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Prayer in a Marriage or Personal Crisis, Broken Heart and Depression

Here are some specifics on how to pray in times of personal crisis: divorce, 


How does one pray then in the midst of marriage breakup, divorce or breakdown of a serious legal relationship?

1.  As in praying for the prodigal or the lost, use the "Level Playing Field" prayer. The purpose of this prayer is to strip away Satan's power to veil the eyes of the person.

2.  Check out forgiveness as a secret of emotional safety and protection in times of emotional crisis - marriage breakup, for example.

3.  There is a prayer for care of a broken heart so you don't become bitter and unable to love again.

4.  Stick with me, here.  There is a place for praise when broken hearted and depressed

5.  Remember Footprints? Well, you can ask Jesus to carry you when life is overwhelming.

6.  Bad news?  Right in the middle of a marriage crisis something else may be happening.  You might be having a mini nervous breakdown.  Now that is not fair.  (But life is not always fair, is it?)

1.   Level Playing Field to Clear out the enemy in a situation

"Father, I take a stand, in Jesus name, against all the works of the enemy in this situation.

I claim protection for (names) that they be signed with the cross of Jesus, sealed with the blood of Jesus, hidden in Christ and protected all around with your holy angels.

I call upon God: for the presence of God within this situation, for the wisdom from above for each one, and for God's quick judgment upon the plans of Satan and the works of darkness in this situation.

I call for victory in Jesus name for God's truth and God's holy ones.

I claim defeat, in Jesus name, of Satan's power to veil minds. May all veils be removed and spiritual eyes be opened to see and know what is true.

I claim defeat, in Jesus name, of any and all fascination with sin or evil. May eyes be open to the beauty, grace and truth of God.

In the authority of Jesus I break the power of any curse, negative work or unbelieving prayer against anyone in this situation. I break it off in Jesus name and ask Jesus to break the power of any evil riding upon these curses or negative words.

May ears be open to God's Word, to the truth that sets us free. Feed us Father with your daily bread - Your very word spoken to us. Send forth Your Word of healing and blessing. For Your word is living and powerful and accomplishes Your purposes.

Praise be to God."

2.   Forgiveness as the Secret of Protection from Name-calling

If you want protection from name-calling and mud slinging in a relationship then you have some decisions to make. Do you need to fight back? Do you need to hurt the one that is hurting you?

Taking emotional revenge comes at a price. God will not protect you from emotional hurt.

If you want God to protect you emotionally then you have to give up your right to strike back. You cannot avenge yourself by hurting the other. Whenever you are act as your own protector you keep God out of it

However, as soon as you decide not to hurt the other God steps in to protect you. You will be amazed at the invisible shield that God puts up.

Decide to walk in forgiveness toward the other. As they hurt you forgive. 

Move into blessing the other. As the speak ill of you, you, in your mind, speak blessing toward them. "Father bless then, show them Your love. Give them your peace."


3.   Broken Heart to God - a Prayer in times of Heart Break and Depression

Your heart may be broken. If you give your heart to God it will mend right. If you don't it will have scars. It will be hardened and bitter. You will not be able to easily love again. So trust your heart to God.

He will hold those broken pieces in His hands. As they mend you will have a soft heart. You will be able to love again with increased love.

The verbal prayer goes like this: "Father my heart is broken. I feel like it is in pieces. I need to put my heart into your care. Will you take care of it for me? I want to be able to love again. I don't want to be bitter and brittle."

A physical way of expressing it is to physically reach out with the motion of giving your heart into the hands of Jesus.

Take time to listen to God. Wait for His affirmation that he will take your heart into His care. When you sense this, thank Him.

You can do the "Broken Heart to God" prayer as a story - an inner drama. Picture yourself taking your heart and placing it in the Father's hands. See Him take your heart into His hands. Ask Him to take care of your heart. Wait and see what happens. What do you sense? What do you feel? What do your hear? Give thanks.

4.   Pray with praise when broken hearted and depressed

In a personal crisis it is easy to get discouraged and lose faith. Ones spirits can droop and we become depressed. Praise to God counteracts this.

One highly important action to take in times like this is to find things to thank God for. Gratitude is a healthy feeling.

You can keep a blessing book. Every day note one blessing. This brings encouragement.

Keep praise and worship songs in one's life. Praise builds faith. Praise generates spiritual power even more than prayer.

Encourage yourself with praise. Learn an instrument. Collect praise songs. Read over praise psalms.

Write your own psalms of praise - crafted praise. Listen to God, meditate and write praises to God for His ability to work everything out for good.

It doesn't make sense but it works.  Praise in times of crisis.

