For the last two weeks we have covered the topic of negative thoughts that control your mind, your life, and even your marriage and we have offered two solutions: Quoting Scripture and having a two-way conversation with God about them through prayer. Today we discuss the third solution: a series of three prayers, coupled with listening for God’s answer.
As we mentioned last week, negative thoughts are often rooted in deep-seated pain. The pain along with the negative thoughts has been a part of us for so long that we are not consciously aware of its presence. We would gladly ask God about what we’re feeling—but we can’t quite put our finger on it ourselves.
We suggest these three prayers:
“Lord, what emotion am I feeling?”
There have been times when I was sure I knew what I was feeling. However, when I prayed this prayer, God’s answer was more specific than mine. “Lord, why do I feel as though I have to be perfect?” God’s answer to me: “It’s not that you desire perfection. It’s that you fear being criticized.”
“Lord, when did I first feel this way and why?”
I have prayed with people who were sure they knew why they felt a certain way, but when they prayed and asked God, He gave them additional insight. What we have found is that the feeling and the negative thought that accompanies it usually goes back to a prior painful incident. When someone or something reminds us of that painful incident, the same emotions and negative thoughts surface.
“Lord, what is Your perspective?”
I spent too many years feeling all alone—responsible for taking care of every aspect of my own welfare, and I was absorbed in the pain of it. But when I asked God this question and waited for His answer, He showed me all the ways He had cared for me that I never even noticed.
This type of prayer will change you. It will relieve the negative thoughts that consume you. God’s truth will set you free. And it will breathe a beautiful freedom into your marriage as well.
This post was first published on The Marriage Dance blog on April 14, 2016.