgive them. The situation can be further complicated when a person has “stuffed” their emotions concerning the abortion and has never grieved the loss of the child.  People may carry this burden with them for the rest of their lives.  For example, one of our neighbors confided with us that after 30 or so years, not a day went by that she didn’t think about her aborted child. 

If you've been the mother or father of an aborted child, you can be forgiven for your role in that abortion through your faith in Jesus Christ.  You can receive healing through Jesus from the trauma of abortion.  He will also help you get to the place where you can forgive yourself for this sin and those who may have participated in the decision. 

If you’ve had or partnered in an abortion and never addressed it with God, I encourage you to start today.  Here is a prayer to get started:

Heavenly Father, I confess my sin involving abortion, specifically that I: ___________ (describe your role).   I recognize that you are the giver of life and that every life is precious.  Please forgive me of this sin and cleanse me from it.  If I have not been able to forgive myself for what I have done, please help me to forgive myself, just as you have done through the blood of your precious Son, Jesus.  (if ready, verbally forgive yourself now)

Father, please tell my child that I am so very sorry for taking his/her life.  I commit my child, ____________ (name), to you, Lord.  I entrust him/her to your care. I believe that he/she is with you now and I pray to be reunited with him/her when I die.   

Lord, I know that I may grieve the loss of my child for the rest of my life.  I pray for healing of my emotions and the painful memories associated with the abortion.  May your will be done in my life. I pray that this experience will somehow be used for good purposes.  Thank you, Lord.  In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

Abortion recovery can take years to work through.  For further study, I recommend Dr. Susan Stanford-Rue’s book, Will I cry tomorrow?: Healing Post-Abortion Trauma.   This book tells Susan's poignant story of her own abortion experience.  She writes knowingly about God's unconditional, forgiving love, which led to her remarkable, long-term healing.  She offers hope to women who have had abortions, and helps counselors understand their pain. This book is only available through Dr. Stanford-Rue's office at 904-292-0085 (USA).

Obstacle #8: Generational sin      
We touched on a generational sin in our first study on understanding sexual addiction.  A key scripture for generational sin is found in Exodus 34:

6 And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, "The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, 7 maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation." Exodus 34:6-7 NIV

While this passage affirms God’s compassion and forgiveness of sin, but it also reveals that the punishment for sin can affect a person’s descendants up to four generations.  Such punishment may also be called "generational curses.” Other references to generational sin can be found in Exodus 20:5 and Numbers 14:18Generational curses can manifest in several ways, including sickness/disease, tendencies toward certain sins, emotional disorders and even demonic oppression.  Note that in such troubles generational curses are not the only possible causes – there are others that could be at work.  The good news is that Christ’s finished work on the cross gives Christians authority over generational curses, provided the generational sin involved has been identified and confessed. 

To evaluate the possibility of generational sin affecting you, construct a family tree diagram, noting any patterns of sin, sickness, injury/death, divorce, etc. that run down the family line. For whatever reason, occult involvement and sexual sin are especially prone to running down family lines.  If you don’t know the details about your ancestors’ sin, you can ask God to reveal the details of any past sin that is affecting you.  For detailed instructions and forms for this exercise, see http://www.porn-free.org/family_tree.htm .

Having constructed a family tree, please list any generational sins that you found in your family history:

 

 

 

You can now take your place in Christ for your family and confess the sin of your ancestors.  This is similar to an accounting transaction, where the payment for your ancestors' sin is transferred to Christ's account.  By doing so, you cancel any generational curses that may have come to you from their sin (Galatians 3:13-14). 

Here is a prayer you can pray to accomplish this: 

Heavenly Father, Thank you for the precious blood of Jesus that brings forgiveness and cleansing from sin. Thank you for redeeming me from the curse of the law and giving me a new life.  I take my place in Christ for my family and confess all the sins committed by my ancestors that I know of.  Specifically I confess: __________________(list).  Father, please forgive my family and cleanse us from these sins and any other sins that are not known to me.  Please cut us free from all curses or ill effects caused by these sins.  If any evil spirits have gained entry into my life on account of my ancestors' sin, I bind them in the name of Jesus Christ and command them to leave me and go to Jesus right now! Thank you, Father, for the freedom that is mine through Jesus.  I praise you now and forever, Amen. 