5.   Use the "Carry Me Jesus" Prayer when Overwhelmed

There are time when one feels totally overwhelmed. Grief and loss of piled up. Depression rolls in. Painful memories are more then pleasant ones. Life's frustrations outnumber the satisfactions. The ones that are closest to you hurt or desert you. No one understands. Guilt may be extreme. Energy may be minimal. Unsolved problems compound. Anxiety builds. There doesn't seem to be any way out.

Do you want a Biblical description of deep depression to the point of being overwhelmed? Look at Psalm 142 and 143 for a variety of images describing depression. Note the following words and images in the King James version: 'my spirit was overwhelmed within me' (142:3, 143:4), 'no one cares for my soul' (142:4), 'I am brought very low' (142:6), 'Bring my soul out of prison' (142:7), 'the enemy has crushed my life to the ground, has made me dwell in darkness' (142:3), 'my heart within me is distressed' (143:4), 'my spirit fails' (143:7),  'lest I be like those who go down into the pit' (143:7).

Not only is one's life is a crisis, in these verses it seems one's heart, soul and spirit - one's very life - is on the line.

"Carry Me"

In this situation where one feel overwhelmed it appropriate to ask Jesus to carry you. Jesus is willing to carry you. Remember 'Footprints.'

The "Carry Me" verbal prayer would go like this: "Jesus I feel overwhelmed. I can't stand the pressure. It is too much for me. The burden is too heavy. I need you. I need you to carry me through this period of my life. Would you carry me?"

You are asking a question so take time to listen for the answer. Be still. Wait. Don't think but do note what thoughts come spontaneously to you. What images do you see or sense? What thought comes to you? Observe your feelings, thoughts and imagination for God's response. Thank him.

"Carry Me" refers to a picture of a lost sheep. Away form the fold this sheep is out in the cold night, scared and perhaps trapped where it cannot move. The shepherd must look for the lost sheep. The shepherd picks up this lost sheep and carries it home. The sheep is calmed and warmed by the shepherd's body and calm voice. The sheep is now safe with the shepherd and soon will be safe home with the flock. This feels good.

"Carry Me" is a inner prayer drama would go like this. Imagine yourself as a lost sheep. You are calling out for the shepherd. You are scared, wet, cold and trapped. You fee awful. Finally the Good Shepherd arrives. He picks you up. Calms you down. Dries you off and carries you home. You feel warmed and calmed as the shepherd carries you. Imagine how you feel. Take a few minutes to experience you, as this sheep, being carried along by the shepherd. Imagine how thankful you feel toward your shepherd. Imagine how good you feel when you are back home.

 When you are finished notice how you feel. If you have time write a prayer to Jesus the Good Shepherd that you can say every day - your own psalm.

7.  Nervous Breakdown and Positive Breakdown

Common language often conveys great insight. The term "nervous breakdown" reflects the people's experience. People can and do experience that "feel like I am having a nervous breakdown." So if you want a definition ask the people who have experienced it.

My sense of what this term means is a stressful period where one feels overwhelmed and where something is happening to one but one can't say what it is. It is a period of confusion. One doesn't know what is going on.  People in this state may frequently say, "I don't know."

What is my interpretation of this? The reason for the confusion is that there is major pressure on one's identity and practices patterns of being. There is a disintegration of one's assigned family role - of one's character pattern. This disintegration brings with it a confusion of one's identity?

What is happening is that a major character pattern that served in the past no longer serves. One is in an identity change. The old is passing away and the new is coming into place.

Dabrowski coined the phrase "Positive Disintegration," (Positive Disintegration, Little, Brown and Co., 1964). In his model of human development there is disintegration of one stage of development so that one may move up to a higher level of development. My understanding of what is breaking down is different than Dabrowski's but I am in his debt for the concept of a positive disintegration that leads to higher functioning.

God is the God of happy endings. In the case of a nervous breakdown, the happy ending is emerging with a new more functional pattern. For example, "People Pleasing" breaks down and the people emerge free to be themselves. A new life starts free from the fear of people.

 However it is possible that one does not emerge from the breakdown of the old character pattern If the nervous breakdown does not move through to a healthy new pattern then one may life in a state of hopelessness resignation. One may live in a continuous state of anxiety and or depression. One may display underlying bitterness or hostility. One lives as one without hope.

Counselling for a Nervous Breakdown

A wise counsellor helps to make a nervous breakdown into a positive breakdown. It is extremely important to access counselling resources at this time of one's life. Failure to experience a positive breakdown leaves one in the unhappy state described above.

 My role a counsellor is to give understanding of the process, to give hope of this positive outcome and to support the emergence of the new and the abandonment of the old identity.

