All of us have experienced events that caused us pain. All of us will continue to experience difficulties. The good news is that we don’t have to stay in that place that allows the traumatic event to continually affect us. Jesus has provided a way out—He Himself and His presence are the way out and the assurance of healing. We don’t have to continue to struggle with a trauma.
When talking about these painful events that haunt our lives, I like to emphasize that the definition of a trauma is anything that makes us feel upset and alone. It does not have to be abuse or huge to be a trauma—it can be as simple as being left out of a game on the playground at school.
Being upset and alone is the problem that makes it a trauma.
Each week in my small groups we practice a method of prayer that can bring us freedom from our traumas. That method is called the Immanuel Process of listening prayer. This kind of prayer can also bring us to a closer relationship with Jesus as we connect and interact with Him.
Immanuel prayer takes us back to a traumatic memory where we realize that Jesus was there when it happened—and He shows us that we were not alone. Either we didn’t realize He was there or we have forgotten that He is everywhere at once. We know in our heads that He is omnipresent, but we don’t always experience His presence. Healing comes when we realize where Immanuel (God is with us) was in the painful event. When we experience His presence—in the past, present, or future—it changes things in a mighty way.
I find that as my groups consistently practice going to Jesus each week to listen, we are realizing more and more that He does speak through our thoughts. There are times we experience healing of painful memories right there in group, but even if there is no healing, most every week we all sense that Jesus is with us and hear Him say something to our hearts. We hear thoughts such as, “I love you, I understand your fears, I’ve got this, or I’m working there.” Here is a simple version of how I am leading this time:
I open in a general prayer, thanking Him that He is there and I ask Him to show us where He is in the room.
I say for each person to find in their minds a time when they knew that Jesus was with them and sensed His presence. This can even be when one got saved. We wait quietly for a minute. Then I do one or both of the following:
I ask Jesus to take us to a painful memory that He can heal in group. After a short time I tell them to ask Jesus, “What do you want me to know about this _____________?” We sit quietly. As Jesus shows someone a memory, He then shows the person where He was in that event and what He wants to show them about the painful memory from His perspective.
Sometimes I just ask Jesus to speak to each one of us and tell us what He wants us to know tonight. This may not be about a painful memory. Sometimes we do both. We sit quietly in between questions.
I say a general thank-you prayer of appreciation then ask if anyone wants to share. Every week, someone shares. Slowly but surely more are beginning to believe that they are hearing from Jesus. It is remarkable to hear the various ways He reveals Himself to each of us.
I’m not only doing this in group, but I am also using this question, “What do you want me to know about _____________?” as I write in my journal. In my journal, I write out what has happened, what I’m feeling, how much something hurts, if I’m angry—whatever is going on in my life. Then I ask the question, “Lord, what do you want me to know about this?” Then I get my pen ready, expecting and trusting that He is going to speak—and then I write what I hear in my thoughts. It is so encouraging to finish my time with His words of encouragement, love, insight and comfort. Since I have been using this question, my prayer life has become sweeter.
Listening to Immanuel has become a lifestyle as I turn to Him in my thoughts, in group or in my journal.
I believe He is with me and wants me to hear Him. If there is a blockage, I ask, “What do you want me to know about the blockage?” Sometimes He answers with, “You are too tired, you need someone to help you, or this it too big to work on right now.” I turn to Him in whatever is going on.
Through the years with practice it has become a way of life as Jesus brings different memories to mind that I might have had reoccur over the years. He is faithful to heal every trauma we bring to Him regardless of how small or how huge. He is faithful to encourage us as we interact.
We do not have to stay in our traumas.