Counseling Notes: Spiritual Trauma & Prayer

By: Kyle J. Howard Topic: Biblical Counseling, Practical Theology, Soul Care, Trauma

One of the reasons why prayer can become an obstacle for those w/ spiritual trauma is b/c prayer is often not taught as fellowship. When prayer is simply asking for things, trauma can make it exhausting. When prayer is fellowship & an act of laying soul bare; it becomes a refuge.

Prayer is PRIMARILY fellowship with God. Prayer requests are a component of prayer, but should not be the primary mode of practice. God has given has a prayer manual in the psalms & the psalms are filled with examples of saints laying their soul’s bare before their covenant God.

There is power in prayer. Not only power in reality that God answers requests, but power in reality that no Earthly power can thwart the saints ability for their cries to reach heaven & the Holy Spirit to provide comfort/peace. The most broken believer is mighty B4 the throne.

Beloved Christian, in your darkest moment you have access to greatest light. When those w/ worldly power silence you, you have a voice that is carried by Jesus himself to your Father’s ear & he delights to hear from you. You’re not alone, You have both power & community in prayer

In light of this, when ministering soul care to those with spiritual trauma who struggle to both pray & read Bible, there is often a layer of deconstructing that needs to take place.

Is the Bible merely a tool for truth or is it the voice of God & a means of communion w/ him?

Often, people who have spiritual trauma have had the Bible weaponize and have been taught that the Bible is a tool for information not a means for communion. The Bible becomes a trigger b/c it has been wielded as a weapon. They need to learn it’s actually a means of communion.

Prayer has been taught to be something that empowers their abusers (pray for your leaders, those who have abused) & instead of being source primarily meant to cultivate communion w/ God, it’s been used as a tool to empower the powerful. It becomes a bitter practice, not sweet.

Healing from spiritual trauma often requires comprehensive deconstructing. Deconstructing toxic theology & toxic culture that has been baptized. Comprehensive healing is unlikely to happen if deconstructing doesn’t take place or if hurt leads wounded sheep into false teaching…

Deconstructing is not for the purpose to destroy, it for the purpose of cleansing. Christians healing from spiritual trauma only compound pain and struggle when they exchange one form of toxic theology & culture for another. We deconstruct so that we may rebuild health in place.

Kyle J. Howard currently serves the church as a Christian counselor. He is a student at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary where he received his associate degree in biblical/theological studies and a bachelor’s degree in biblical counseling. He currently lives in Atlanta & is finishing an advanced M. Divinity in Historical Theology and ultimately desires to pastor.

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