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#393705 - 04/17/12 01:19 AM Prayer as a trigger
traveler Online   confused
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 3518
Loc: somewhere in Africa
When I was a little kid, the step-father would sporadically insist on having “family devotions.” This meant that after supper, I would clear the dirty dishes away and then all of us would sit at the table for another eternity or two. First he or mom would read a passage from the Bible. That part wasn’t so bad. I could usually find something interesting if it was a story. But sometimes I didn’t sit straight enough or acted distracted or something and that would make him mad. We had a verbal quiz afterwards and I was usually nervous about not answering right. Sometimes that would get me in trouble – as if I wasn’t listening. Then we would have to pray. That was the worst. I would frequently get criticized for the way I prayed: the things I prayed about or the way I worded it or whatever. It really made me anxious and I dreaded those devotions almost as much as the whippings. This was all before the age of 13. I don’t think we ever did it after I turned 13 and we moved away from the house where most of the abuse happened.

Later – in my mid-20s to early 30s, my wife and I got into a cult in which the practice of group prayer was very highly valued and emphasized. I hated that part of the meetings. Sometimes it would be the whole congregation together and the leader would insist that individuals would spontaneously pray out loud, one after another. Other times, we were split up into smaller groups of maybe 4-6 and everyone had to take turns praying out loud non-stop for what seemed like hours. Other times we all had to pray out loud at the same time. And this was not nice polite moderate prayer – but loud, vehement, insistent, demonstrative and competitive. Often we would be scolded, and berated for not being loud or “violent” enough. I felt intimidated, inadequate, and very much “at home.”

Then there were the three miscarriages we had. At least one of them, we were told by the church elders that it was our fault for not being submissive to their leadership and making decisions on our own. Of course, I had my own theories on why they happened and it was all about my worthlessness as a potential father because of my history. I was convinced that it was all my fault. That was really traumatic – not only losing the babies, but “knowing” that I was to blame. We eventually had three kids but I was nervous and worried all the way through each pregnancy.

Now I am finding it increasingly difficult to sit through prayer times in any church or study group setting. I can usually force myself to behave normally – sometimes even go through the motions of voicing a prayer that seems acceptable to the others there. But I feel like such a failure – tainted by the past – and a phony – I don’t know if I really even believe that prayer does any good any more. Certainly there have been so many prayers of mine that seem to have gone unanswered and for all I know – unnoticed.

This morning my wife asked what I thought of taking our daughter to a “Faith Healer” for prayer. This is not a big-name, famous TV personality, but just a local pastor who seems to have a somewhat effective record of having prayed for people who have improved afterwards. I got really anxious about it. Our daughter has three very severe conditions that cause her nearly constant pain, inability to eat and digest food normally, and weakness/inability to get through the day doing just the bare minimum of routine activities.

I would do almost anything to see her get well. But I don’t know if I can go and submit to a guy that might tell me that her illnesses are my fault and that my lack of faith is what is keeping her sick. I am very afraid that if we go to a person whose special ministry or gift is prayer for healing – and it doesn’t work – that I will lose what little faith I still have. And that thought terrifies me –

What should I do? Not as if I can pray for an answer to this one…
Lee
_________________________
As my life goes on I believe somehow something's changed
Something deep inside...
I've been searchin so long to find an answer
Now I know my life has meaning
Now I see myself as I am, feeling very free...
When my tears have come to an end I will understand
What I left behind: a part of me. Chicago


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#393721 - 04/17/12 05:26 AM Re: Prayer as a trigger [Re: traveler]
SamV Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/13/09
Posts: 5947
Loc: Talladega, Alabama, USA
Lee I know the discouragement of losing faith, I feel you fellow survivor. God is not your physical father, nor is he the condemning spiritual leader that went against God's Will and treated you with harshness. You understand that, but it is so very difficult to not see our loving Heavenly Father from the perspective of a hurt, abused little boy that is not being protected by his father, but may also be being hurt by the same. No less than seven times in the Scriptures does God plead with us to learn and be forgiven so that we can come to know him, and that he is kind. Isaiah 48:17 is my favorite scripture that shows God begging with us in his desire to connect with us. First then, let us understand that what God offers is generous and patient, long lasting, complete in providing us relief and comfort.

