"Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and God saved them from their distress."
Prayer can be a grace-filled aid on your healing journey. It helps you to center when you are feeling overwhelmed by memories of abuse or by the stress of everyday triggers. It allows your body to relax so that your physical, emotional, and spiritual wounds may heal. Perhaps most importantly, it is a reminder that you are not on this journey alone. God is with you.
Here is a helpful prayer practice for anytime of day:
If you have just a few moments, bring your attention to your body. Feel your feet on the ground. Notice your breath. In and out. Breathe from your belly. In...and out. Take time to breathe, knowing you don't have to rush. In...and out. Choose a prayer phrase that brings you comfort or affirms your healing such as "The Lord is my Shepherd. I shall not want." or "God is with me. I feel safe." Say this prayer phrase ten times as you breath. Pray the first line as you breathe in. Pray the second line as you breathe out. When you are done, take notice of any gentle shifts in your body. Do you feel a little more relaxed, focused, or peaceful? Thank God for being with you and close your prayer with an "Amen" or "Blessed be."
"I wait for the Lord,
my soul waits...."
It is understandable that you may feel despair. I certainly have. You may feel that today's pain and today's struggles will always be with you...and, let's be honest, sometimes they will be.
But take heart that today's struggles - even the ones that may be chronic or lifelong - may not always impact you in the same way as they do today. Perhaps you will be able to secure additional support from friends, a counselor, or a social worker. Perhaps you your financial situation will change. Perhaps your perspective on something will shift, yes, even while the chronic situation or conditions remain.
Affirm what you are feeling today. Yes, your situation is painful and challenging and make that known to others and to God.
Then, in your prayer, ask God to help you dedicate a piece of your heart to hope so that on the days when despair enters, it will not overcome you fully. You will always know, somehow, deep in your heart that you will be able to carry on to tomorrow.
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Along the healing journey, consider talking with a trusted friend, family member, minister, or counselor. You are not alone. In moments of despair, remember to reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 800.273.8255 or go to your nearest emergency room.
If you need other support, consider calling the National Domestic Violence Hotline, the Rape, Abuse, Incest National Network, or other resources that can be found here.