Specific Prayer that Moves You Toward Healing

Though I love to speak about sex now, that has not always been the case. In fact the first two years I taught classes, I felt so nervous that my lip quivered. Friends used to compare me to Moses because I looked so miserable. They figured I must have felt called by God. But God transforms lives even from ordinary circumstances.  I vividly remember the specific prayer that led to my healing.

The Realization

My church had asked if I would facilitate a women’s bible study on marriage. The first lesson focused on how our past impacted our present. I had always realized that my fear of speaking was deep rooted from a childhood incident.

I vividly remember my first-grade teacher calling role. Afterwards she asked, “Did I miss anybody?”

I timidly raised my hand.

“Yes, what is your name? “she said.

With as much confidence as I could master, I said, “Uth Inka.”

“What?”, she said.

“Uth Inka”, I repeated.

“What?”

“Uth Inka”, I slowly stated, fighting back tears.

My name was Ruth Lenker and I had entered elementary school completely clueless to the fact I couldn’t say my L’s or R’s.

Specific Prayer

Even though I recognized the impact of my past experience, I had never specifically prayed for healing from it.

That morning before I taught, I went and say by myself in the sanctuary to pray. And rather than just praying like I normally did for God to help me relax and calm my nerves, I asked God to heal me. I asked God to heal me from that specific past experience that held so much power over who I believed I was and what I could do.

Healing

In an instant, I knew that God had healed me. Even though I still felt the normal nervousness that comes with public speaking it was profoundly different. My lip didn’t quiver, my mouth was not parched, I felt calm, under control and even enjoyed myself.

Afraid to tell anyone lest I prove myself wrong, praying for healing of that specific experience has forever changed my life.

I sometimes wonder if God does not answer prayer because we do not pray specific enough. We might pray for healing but it feels too vulnerable to share what we need healing from. Or maybe it feels too painful to figure out what we need healing from.

I have had women in class that are on a journey of healing. Sometimes I sense they don’t really need any more clarity. They just need the courage to ask for what they specifically want…

God, give me freedom to share my body

Help me to trust my husband again

God, give me freedom

God, heal me from the memory of ….

I am not suggesting that if we just pray the right way, God will do what we ask. But there is something in naming it, claiming it, and believing that God is able. Even as God walks us through the process of praying specifically, some level of healing comes.

Final Thoughts

So take the time to wrestle with your past. Find a friend or a counselor to help you through the process. Host an Awaken Love class and tackle some of your sexual baggage with friends. Know that God is with you and though He loves you just as you are, He loves you enough to want more for you. Your past might shape you, but it does not have to control you.

Going After Sexual Healing

In Juli Slattery’s book Rethinking Sexuality, she talks about how seriously we pursue answers and healing when we face physical ailments. We see doctors for diagnosis, follow up treatments, and surgery. No matter what the cost, we keep looking for answers.  When medicine fails, we pursue spiritual healing. We pray, examine our lives, fast and ask elders to lay hands on us.  Then she asks, why don’t we pursue sexual healing with the same tenacity?

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Baggage Impacts Our Husband Too

As women, we can feel like everything about sex comes easily for our husband. How come our steely eyed husband can survive bad messages, straying into porn, or years of poor choices with no impact on their sex life? But the more I’ve taught men, and the more growth I’ve experienced in my own marriage, the more I’ve realized baggage does impact our husband. He may not readily admit or easily recognize baggage, but it’s there.

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Why Share your Sexual Baggage

A profound change happens during week 3 of  Awaken-Love, as we take turns sharing baggage that has impacted our marriage. I ask the women to share whatever they like, large or small, but to focus on how the baggage has impacted them or their marriage bed.

We share our baggage for several reasons…

Sharing our stories helps us to realize we are not alone. Every woman in the room has something that has impacted her marriage bed. Stories of shame or pain are received with grace and love. Stories of bad messages are greeted with nods that know and understand.  Women recognize their own story in each other. Even though the details of our lives are different, we have much in common.

Healing comes from sharing hurts and sins with one another.

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The Speck in Our Life

Last week I was painting a friend’s house and I got something in my eye. I knew exactly when it happened. It hurt as the speck landed and my body immediately reacted with blinking and watering eyes. But in a few minutes it felt alright. Even though I knew the speck was still there, I kept working and totally forgot about it.

The speck must have found a safe place to hide – way back in my upper eyelid – because I didn’t even think about it until the next day. I woke up and my eye felt just a little funny, so I went downstairs to work. Within a couple of hours, my eye started to bother me. I asked my daughter to look and she could see this tiny speck way back in my upper eyelid, but she could not get it out. The next couple of hours I had periods of extreme pain, followed by periods where it wasn’t so bad. My body naturally started doing what it needed to do to get rid of the speck. My eyes watered profusely and sometimes blinked uncontrollably as the tiny speck worked its way out.

By the time I finally went to the doctor, the tiny speck had moved to the edge of my lid where he easily plucked it out. It felt instant relief, but the pain still lingered. By this time, the damage had been done. My eyeball was scratched and sore. This tiny speck had caused so much pain and trouble and it was going to take time and care for my eye to completely heal.

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Amazing Stories

This year, we made a big change in the Awaken-Love class.  We started asking women to share their baggage. Our amazing stories are a testimony of how God works. We need to share our stories – even stories of how God has healed or forgiven us in our sex lives.

