Condemning oneself, punishing oneself and living in guilt - these are not healthy pathways and do not support and encourage emotional healing and personality transformations. However telling yourself you do not need to feel guilty about something does not break the hold of guilt. Right head knowledge does not change our heart beliefs. If we have a heart belief that we are guilty we need a message that reaches our heart and can change our heart.
When we use the picture and story language of the heart we will be using our imagination in prayer. When we yield our imagination tothe Holy Spirit and picture an encounter with Jesus, the result can be a living encounter with Jesus and a revelation from heaven that heals our heart. The prayers in this book are usually encounters with Jesus. The reason for that is that it is easier for us to picture Jesus as we have many stories about his life. Their purpose is to allow you to receive life-changing revelation from God that heals your heart. The resulting revelation may be as simple as a feeling of comfort. It may involve hearing Jesus speaking God's truth to deal with wrong thought. It might involve seeing our inner child playing with Jesus and having the fun we missed out on in childhood. It can involve stepping into our memories to intervene in some way. The healing revelation can come through in any of these forms because we have individual giftedness in learning and in hearing from God. The prayers in this book are encounters with Jesus. Their purpose is to allow you to receive life-changing revelation from God that heals your heart. In the majority of these prayers we will use the language of pictures and stories to initiate prayers that speak to the heart with faith of the heart. 'Listening' in these prayers is a broad category that includes hearing what Jesus is saying, seeing what he is doing or feeling his presence. Forgiveness experienced, forgiveness received at the heart level, is life changing. For our heart to be assured of the love of God is emotional healing. To know with assurance, that our sins are forgiven brings great relief. In the process our inner barriers to communication with God will come down. In my practice of Listening Prayer Therapy, an imagined encounter with Jesus opens the heart to receive a revelation from God which produces a heart-felt experience of forgiveness by God. This experience of heart forgiveness from God brings comfort, deep relief from guilt and healing to the heart. It was first used by Agnes Sanford and taught and written about by here. Agnes Sanford knew that we needed to work with the unconscious mind to accomplish prayer. She called that part of us with a ‘mind of it’s own,’ ‘Junior.’ She treated the unconscious mind as a child, in fact, as a stubborn child that cannot be directly ordered around but that could be cajoled to cooperate with a wise motherly approach. She used a Listening Prayer way to provide the heart experience of forgiveness. We can learn from her wisdom.
Agnes Sanford taught those she was praying for to use pictures to get in touch with God. She asked the boy with the bone that would not heal to picture God's healing light coming in to his leg and to picture what activities he would like to do when his leg had healed. She knew that the unconscious (heart, emotional brain) automatically orients to achieve the picture you give it. That is why Sanford wanted positive language and pictures in the minds and imaginations of those she was praying with. Overcoming Guilt with Heart Forgiveness The heart experience of forgiveness requires the language of the heart. The language of the heart involves story and picture. It is like telling a story to a small child. Therefore, Agnes Sanford would involve us in an imagined encounter with Jesus in order to to provide the heart experience of forgiveness.
A woman, in the later years of her life, carried depression and guilt from a minor sexual incident when an early teen. Therapists had tried to tell her that she did not need to feel guilty about the incident but that did not relive her life-long depression. An expert healer, Agnes knew better than to try to convince her not to feel guilty. Principle: do not use words to try and change a strongly rooted core belief of the heart. Instead use the language of pictures and stories to initiate prayers that speak to the heart and allow an encounter with Jesus. Agnes held her own words of assurance in check and found a way that the woman could hear something straight from God. She knew that a revelation from God would have more power and authority in the woman's heart than her own attempt to assure her of forgiveness. Hebrews 4:12 tells us how powerful is the revelation to us of God’s word spoken to us. This is the verse that says that the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any Principle: if a person can hear the word of God spoken to them it can and will change their heart. Therefore, Agnes asked the lady to imagine going for a walk in the fields with Jesus, confessing her sin to him and asking forgiveness of him. The woman did picture meeting with Jesus, asking for forgiveness and then experienced Jesus speaking to her of God's love and forgiveness. Principle: Use an imagined encounter with Jesus as one way to enable a person to receive a healing word from God - a truth that heals the heart. Immediately, the woman had the joy of knowing that Jesus had forgiven her. By experiencing forgiveness, the women's life-long depression was lifted. Principle: Time cannot be depended upon to heal a deeply rooted core belief. What Agnes Sanford did was invite this woman into a story that involved herself and Jesus. By using this imagined story, the woman was speaking Biblical language and God's preferred language. God sent Jesus to incarnate God in human form. Jesus is God's best story. When the woman pictured Jesus and asked about forgiveness, she was talking God's language. We all know the story of Jesus death on the cross for our sins. Forgiveness of sins is part of the Jesus story. In these imagined stories, the Holy Spirit often speaks through the story character of Jesus and there is a powerful revelation of God that penetrates the heart and heals lives. When she hears Jesus assure her of forgiveness of sins, this is going to speak to her heart. She is speaking heart language, involving Jesus who died for her sins and asking him who is God incarnate for forgiveness of a particular sin. It is very likely that the Holy Spirit used the story to speak through Jesus in the story. She received a breakthrough that no therapy or human assurance had yet been able to produce. Agnes was a master of the language of the heart. She knew to use a story and to use the woman's own imagination. She had been guiding Christians and nonChristians in healing prayer for a long time and made effective use of people's imagination for this. Agnes found a way for the deep truth of the cross and the forgiveness of sins to speak to the guilt in the heart of this woman. She knew that this Christian woman knew intellectually that Jesus died on the cross for her sins. If you are to master inner healing through listening prayer therapy, then you must use biblical picture language, imagined story and expect revelation word of God to breakthrough for those you minister to. There are many examples in this book of how to use the picture language of the heart so that the Holy Spirit is able to communicate God's word to the heart and heal your life. This book invites you to master this skill. Agnes Sanford often taught those she was praying for to use pictures to get in touch with God for healing. She asked the boy with the bone that would not heal to picture God's healing light coming in to his leg and to picture what activities he would like to do when his leg had healed. Note She knew that the unconscious (heart, emotional brain) aligns to a picture of the goal. She wanted positive language and pictures in the minds and imaginations of those she was praying with.
