Prayer for Healing of Memories
We all have been wounded, not only by other people but also by the ‘stuff of life’ that we go through every day; this prayer can help you to experience some healing. As you pray this prayer, allow God to bring to the surface some of your hurt and pain – so that you can forgive those who have hurt you, so that you might become aware of any ways you need counseling or spiritual direction, and so that ultimately you can experience God’s Healing Love more fully than ever.
To begin this prayer, one could begin with Psalm 139, which follows:
O LORD, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD. You hem me in–behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you. For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!
Lord, You know me better than I know myself. You have seen every moment of my life; from all eternity You have held me in your thoughts. You hold every moment in your heart, and have shared with me every joy, every pain. Lord, I seek healing, the healing You desire for me. I invite You to walk with me back through my past, to enable me to see my life through Your eyes. I give you permission to recall to my mind anything which needs healing, knowing that You are present with me. Heal me of any pain, any guilt, any fear. I give you permission to heal me of anything: past or present, emotional or physical or spiritual – please heal me of those things that keep me from enjoying an awesome relationship with You. Help me to trust in Your love. Help me to know that even the hurts and failures of my life can be transformed into channels of Your grace.
Lord, walk with me back through the years of my life: through my early teen, pre-teen, and childhood years, to the time of my birth, and through those months within my mother’s womb, even as far back as the very moment of my conception – that moment when You first called me into existence.
Lord, even before my mother was aware of my presence within her, when I was no larger than two cells – You knew me, You cherished me, and You loved me. In the earliest months, I began to develop my personality, and heard noises and felt emotions. Perhaps, during her pregnancy, my mother was worried, fearful, anxious, considered an abortion or was physically ill. I could sense my mother’s emotions and attitudes. These could have affected me, imprinting upon my mind and personality my own fears and guilt and emotions. Often these are the roots of some of our deepest problems. My birth may have been especially difficult. There may have been medical complications which kept me from being held or bonding with my mother and father when I needed it so badly. Or I may have been the “wrong” sex for my parents, who wanted a boy when I was a girl, or vice versa – and I sensed their frustration immediately or later in life. Lord, heal any hurts associated with my time in the womb and my birth. Let me feel the joy which you and all the angels and saints felt as I came into the world.
Lord, I ask You to touch and to bring healing to my relationship with my mom. Perhaps I was separated from my mother by death, illness, abandonment, or adoption. There may have been other brothers and sisters or a job which demanded much too much of her time and attention when I needed my mother to hold and be with me. My mother may have harmed me by being overprotective, projecting her insecurities and fears upon me, or by not allowing me to be a little child, but expecting me to grow up too quickly. Lord Jesus, heal my relationship with my mom. Help me to forgive her for her shortcomings and failings, and help me to receive from You, and from your mother, Mary, any love that was lacking in my relationship with my own mother.
Father in heaven, I also ask You to touch and heal my past and current relationship with my earthly father. There may be some hurt due to the fact that my dad was not present to me in my childhood. We may have been separated by death, divorce, abandonment, military service, or another reason. He may have been abusive, alcoholic, or unkind. Perhaps he was a workaholic, and was rarely home – and when he was home, he may have paid little attention to me. Maybe he lacked the ability to relate to children, or was cold, unaffectionate, and unemotional. Father in heaven, I ask you to help me to forgive my father for the ways he was not a good father to me. I ask You, through the intercession of St. Joseph, to fill my heart with any lack of father’s love.
Lord, I ask you to heal any hurt that I experienced due to my parents’ relationship to one another. My memory may be full of the tension, hatred, bitterness, fighting or abuse between my mother and father. There may have been times when, though I loved them both, I felt forced to take sides. My mother may have made cutting comments about my father, and my father criticized my mother. Perhaps they were separated or divorced, and my heart broke that I was unable to see them together. Perhaps there was a stepparent, or stepbrothers and sisters in my family, and these may have been painful or difficult relationships. Lord Jesus, help me to turn to You, through Mary and St. Joseph, to receive what was lacking in the love between my parents. Help me to realize that they, too, were hurting, imperfect human beings. Enable me to forgive them their failings, and to receive through You the love they wanted to give me.
Brothers and sisters are a gift from You, Lord, yet they can also be the source of a lot of pain. Perhaps I was an only child, lacking the support and love of siblings; perhaps I was one of many, and lacked the personal attention I needed. There may have been competition between us – either from us, or from our parents’ comparisons – and that competition might still affect our relationships. I may have felt that I was not as smart, or as good looking, or as well behaved. Maybe there was the brother or sister whom I wanted to be close to, who didn’t return my love. Lord, forgive me for the ways I have hurt my brothers and sisters, and help me to forgive them. Heal our relationships, that we may love one another.