Impacting Others

In class I used to be afraid to ask women to share their baggage. But I have decided the Awaken-Love study is not just about the women in the class. I hope Awaken-Love will impact  every friend, relative or co-worker that their lives intersect with. Awaken-Love is one step in changing the whole culture of Christians and how they interact with others about sex. Christians ought to speak truth about sex everywhere they go – with their husband, with their kids, with their friends – even with non-believers. Sharing their stories of brokenness, how  God healed and redeemed them and the freedom that they now enjoy gives others hope that God is indeed a good, good God.

Week 3 of Class

When we talk about Lies, Baggage and Body Image Issues, I ask everyone to bring at least one piece of baggage they can share with class. It can be a small carry on or a giant suitcase. We don’t share specific details. But in respectful general ways, we communicate our experiences, how they affected our marriage bed, and the steps to gain freedom.

I feel astounded and humbled by the response. Women show each other trust and support. Every class  fully enters into the process of examining and sharing their past baggage. I have heard everything from…

  • innocent child play or body discovery that lead to years of shame
  • not knowing how to say no
  • non-consensual acts that led to promiscuity spinning out of control
  • not holding the lines of purity before marriage
  • struggles with porn or erotica
  • strong church messages of purity that led to inhibition
  • messages of sex being about fulfilling a husband’s needs

Every woman seems to have something and what might seem like nothing to one women can be a huge deal to another. Sometimes it is not even what happened, but it is the over reaction of a loved one that leaves a huge impact.

Next Steps

As teachers, we try to discern if there are next steps that need to happen. Sometimes we ask if we can lay hands on a woman and pray for her. Other times we sense that she needs to claim this for herself by asking God right there and then for exactly what she wants as we gather around her in agreement. Sometimes we discern that a wife needs to share with a husband and pray with him or ask a husband to pray over her.

I have seen women return to class the next week with smiles on their face and burdens lifted. Women have shared that they went home that night to have amazing conversations with loving husbands.  Women have released things that they were not supposed to carry and they have found a taste of the freedom that God desires for them.

You know, I used to say that God can heal in an instant or it can be a process. But recently I have realized that God may not always heal. Sometimes we are left with a thorn in our side like Paul and we may struggle our entire life. That thorn does not have to define us, or control us, but it can lead to a greater dependence on Christ as we live out surrender on a daily basis. We don’t have to hide our thorn from our loved ones, but we bear it with the one that fully knows us. And so, there are some intentional choices that we make as we step into living the life that God wants us to live – even when it is not easy.

Testimonies

My hope and desire is that the freedom these women experience as they throw away the code of silence, doesn’t just exist for them, but that it becomes a part of their testimony of God’s goodness. There are so many women that have experienced pain in their sexuality and it is time to start talking. Healing happens when you speak it out loud with another and you take it to the foot of the cross and you surrender it. God wants women to be whole.

Have you broken the code of silence about sexual baggage and what difference has it made for you?

Ruth Buezis

BAGGAGE

Dealing with my baggage had a profound impact on my marriage. I dug deep into my past, remembering the pain, and speaking it out loud to my husband. Tears flowed as I shared what for years I had brushed off as “no big deal.” Years of silence no longer held power as I reflected on how I had allowed these past experiences to affect my present. I prayed for healing, I prayed for forgiveness, I prayed for letting go and I prayed for freedom. Piece by piece, I dug up the stink, and every time God showed up.

Child’s Play

Some of my baggage was child play – experiences which some might argue were completely innocent. But for whatever reason, these experiences had filled me with shame. Shame that had placed me in the virtual back corner of every room, just hoping to go unnoticed. No one knew -for over 40 years.

I remember while reading Kevin Leman’s Sheet Music out loud to my husband one night, he shared how many times wives share things with a counselor that they have never told their husband. I suddenly knew that he was talking about me and the floodgates opened. That night in my husband’s arms I shared about my child play experience and the shame that it filled me with. I had let silence hold so much power over my life and it was time to break down the walls.

Regrets

Raised in a Christian church, as a teenager I had committed to wait until marriage to have sex, but years at college took me far from God. When I met my husband, I was still a virgin, but immediately fell head over heels in love with him. I knew that during a couple of serious relationships, he had been sexually active. So I decided if he was going to fall in love with me, I needed to have sex with him.

All the years we were married, I resented him for the fact that I was not a virgin bride, and yet I was the one that had initiated sex. He never forced me or coerced me, I brought sex up. And if that wasn’t bad enough, I began questioning and wondering why he had not initiated or tried to coerce me. Did he really desire me or was I the consolation prize?

Now you need to know that I have the best husband in the world. He has never done anything to make me question whether he loves me. He has kept his eyes pure, he has always served me, loved me, encouraged me and provided for me. I let this baggage worm away in my head and question reality and truth. I had to confess my resentment to my husband, ask for forgiveness, and I had to pray to let go of my husband’s stuff.

Forgiveness

Some things are harder to let go of than others – my husband’s past relationships – was probably the hardest. It was a choice to stop wondering, comparing and questioning whether he chose me or if I was a consolation prize. I had to consciously decide to believe my husband instead of letting my head spin wherever Satan would take it. But healing has come and it is amazing. My healing has also lead to my husband having more confidence in himself. He no longer has to tip toe around wondering if I will question and prickle and look for ulterior motives. I simply take him at his word. I believe him. And I trust him.

This renewed trust  has opened up doors that I never knew possible. I believe my husband when he adores my body and I love his eyes on me. I am confident in my own desires and know that when I share them it is an absolute thrill for him. My husband has even begun to talk about some of his baggage, because I am no longer hyper sensitive when he brings up his past. We freely share in bed – all kinds of delights and we delight in each other.

But most of all, God has shown up and in very real ways shown us the power of prayer. He is good.

How has dealing with your baggage changed your marriage?

Ruth Buezis