For further study, see our website page on Generational Sin

Praying for Healing

Having dealt with the typical obstacles to healing, we can now proceed to pray for healing in specific areas. We’ll look at these five areas in this section:

Because people are flawed and sinful, it should be no surprise that it is through relationships that we receive many of our wounds in life.  When God heals those past wounds, we are better able to enjoy life as God intended, relate to people in healthy ways and grow in our relationship with Christ. 

“Can God heal things in my past?” you might ask.  Jesus said: "What is impossible with men is possible with God" (Luke 18:27 NASB).  When you invite God to heal your wounds, the impossible suddenly becomes possible!   But some might wonder, “Does God want to heal me?” Here are two passages that give us the answer:

 2 The LORD builds up Jerusalem; he gathers the exiles of Israel.  3 He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.  Psalm 147:2-3 NIV

 7"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.  9"Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!  Matthew 7:7-11 NIV

The Lord wants to heal you!  He is a kind and loving heavenly Father who will give you gifts of healing if you ask him to.  With that in mind, in this next section we’ll go through a personal inventory of past wounds and invite God to heal them.  James described healing prayer in a group setting, i.e. with at least two persons.  While you can do this alone, it may be beneficial to ask a trusted friend to pray with you.  It’s likely that the Lord will use your friend’s spiritual gifts to minister to you.

When considering the periods of your life, pay special attention to the childhood, formative years.  Also, please be sure to include events that occurred in your immediate family, as they can be among the most influential experiences.

Please take a moment to pray before proceeding, asking God to shine the light of truth into every area of your soul.   

Heavenly Father, Thank you for the opportunity to pray for healing.  Please shine the light of your truth into every dark place in my soul. Please bring to mind the things from my past that I need to deal with.  In the name of Jesus Christ, I bind every voice that is not of God and command them to be silent.  I take every thought captive to the obedience of Jesus Christ and I cast down every imagination that is against God.  Lord, please help me to see what you want me to see through this exercise.  Thank you! I pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.  

Past trauma and abuse
Past trauma or abuses can serve as starting points for a variety of problems.  Please look back through your life and write down any trauma experiences or abuse that you experienced.   

Period of Life        

Event (What happened?)

Who was involved

How it affected you

How you responded

Any sin involved on your part?

Childhood

(0-12)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adolescence

(13-18)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Young adult

(19-25)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adult

(25- current)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can now take each of the above experiences to Jesus and ask for healing in each memory.  You may want to include these elements in your prayer:

Here is an example prayer that you can use for each memory:   

Heavenly Father, thank you for being my Healer.  Lord, I lift up this memory of ____________ to you now.  I confess any sin that I committed in conjunction with this memory: _______________(list).  If I have failed to forgive those involved, I now forgive them (state names).  Please forgive me and cleanse me from my sin.  Thank you, Jesus!   Lord, please heal me from any binding effects that this memory has had on my life. Please heal all the inner wounds from this memory that continue to affect me today, consciously or subconsciously.  Please help me to see the incident from your perspective and no longer rehearse the pains of the past.  I release this memory to your care right now. 
(Pause for silent prayer and/or prayer in the Spirit

If I have made any bitter root judgments or inner vows associated with this memory, please reveal them to me now.  Help me to know the truth. 
(Pause for silent prayer and/or prayer in the Spirit; please revisit the prayers on bitter root judgments and inner vows as needed

Lord, please now fill me afresh with your love, peace and joy.  I receive your life and healing in my body, soul and spirit. 
(Pause for silent prayer and/or prayer in the Spirit

Thank you, Father, for all that you have done in me today.  I praise you and glorify you in the name of Jesus! Amen.

Word curses: Negative words spoken over you
Words can have a powerful effects on our lives. In some cases, they can act like curses over us.  For example, the mother who angrily chastises her son with “You’re a worthless little dirtbag!” may not realize that the boy could carry that phrase with him for the rest of his life.  It could lead to an ongoing deficiency of self-esteem. Thankfully, the power of such words can be broken by the authority of Jesus Christ and the revelation of the Truth. 