Overcoming Guilt with Listening Prayer In a listening prayer encounter, ask Jesus a clear simple question such as, ‘Do you forgive me?’ This opens us to hear from Jesus and, therefore, to overcome guilt through a direct word from God. That provides the heart assurance of forgiveness. Step One- Verbal Confession: In words you describe your sin and you ask for God to forgive you. Step Two - Forgiveness Scene: Create a scene where you can meet with Jesus. What place would you choose? picturing meeting with Jesus to confess to him directly. This may allow the other to receive a revelation from God through Listening Prayer of God's forgiveness. In this part of the prayer I do not required that my client speak aloud. I ask him or her to describe the setting where they will meet with Jesus. I ask them to invite Jesus to join them. The rest of the imagined scene does not need to be aloud. This part can be in my client's imagination - just between them and Jesus. I will ask them to let me know when they are finished. At that point, I will ask for an account of the details. There are many ways to set up the forgiveness scene. I will provide some possible scenarios below. Step Three: If your person does not specifically ask for forgiveness then suggest they ask a specific question to Jesus that requires a response. Tell them to ask Jesus, "Do you forgive me?" or "Does God forgive me?" Different Scenarios to use for Meeting with Jesus Possible scenes to use are the following: 1.You are walking with the Risen Christ like the disciples on the road to Emmaus. Tell Him where you fell short. Ask Him "Do you forgive me?" Wait, watch, listen, and sense His response. 2.I might say, "If you were to meet Jesus as you along the pathway of your life, and if you were to ask him to forgive you, what would He say?" After my client's response, I say, "Okay. Close your eyes and go through that scene in your mind's eye. Do not rush. Wait and watch for Jesus' response. Let what he says sink in. See how it feels." 3.Imagine you are a young child coming to Jesus for him to lay hands on you and bless you. Ask Him if you can be forgiven for your sins. Wait and watch for his response. 4.Your client may have a preferred imagined 'safe place' to meet with Jesus or they might want to create such a place. Have them describe in some detail where they would feel safe and comfortable, then use that setting. Just add Jesus. Step Four: Report to your prayer minister what happened. What did Jesus say or do? What did you sense or feel? Step Five: Receiving the healing. It is important to take some time to rehearse in your heart what Jesus said. Have you heard of 'soaking prayer?' Now is time to let his truth soak in. Take some time right after the forgiveness scene to hold it to your heart. Let it sink in. Step Six: Asking about Feelings. Therapist; at the right time asks, "How does that feel?" Feelings area good sign that the heart has been touched. By asking about feelings, you are staying at the heart level. The longer we stay at the heart level, the more this sinks in, the better for the client. Step Seven: Consolidate the Gain. It is possible to go further if there is obvious significance to your life. Here are the steps used to project forward the impact of the inner healing. a)I ask about the feelings that the person has after the healing encounter with Jesus. b)I create identity affirmations from feeling statements. If, after a healing encounter with Jesus, a client says they feel peaceful, then the identity affirmation is, "I am at peace," or "I am peaceful." Psychologically and "I am" statement is a description of identity of who I am. c)I ask them to imagine what life would be like if they lived with the truth of what Jesus said, with the feelings that flowed from that and aware of these new truths about their identity - the "I am" statements. Finish: Then, finish with prayers of thanks for what has happened and in your prayers restate the revelation received and thank God for it. Consolidation of Identity Change During an encounter with Jesus there can be a shift in core beliefs and core identity. False thoughts, beliefs lodged in the heart, will be dislodged. The events of the past, even trauma are being replaced. The healing scene from the encounter with Jesus takes precedence over the memory in the emotional brain. The feelings from the healing encounter replace the feelings generated by the memory of the past event. You want to consolidate that shift in identity be letting the feelings soak in, by giving thanks for it and by remembering it. For homework, ask the client to review and rehearse this scene, the feelings and the significant truths stated in the 'I am' form. They are to do this daily, at the start of each day, and to picture going through the day in this attitude. The therapist may use the scene, the feelings and God's truth statements - stated in the 'I am' form - as a basis for some projecting forward. Here the therapist asks, "What would it be like tomorrow to go through your day feeling like this?" The person receiving healing now rehearses the identity change in their imagination. Each time you do this, notice what feelings are associated with rehearsing it forward. Some of these can be made into a further description of the identity change and put as "I am" statements. The picture is held in mind, the feelings remembered, the words of Jesus rehearsed to strengthen the new identity. As you practice this scene, as your encounter with Jesus is remembered, as you meditate on God's truth for you, and as new feelings sink in to your heart, your new identity is being consolidated. Summary Listening Prayer therapy aims to make effective at the heart level theological truths that we know in our heads. Very often our knowledge head deep and our heart (unconscious, emotional brain) does not believe it. Only heart knowledge can change heart beliefs. We might know that God forgives us but until we hear it for ourselves directly and as revelation from God it does not heal our lives. Revelation from God is that living word spoken of in Hebrews 4:12 that is sharper than a two-edged sward and effective in matters of soul, heart and spirit.