Many things happened as I grew in my childhood. Many good things and also many hurts – some I remember, and many are buried in my unconscious. Perhaps, while growing up, I was cared for by someone who didn’t hold me, or play with me, or help me to develop those earliest abilities necessary for my growth and learning. I remember some of the times I was disciplined, perhaps too harshly for such a little child. I may have experienced physical or emotional abuse. Perhaps I was a lonely or shy child who never felt as though I fit in. Perhaps, because of our family’s attitude, I was never introduced to You at a young age, Lord, and because of that sometimes it is hard to believe in you now. In school, there were also times when I felt like a failure. The other children could be cruel with their teasing, and when they excluded me, I felt unimportant. There were teachers who were insensitive, who embarrassed me in front of others, disciplined me unfairly, who had too high expectations, or were unable to help me when I needed extra help. At times I did poorly in my grades, or was unable to compete athletically. Lord, heal all my hurts from childhood. Help me to forgive those who hurt me. Please fill the gaps caused by my failures, and the failures of others, with Your healing love.
Lord, I also want to ask You to touch and heal the hurts that I have experienced in my teenage years. Quite honestly, Jesus, being a teen has been very difficult. At times I have experienced feeling awkward, ugly, stupid, stressed out, confused, and sometimes I have even felt very alone. Lord, help me to forgive those people who have stabbed me in the back by gossiping and spreading rumors about me. I want to forgive the people who have labeled me unfairly, who have called me names, and those who have ignored me and never gave me a chance. Lord, I ask You to forgive me, too, because I have been guilty of the same things. Forgive me, Lord, for the masks that I have worn – there are so many times that I have tried to be someone that I am not, just because I wanted to be accepted. Perhaps there are hurts associated with the dating that I have done, or maybe I feel hurt because I have been on so few dates. There have been those members of the opposite sex who ignored me for no reason, or who dumped me with no explanation, or who I have treated unfairly. Lord, heal any hurts associated with my dating relationships and friendships. Help me to receive from You the perfect love that my heart longs for, that only You can give.
Lord, there are also things that I have done that very few people know about – maybe even no one else knows about these things but You; things like sneaking out of the house, lying, using drugs, or using alcohol. There may have been rebellion against my parents or against the law in an effort to express my anger. Maybe I have misused the gift of my sexuality. Perhaps there was a pregnancy or an abortion. I may be suffering from guilt through the ways I’ve misused this gift – through pornography, lust, sexual activity, or the loss of my virginity. Maybe I realize that I’ve used others and am ashamed. Lord, heal my heart of any sense of loss associated with my sexuality. Forgive me Lord, and help me to forgive those who have hurt me.
There are so many other hurts and problems in my life. There have been loved ones who have left me or who have died (either accidentally, or because of health problems, or because of suicide) – leaving me feeling lonely and abandoned. I commit those people that I miss so much to your care; help me to forgive them for leaving me. Perhaps there has been a trauma of some sort – an accident, a fire, hospitalization, serious illness, assault, rape, or robbery. Perhaps I have been sexually abused by a family member, or neighbor, or a stranger, which left me feeling frightened and shameful and used. Perhaps these things happened directly to me or to my immediate family members. And if I’ve never told anyone about these things, show me in my imagination, right now, who I should talk to so that I can receive the counsel and guidance I need to heal.
Lord, sometimes I have found myself angry with You, though I might be afraid to admit it. You’ve seemed so far away and when I prayed, there seemed to be no answer. Those who represented You and Your Church – the priests and sisters and deacons and teachers and youth ministers – sometimes were insensitive and unkind. And in those moments of greatest pain, when only You could have done something – You didn’t. Touch my anger, my hurt, and my disappointment toward You, Lord, and allow me to release it, knowing You return only understanding and love. I forgive You, Lord. Please forgive me for my attitudes, and for my lack of intimacy toward You.
Lord Jesus, thank You for touching and healing the hurts in my life. Give me courage to pursue professional help and further prayer from trusted adults for those really big hurts I’ve experienced. Continue to touch and heal and love me, Jesus, for the rest of my life. I ask all of this, and I thank You for all that You have done, and for all that You have begun to do in my life. I give you praise, Jesus. Amen.