Have there been some powerful words that have affected you over the years?  Please go through the below inventory: 

Period of Life        

What was said

Who said it

How it affected you

How you responded

Specific sin involved?

Childhood

(0-12)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adolescence

(13-18)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Young adult

(19-25)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adult

(25- current)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For each negative word that was spoken over or to you, you can ask God to cancel out the ill-effects and heal any damage that was done.  Here is an example prayer you can use for this:

Father in Heaven, please cancel out any damaging effects that the words “_____________” (insert what was said) had in my life.  I break the power of those words in the name of Jesus Christ and I pray that you will heal me and restore me.  Please help me to know the truth about myself and the situation that I was in.  (pause for a time in silent prayer & reflection)  Thank you for your great love for me and that you sent Jesus to die for my sake.  Thank you for the new life I have through faith in you!  In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

In addition to prayer, you can also search the Bible for the truth that counteracts the words that were spoken over you. For example, a person whose parent labeled as “worthless” during childhood, can stand on the truth that God greatly loves and values him or her…so much so that He sent His only Son to die to save that person (John 3:16).  Additionally, we know that Jesus loves little children and accepts them with open arms of love (Matthew 19:13-14).  Applying God’s Word and truth to the lies of the enemy is how we use the “Sword of the Spirit” in spiritual warfare. 

Sexual sin
As discussed previously, sexual encounters previous to or outside of marriage can be sources of unhealthy soul ties, not to mention sinful thoughts and memories.  All of these can negatively impact your marriage relationship.

We often hear from people who have made the mistake of joining their spouses in watching porn and/or performing perverse acts.  I’ve not heard of one case where joining in on the sex addiction activities has solved the problem.  I have, however, heard plenty of accounts of how such participation has only increased the addict’s obsessions and caused more troubles in the marriage.  Despite their good intensions of trying to sustain the marriage, these people now have the additional challenge of dealing with the thoughts and memories associated with their own porn exposure and sexual experimentation. 

As you review your sexual history please note all instances of sexual sin, which includes adultery, fornication, homosexuality, incest, bestiality, pedophilia, menstrual sex and rape.  Also, please include any participation in your spouse’s addiction activities and sexual experiences that may not have included traditional intercourse, such as heavy-petting, oral sex, sodomy, fetishes and sadomasochism / BDSM.

Period of Life        

Event (What happened?)

Who was involved

How it affected you

Specific sin involved?

Childhood

(0-12)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adolescence

(13-18)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Young adult

(19-25)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adult

(25- current)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As the Creator of sex, God desires that you enjoy sex in your marriage as he created it to be.  Thankfully, God can help cut you free from the “sexual baggage” of your past and bring healing to those areas of your inner being that were damaged by sexual sin.  Here is a prayer for repentance and healing from sex sin:

Father in Heaven, Thank you for the gift of sex.  I realize that I have compromised sexually in the following ways in my life:  ____________________  (list from above).  I confess those acts as sin and ask for your forgiveness and cleansing from them.   

I specifically ask that you would sever any and all unhealthy soul ties with the people I had sex with: _____________ (speak their names).  If any part of my soul is tied to those persons, please retrieve and reintegrate those parts in me now.  If any part of those persons is tied to me, please return them to those persons and restore them to wholeness.  I commit those persons to your care and pray for their salvation if they don’t know you.   

I bind all of the unhealthy memories of these sexual experiences together and surrender them to you now, Lord.  Please take them from my mind and strengthen me to not think or fantasize about them ever again.  Please wash my mind with the blood of Jesus and cleanse me from those memories.  Please help to take my thoughts captive to you daily and cast down any imaginations that are against you and your plan for my life.   

Finally, Father, please heal the damaged areas of me that were affected by my sin.  I pray for sexual healing in my marriage, such that my spouse and I can fully enjoy sex as you designed it to be.  Thank you, Father! In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.  