The function of prayer. Almighty God knows our hearts, he understands our needs and wants, as we understand an infant's needs and wants, so why do we need to direct prayer to him? Matt 6:9 helps us understand the need to give God glory and praise. This priorities our thinking, for in doing God's Will, we are satisfied sufficiently for whatever in this world confronts us. Then we tell him of our concerns. He always listens.

The suffering of your daughter and the agony only a parent understands must be overwhelming, I feel that pain. We want the best, the cheeriest and the most satisfying experiences for our children, and when they hurt, we agonize. As parents, we will try all, everything to help them feel good, to stop the pain. This brings me to the second part of prayer, listening to God's answers. Isaiah 48:17-19, I mentioned it before, goes on to tell us what we and our offspring have to look forward to as we listen to Almighty God, I hope you read it. Prayer is about aligning our priorities, and reading God's Word is the understanding we need to do his will, and live a life that is blessed, that is protected by careful, well thought out decisions. In reading God's Word, we find our faith, our confident present and our hope in the future.

For years Lee, your physical father used prayer to discipline, embarrass and destroy. He was wrong. It is time to build your own thoughts, your own concepts and build upon the faith that you would not depart from, that you have not given up on, that you know to be personally beneficial in your life.

See prayer through your own eyes, pray with your daughter, short simple prayers of hope, love, beauty and strength, what does she think of your prayers?

Sam
_________________________
MaleSurvivor Moderator Emeritus 2012 - 2014

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#393722 - 04/17/12 05:48 AM Re: Prayer as a trigger [Re: traveler]
traveler Online   confused
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 3518
Loc: somewhere in Africa
thanks, Sam.
I will try to think this through seriously.
lee
_________________________
As my life goes on I believe somehow something's changed
Something deep inside...
I've been searchin so long to find an answer
Now I know my life has meaning
Now I see myself as I am, feeling very free...
When my tears have come to an end I will understand
What I left behind: a part of me. Chicago


Top
#393749 - 04/17/12 11:15 AM Re: Prayer as a trigger [Re: traveler]
SamV Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/13/09
Posts: 5947
Loc: Talladega, Alabama, USA
Feel free to PM me, I want to know how you and your family are, ok?
_________________________
MaleSurvivor Moderator Emeritus 2012 - 2014

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#393814 - 04/17/12 07:52 PM Re: Prayer as a trigger [Re: traveler]
traveler Online   confused
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 3518
Loc: somewhere in Africa
Bottom line:

I DO BLAME MYSELF! - if i had not taken a new job and moved to where my daughter's accident happened, she would not be in this condition.

I DO BLAME GOD! - i know all that stuff about how He doesn't intervene because it would violate our free will and we can't second-guess Him because He's greater and wiser and all... BUT - it doesn't really satisfy what i think and feel.

AND somehow i still feel like i deserve whatever happens. and if bad stuff happens it just "proves" that.

those 3 statements were really hard for me to say.

Lee
_________________________
As my life goes on I believe somehow something's changed
Something deep inside...
I've been searchin so long to find an answer
Now I know my life has meaning
Now I see myself as I am, feeling very free...
When my tears have come to an end I will understand
What I left behind: a part of me. Chicago


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#393820 - 04/17/12 08:29 PM Re: Prayer as a trigger [Re: traveler]
peroperic2009 Offline
Moderator
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/09/11
Posts: 3621
Loc: South-East Europe
Congratulation on your courage and honesty Lee!
Bottom line is that your first and last statements are universal and all parents/humans would feel like you under same circumstances, I really believe in that and I know some people in similar situation trapped in same loop...
Second statement - let your feelings out, there is nothing wrong being human and angry to anybody including God.
You have to be angry, there is huge pressure built inside you. Your daughter is ill and you are blaming yourself for some time, and additionally your faith taught you that some superpower is round a corner having possibility to solve any problem in second-depending on your personal faith. Upon all that you are helpless and nothing seems to work. All that put together is huge conflict and there has to be some way to pull that pressure out of your mind.
Share with us more Lee no matter how difficult is and how terrible could sound...
Pero
_________________________
My story

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#393857 - 04/18/12 12:58 AM Re: Prayer as a trigger [Re: traveler]
traveler Online   confused
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 3518
Loc: somewhere in Africa
two thoughts that keep bugging me:

1. when i was being abused i used to comfort myself with the thought that they could do what they wanted to my body - but they couldn't touch my real core SELF - my mind and my spirit. Well - now i find out that it wasn't true - what they did to me even managed to screw me up in those areas as well.

