Recently, I read a book called Hurt to Healing by LaTrice Williams and in it was a quote that spoke to me which refers to what the main character Maiya was experiencing. It said, "She never wanted to minister out of her pain...She couldn't minister freedom while living in bondage." Well, I can relate to these words because for the past few months, I have been quietly dealing with some of my own pains. See, what I have learned is that when we minister to others from a place of hurt all anyone can see through us is the pain itself, therefore taking all attention off of God!
Like many who grew up in the church, I have always prayed the model prayer found in Matthew 6:9-13. I would mainly use it when I was not quite sure what to say or even what to ask of God. So when it came time to go through a recent season of pruning and purifying, I quickly realized how ill-prepared I was to fight against the spiritual attacks that started coming my way. So I asked God to reveal to me a prayer strategy, or if He could teach me something, I could use to block or defend myself from the adversary. I mean I felt like a boxer who was just taking blow after blow to the body, head, and chest.
The day God freed me from the chains of drinking and smoking is also the day He warned me if I chose to return to doing those things the consequences would be much worse. The Bible echoes these exact words in 2 Peter 2:20 KJV "For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning." This kind of frightened me because I had just come from a place of utter darkness. One where I could not turn down a drink if I saw someone I knew drinking or if I smelled something I liked to smoke it would then spark in me the desire to partake. Not only that but participating in all these things started to open up the door for spirits to come into my heart. Therefore, creating strongholds in my mind that seemed to grow each time I willingly walked toward one of my temptations. See my life had become one of pure torment that death seemed like the only logical answer to combat the mental, spiritual and physical agony I was going through during that season. So after receiving my warning, all I could think about doing was whatever I needed to stay far away from all my triggers as best as I possibly could.