Back when I was in “God’s church,” we were told that in order to pray the way God would hear you, you had to get down on your knees for one hour, following the outline of Matthew 6:9-13. We were to have our own personal prayer notebook that we opened every morning, with everything written down, so we wouldn’t forget anything.
First, we were to confess our sins because, after all, God wouldn’t hear one word we uttered unless we did this first. Then we were to tell God what we were thankful for. We could never be thankful enough for the “truth” they told us. Being called into His “true Church” was at the top of the list.
Next, we were to pray for “God’s Work,” the Apostle or Elisha, and then for each of the evangelists, ending with our local pastor, the elders, etc. (This came under the heading of “Thy Kingdom come.”) Then we started praying for everybody else’s needs (mostly those in the “true church”). Lastly, we could squeeze in some requests for ourselves–if we weren’t too tired by that time, or if it wasn’t too “selfish.”
I even remember reading that if we started to pray in bed before we went to sleep, we were to immediately “get out of bed and get down on the floor, because God does not hear sleepy-time prayers!” That stuck with me for a long time. No wonder when we leave we can find it hard to pray–especially on our knees on a daily basis. We can even find it hard to pray at all!
By T. H.
Exit & Support Network™
When exiting an abusive group, you may suffer from complex post traumatic stress disorder and, even if you know Jesus as your Savior, you feel you cannot pray anymore. But just saying something brief like, “Please help me through this,” or “Please send me some encouragement” is adequate. Later, as you heal more, try talking talk to Him like you would talk to a close friend. You don’t have to do anything ritualistic, such as getting down on your knees, closing your eyes, praying according to the clock, or praying according to a formula. Go off somewhere quiet where you can be alone. No matter how faltering your words may be, He’s always there to listen and not condemn. In time you can ask Him to show you what He’s like (His love, His mercy, His faithfulness) and tell Him how hard it is at this point to trust Him and that you really have doubts, but wish you didn’t. He will understand and accept that, and He will hear you. While it may take a long time to feel His love, and to know what He’s really like, due to how you were taught a false, angry God in the group, He will always be with you and He will help and strengthen you. All you need do is ask.