Since the emotional and spiritual effects of sex sin are typically long-lasting, it may take persistent prayer and discipline to clean up your thoughtlife in this area.  One important key is to not allow your mind to dwell on the memories of the sin. Rehearsing those memories only reinforces them by physically strengthening the neural pathways associated with the memories.[5] If you catch yourself thinking sexually impure thoughts, you can take two actions that Paul mentioned in 2 Corinthians 10:5:

Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ (KJV)

The two actions are:

1. Cast down imaginations (or speculations) that are against God (i.e. sinful)

2. Bring every thought into obedience to Jesus Christ

For example, when you realize an evil thought has come into your mind you can say, “I cast that evil thought down, in Jesus’ name.  I bring my thoughts into obedience to Jesus Christ right now!”  From there, you can shift your thoughts to a safe topic and resist the temptation to go back to the evil thought.  Paul mentions this practice in Philippians 4:8, which says:

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things  (KJV)

When we think on good and pure things, we give our minds less opportunities to think on sinful things.

If you continue to have difficulties with sexual temptations and memories, you can also continue to pray for healing of the mind.  There is a wonderful passage in the Bible that gives us hope for healing of our minds:  

12He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption. 13The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. 14How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God! Hebrews 9:12-14 NIV

The cleansing of the mind comes from the miraculous and powerful Blood of Jesus. It is able to cleanse the believer’s conscience from the stains of sin, such that she can live a new life as a new person in Christ!  

Building on that passage, here is a prayer for ongoing cleansing of the mind: 

Heavenly Father, Thank you for the blood of Jesus, shed for me.  Please wash my mind with that precious blood, cleansing every sinful neural pathway that was created by sexual sin.  Please revive the truth in my innermost thoughts and create in me a hunger and thirst for righteousness.  Please help me to rediscover healthy sexuality and walk in purity. (take some time to pray in the Spirit or silently) Thank you, Lord!  In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

Finally, we should remember that God’s Word can act as a cleansing agent for our minds.  Through Bible study and meditation in your daily quiet time, you can learn or rediscover the truth about God, sexuality and life. This truth will help dislodge any lies that you’ve embraced in the past.  Years ago I heard a good analogy to illustrate this principle.  If you take a pitcher of Kool-Aid and add water to it, it gradually becomes diluted.  If you continue to add water, eventually the pitcher will contain only water, with all of the Kool-Aid having been washed away.  Similarly, if we load our minds with God’s Word every day, gradually the corruption and distortion of the world will be washed from our thinking. 

Broken relationships
Broken relationships can profoundly affect how we relate to people in future relationships. One very important issue related to broken relationships is reconciliation, which is one of God’s heart cries for mankind. God so desired to be reconciled with Man that he sent Jesus to die in our place, clearing the way for us to be reconciled to him. 

Reconciliation is a heart cry for people as well.  We’re made to be in fellowship with God and people.  When that fellowship is broken, a variety of emotional and spiritual wounds may ensue.  We have a natural desire to be reconciled, yet unfortunately things like pride and unforgiveness frequently block reconciliation.  Even so, God can help us make the best of things, even when reconciliation seems impossible. 

In the below matrix, please list any significant broken-relationships that you have had, including divorces, break-ups, affairs, offenses and deaths. 

Period of Life        

Event (What happened?)

Who was involved

How it affected you

How you responded

Sin involved?

Childhood

(0-12)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adolescence

(13-18)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Young adult

(19-25)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adult

(25- current)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Since there are many possible instances of broken relationships, here is a prayer addressing some possible issues involved in broken relationships.  I encourage you to pray this prayer for each broken relationship you listed above:

Heavenly Father, thank you for creating me to be connected with people. I lift up the broken relationship with ________________ (name from above).   

If there are any offenses that I have not forgiven this person for, I now forgive them with Jesus’ help and the Holy Spirit’s empowerment.  I release any desires for revenge to you, and ask that you would carry out perfect justice.  Please forgive me, Lord, for holding onto unforgiveness until now.   

If I caused or participated in sin in this relationship, I repent from it now. Specifically, I repent from: _____________ (list any sin involved).   

I pray for healing of any damaged emotions that resulted from this broken relationship.  I also ask you to heal me from the ill-effects of unpleasant memories from this relationship.  Please help me to see the past from your perspective.   

If this relationship caused me to make bitter root judgments, I repent from those judgments now.  If I made any inner vows, I renounce them now in Jesus’ name.  (if any specific inner vows come to mind, renounce them specifically)  I put my trust fully in you, Lord and pray that you will help me no longer revert to those judgments and vows for strength.   