2. God - whatever happened or happens to me - just leave my kids out of it! whether i am to blame or not - they are not - in any way - deserving of being punished or made to suffer for anything that i may or may not have done!
_________________________
As my life goes on I believe somehow something's changed
Something deep inside...
I've been searchin so long to find an answer
Now I know my life has meaning
Now I see myself as I am, feeling very free...
When my tears have come to an end I will understand
What I left behind: a part of me. Chicago


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#402529 - 07/04/12 04:00 AM Re: Prayer as a trigger [Re: traveler]
Blessedcurse Offline


Registered: 06/05/12
Posts: 93
I have no smart things to say as I've been strugling with similar issues for years but I want to say I've read all of this and I feel your pain and somehow it's healing in some way to share these doubts and feelings. I deeply admire your honesty in this and also I want to say, if we ever meet God it won't be in lying and pretending but in the truth. And the truth is this that you write here, the doubt, the anger, the dispair and self blame. I actually think talking about these true feelings are neccesary to reach God, as opposed to many christians I've met who says anything that isn't praising God is sinful. So I admire you in this. How is it going?

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#402592 - 07/05/12 04:31 AM Re: Prayer as a trigger [Re: traveler]
traveler Online   confused
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 3518
Loc: somewhere in Africa
Blessedcurse -

good question - how's it going?

in a word - better!

it's hard to explain all of the steps in the progression of thoughts, feelings, decisions, realizations, learning, changes of attitude, and events between my last post on this thread and now. but i am definitely on better terms with God right now. i had to get some pretty negative and bitter thoughts and feelings out of my system and express them honestly before God. it was like - as long as i wasn't being real about it - there could be no progress. and then i could actually start to deal with some of it. some of it i have "dealt with" by acknowledging that i don't have answers - and maybe never will have answers that i can understand or accept. in other areas i have actually had my faith strengthened.

my daughter's health has improved somewhat - pretty big improvement - but she still has other health issues. we did go to that church where our daughter, A, got prayed for by the pastor. i was very anxious about it. but it was good. very low-key and nothing that spooked me. and the biggest thing was that A improved. she had been vomiting every day - usually every time she ate - sometimes more often - and was in constant pain. that was over two months ago. she has only vomited once since then. she had other symptoms - including lots of pain, still, but we are hoping for more improvement. She has stopped all her meds - over 30 pills a day - some to counter-act the side-effects of others. She is doing OK without most of them, though occasionally she'll take one for pain or anti-nausea. and that is amazing.

we have started going to that church every week and they continue to pray for her. i started going to a men's group too - something that used to make me very nervous. the principles that the pastor is teaching are exactly what i needed (lots of stuff about relating properly to God as the perfect Father - a big issue for me because of my father's death and step-father's abuse.) so i guess i could say that it has been an answer to prayer in more than one area.

i don't give the credit to the church or pastor, but to God. i am still pretty gun-shy about many things to do with church, God and faith, but am becoming more open and trusting to further work in my life by God. I don't get why some prayers are answered and others are not - but i'm just thankful for those that are.

There are some other posts that i wrote between then and now that might also fill in some of the gaps. but that's enough for this update. hope that helps a little. PM me if you want more details.

Lee
_________________________
As my life goes on I believe somehow something's changed
Something deep inside...
I've been searchin so long to find an answer
Now I know my life has meaning
Now I see myself as I am, feeling very free...
When my tears have come to an end I will understand
What I left behind: a part of me. Chicago


Top
#402836 - 07/07/12 12:38 PM Re: Prayer as a trigger [Re: traveler]
Older1 Offline


Registered: 12/19/11
Posts: 51
Dear Lee: As I read through these posts, I started with sadness and compassion, sharing your various pains and anxieties. All of us with children can sympathise with your situation..... indeed, none of our children are perfect.... nor are we ourselves.
God's boundless and endless love is given to all, even to those who do not ask. Be patient, for we never see the whole picture.
You are a very conscientious person, and I am sure you have made all your decisions wisely. I was pleased to see your increasingly positive (and hopeful) tone in your last post. Carry on!!

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