Praying While Dealing With Voices by David Lee Chu Sarchet
As someone who frequently hears voices and has intrusive thoughts, I find it really difficult to pray to God at times. Whenever I attempt to pray, I hear distracting voices and I get intrusive thoughts that tell me things like, “You are God”, “People are praying to you”, and “People are worshiping you”. These voices and thoughts cause me a great amount of stress and make me not want to pray.
However, I know that I need to pray because in order to make it day by day- moment by moment- I need to rely solely on His strength alone. Since I realize this, I have decided to pray my own way that helps me.
In this blog I hope I can encourage anyone else who is in my position to not be afraid to pray either. When it comes to prayer while dealing with voices, there are three things to keep in mind:
- 1) You do not need to force yourself to keep praying
- 2) God does not love you any less
- 3) The voices are telling you lies.
I will expound on each of these points in this blog and I will also give you a guideline on how you should pray from a biblical perspective.
Do Not Force Yourself
I know that this point is a very important one that I think many of us miss. We want our prayers to be honoring to our King and we feel that if we end our prayer in the middle then God will not be pleased with us. However, anyone who believes that one must hold to a strict view of prayer that says you must force yourself to pray all the way to the end are in violation of the, “I desire mercy not sacrifice,” principle of Matthew 9:13.
This means that God desires us to freely communicate with Him and not in some legalistic fashion. God is not honored by our legalism. Actually, our legalistic acts dishonor Him. So, when you are praying, if the voices or intrusive thoughts become more than you can bear do not be afraid to stop your praying. God will not condemn you for ending your prayer early.
I used to struggle with this because I thought that as a “good Christian” I must force myself to pray no matter what and if I stopped then God would be displeased with me. If you are someone who struggles with this, then I remind of Romans 8:1 which says, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” If you are in Christ, then nothing you do or say will ever condemn you because of what Christ did on your behalf.
We need to keep this truth in mind whenever the enemy tries to make us feel guilty for not praying enough.
This next point is something that we need to seriously ponder. For those of us who are in Christ, nothing will ever separate us from His love.
According to Romans 8:37-39, nothing in all of creation will be able to separate us from His love. This means that even when our voices interrupt our prayers and cause us to stop praying, the Lord Jesus Christ still loves us. This is a truth that I took me many years to learn because I used to believe that I was one sin away from God forsaking me, but now I know that is a lie straight from the pit of hell.
The Lies of the Voices
This is something that the Lord really put on my mind because I used to struggle with not being able to tell reality from fantasy. However, now I know the importance of staying grounded in the Word of God. When I am in His Word, I know that whatever the voices tell me are lies when they contradict His Word.
Most of the time the truth is evident, but sometimes I must dig deep into the Word, but I always do find the truth. If you are reading this and you have trouble hearing voices, I would encourage you to compare everything you hear to His Word because His Word is truth. Anything that contradicts His word is false.
In this section, I will outline exactly how we must pray according to our Lord. In Matthew 5:8-13, Jesus gives us this prayer as a template for how we should pray,
“Our Father in heaven
Hallowed be Your name
Your kingdom come
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven
Give us this day our daily bread
And forgive us our debts
As we forgive our debtors
And do not lead us into temptation
But deliver us from the evil one
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen”
I will now proceed to break this prayer down line by line:
“Our Father in heaven”
Jesus tells us to acknowledge God as our Father. This has connotations of intimacy. The Father is our Heavenly Father who loves us and invites us into perfect communion with Him for all of eternity and nothing can ever break that bond.
“Hallowed be Your name”
Even God is our Father, we must still always to remember to honor Him as our King. He is the ruler and sustainer of all creation and everything was created by Him and for Him. We owe our very existence to Him.
“Your Kingdom come Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven”
This is simply a petition asking for God’s will to be accomplished on this earth just like it is in heaven. One could say that this is an acknowledgment that of the consummation of the New Heaven and New Earth when Jesus Christ returns in His majesty and splendor.
“Give us this day our daily bread”
This is a humble acknowledgement of our need for Christ because apart from Him we cannot do anything. You may think that you have everything you need because of your hard work, but the only reason you can even work is because of the Lord sustaining your body and giving you strength to get through the day. We must always keep in mind that we are utterly dependent upon Him for literally everything.
“And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors”
Jesus is saying that our forgiveness is so closely tied to our forgiving of others. If we truly understand the depths of our sinfulness and how much God has shown us grace in Christ, it should be really easy for us to forgive other people because their offenses are minor compared to our offenses to the infinitely Holy God.
“And do not lead us into temptation but deliver us from the evil one”
This is an acknowledgement of our utter dependence on God to keep us from temptation. The Lord promises us in 1 Corinthians 10:13 that He will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we can bear and that He will provide us with the way out when we are tempted too.
“For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen”
We always end the prayer in adoration of our amazing God who is forever praised. This keeps us humble because we understand that we are not God. This especially helps me whenever the voices start telling me lies about me being God.
I hope that this blog article helps someone out there and I thank you for taking the time to read my blog. Soli Deo Gloria!
-David Lee Chu Sarchet
Christian Mental Health Advocate
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