If I developed any unhealthy soul ties with this person, I ask Lord that you would now sever those soul ties in Jesus’ name. If any part of my soul is tied to him/her, please retrieve and reintegrate that part in me now.  If any part of him/her is tied to me, please return it to them and restore them to wholeness.  I commit him/her to your care and pray for their salvation if they don’t know you.  May your will be done in his/her life.  Thank you, Father your love and healing in my life.  In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

Disappointments, failures and rejections
Nobody likes to be disappointed, to fail, or to be rejected, but these experiences are part of life in a fallen world.  If powerful enough, such experiences can contribute to the development of a “root of rejection,” or they may lead us to make bitter root judgments and inner vows, or they might persuade us to take a different path in life to avoid further pain.  They also can lead to problems with low self-esteem and depression. 

For example, when I was a child, I was not very good at sports.  I was musically talented, but in my town, sports were the only “cool” activities to be involved in.  After years of being picked last for sports teams during recess, playing outfield in Little League baseball and having few friends, I was somewhat convinced that I was a loser and had little or no potential to be successful in life.  I later came to understand that these were symptoms of a “root of rejection,” which had been growing for years.  In High School, things flip-flopped.  My sports aptitude improved and I discovered an ability to build relationships with the opposite sex.  Feeling better about myself, I drifted into pride and sexual indulgence as a way of medicating the past rejections I experienced.  For me, dealing with the root of rejection involved repenting from pride and sexual sin, asking God to heal the early wounds of rejection and thanking him for creating me the way he did.  Through that process I came to understand that God created me for a special purpose and that he accepted me, no matter how people may treat me.

As you look back over your life, what disappointments, failures and rejections stand out as significant and how did you deal with them?

Period of Life        

Event (What happened?)

Who was involved

How it affected you

How you responded

Specific sin involved

Childhood

(0-12)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adolescence

(13-18)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Young adult

(19-25)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adult

(25- current)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s a prayer you can pray for each experience listed above:

Father in Heaven, I lift up this experience of _______________ (describe).  If I committed any sin in response to or in conjunction with this experience, I confess it now: ______________ (specify).  If I made any bitter root judgments, I repent from those now and forgive the persons that hurt me, specifically: ____________________ (speak their names).  If I made any inner vows, I renounce them now, specifically, I renounce my vow to: __________________(list).  Please help me to now rely on the Holy Spirit for strength in this area instead of the vow.   

Father, you know how deeply this experience affected me.  Please heal me of any lasting ill effects of this memory.  If this experience contributed to a root of rejection, I ask, Lord that you would remove the root and heal the wounds linked to it.  (pause for silent prayer)  Father, please help me to see this incident from your perspective and help me to grow stronger in my walk with you as a result.  Thank you that I am precious to you and that you love me very much!  In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen. 

Cut free
I hope that you have received healing as you have gone through the above prayer exercises.  I encourage you to “cut yourself free” from the past now, as digging into old wounds can be troubling and painful.  Here’s a prayer you can use:

Heavenly Father, thank you so much for the healing I have received today.  If in my prayer time I have sinned in any way, please forgive me and cleanse me from it.  Please cut me free of all heaviness, sadness and negativity associated with the events of the past.  I turn over all the burdens of the past to you and ask you to fill me with life, light and love.  I bind my mind to your mind and my will to your will.  Please continue the healing work in my life during the coming days.  Thank you, Lord for loving me and giving me a new life! In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.


[1] How to Replace a Heart of Stone, Part 2 by Marilyn Conrad & Dan Gabel, Sept. 1998, <http://www.covenantkeepersinc.org/archive/98/sep.htm>

[2] School of Healing Prayer Manual, Level 2, page 49, Christian Healing Ministries, <http://www.christianhealingmin.org/>

[3] School of Healing Prayer Manual, Level 2, page 49, Christian Healing Ministries, <http://www.christianhealingmin.org/>

[4] Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary (Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster Inc., 1985), 598.

[5]Rita Cater, Mapping the Mind (London, England: University of California Press, Ltd. 1999), 176.

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