As a Christian Transformational Counsellor, I identify what is breaking down in terms of the character patterns described by the Sandfords. Parental Inversion and Performance Orientation (Sandford, John and Paula, Transformation of the Inner Man, Bridge, 1982) are two such patterns.

I convey hope and confidence because I recognize what is happening. I understand the process. I understand the underlying belief systems behind the dysfunctional character patterns. I am like an experienced midwife. I don't control the process but I can coach and guide a person through it.

Everyone will have times when their life is in a crisis and their emotional resources are overwhelmed. This is normal. What is not normal is to never have a major overwhelming life crisis. As far as I know this does not happen. It is normal to have crisis times.

During the emotional turmoil of the nervous breakdown the client often lacks the emotional resources to do inner healing - Christian in depth prayer psychotherapy.

However, some of the tools of Listening Prayer Therapy (Listen to God, G. Hartwell, unpublished manuscript, can be used in the nervous breakdown. "Put it on the Altar", "Grief and Comfort" and "Carry Me" can be helpful.

The counsellor should recognize and rejoice when he or she sees someone pulling out of the breakdown in a positive way.

Signs of Pulling through your 'Breakdown'

What are the signs of someone pulling out of the breakdown in a positive way? 

During the time of identity confusion people will use the phrase: "I don't know." It must be "I don't know" without an object. My translation of "I don't know" is "I don't know who I am. I am confused about my identity right now." However, I will not hear "I don't know" when someone is pulling out of their time of disintegration.

What one does hear, if the person emerges from a pattern of people pleasing, is "I don't care anymore." I know that it is time to rejoice. Why? Because my interpretation is: "I don't care anymore to live my life living up to people's expectations. It is time to learn to be myself."

I can't identify as clearly the signal that people are disgusted with their pattern of being "Super Responsible." I don't know why that is. It may that "Super Responsible is more resistant to a positive breakdown. More observation is needed.

In counselling sessions the counsellor is often listening to the person and to God. We pray to make sure that God is invited into this character transformation process. The prayers used in "Listening Prayer Therapy" are used as appropriate in the session, as God leads. The counsellor carries some of the burden with the person as an intercessor. It is important to pray at the end of each session to release as much as possible of this burden to God.

The Prayer Series

1. Spiritual Warfare
2. Job Interview Prayer
3. Safe Prayers of Protection
4.  Prayer is a Life-style
5. Faith of the Heart
6. How to pray for difficult people
7. How to pray in a personal crisis
8. How to pray for physical Healing
9. How to break Curses

George's Basic Training in Prayer:

Some of the principles we follow in  praying include:

1. Prayer does not control or manipulate God or people,

2. Prayer must be based in faith. Do not pray when in unbelief. (One can confess unbelief and ask God for faith.)

3. Praying together must be based on agreement - not forced or presumed agreement, but real agreement of heart and mind.

4. It is good to link prayer to scriptural promises as long as you do not use Biblical promises to manipulate (or test) God. Therefore confirm Biblical promises with listening prayer.  Do not move in presumption which is to test God.

5. To confirm a promise ask God if this promise applies to you in your situation and listen for a word, sense, song, vision, or feeling that confirms the promise.  That is how to gain faith of the heart so you can pray a heart felt prayer.

6. Do not address yourself to Satan. Do not taunt or argue with Satan.  Do not speak prayers to bind Satan.  (Angels will do that at the right time.  Not you.  (Revelation 20.) Do not command Satan (except to command him to leave where he does not belong.)

6.b Do not address the Principalities and Powers.  Do not command or bind the.  It is prideful and arrogant to presume to control, take authority over or bind principalities and powers.  Leave that to the Lord of Hosts who commands all the angels and who can call on 10,000 legions of angels (Jesus).

7. So praise God naming him and affirming who he is. Draw near to God in praise and focus on him. Praise builds faith and calls upon the presence of God.  James says to Draw hear to God, and He will draw near to you.  Submit to God and resist the devil of pride that would turn you away from God to fight with the devil.  Give no credit, attention or prayer to the devil.  Deprive the devil of your worship (attention) and he will flee from you.

8. Do start prayer from a position of humility. "I can't do this.  My prayers can't do this.  God can do this."  If you want God to act you need to give it to God, let go, take hands off and step back. An example of this is the prayer imagery of putting it on the altar.

9. Pray for those with a closed mind by "sending the Holy Spirit." Step back; take hands off, and ask God to speak to this person.

10. For the complainer and the critic who express toward you their hurt, bitterness, frustration, and anger, Use the "Mediator Prayer" - listen and send it up to heaven.

Article from Heal My Life Christian Inner Healing Prayer Therapy Seminar © George Hartwell, November 2002, Agape Christian Counselling,  (416) 234-1850,