Christian marriage prayer therapy

    Ten Marriage Transforming marriage transforming prayer encounters Prayer Encounters      

      by George Hartwell M.Sc. of Agape Christian Counselling (416) 234-1850        

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 Let go and let God - put it on the altar

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Tools for the Transformation of Unhealthy Relationships that get at the persistent cycles rooted in our personalities.

Here I list ten blocks to healthy marriage.  These were discovered in my  experience in dealing with married couples.  Once you identify a pattern then you need to know how to take it for healing through prayer therapy. 

  1. For the unhealthy pattern of being morally superior, see: Right to be Right.

  2. For when we have made on idol of their image, see:  Self Image as Idol.

  3. To let go of being the one with the most control or power, see: King of the Castle.

  4. When you need to give up the 'right' to blame and judge others, see: Here comes the Judge.

  5. To step out of the role of family Saviour, see: Saviour No More.

  6. For the analyst, the thinker, the answer man, the 'know it all,' see: Autonomous Mind.

  7. For when we make an idol of our partner, see: Partner on a Pedestal.

  8. When our expectations cause us pain and frustration, see: Release Expectations.

  9. For unhealthy attachments, holds, and control mechanisms, see: Cut Umbilical Cords .

  10. To take let go of our control, worry and despair about a situation, releasing our goals, issues and problems to God - use: put it on the altar to let go and let God.

Many of these prayer encounters are described in more detail in articles by their name.

© George Hartwell (416) 234-1850,, E-mail

1.   Put it on the Altar.

The "Put it on the Altar" prayer encounter allows you to offer people, situations and things to God. It allows God to be involved, bless and receive what we offer. The result is often deep peace, relief of burdens, and freedom from worry.

The scene we invoke, the picture we imagine, is based on the Biblical practice of making sacrifices to God on an altar. Put burdens, sacrificial service, worries, loved ones, work, and one's marriage on your imagined altar. Watch, listen and feel. What do you experience?

When we lay something on the altar, and picture ourselves doing it, we often experience a heartfelt release of control and deep peace as we let God have control.

Do this with a friend when they express their problems to you. Are you tired, burdened, heavy hearted with working it all out yourself? This is a great first step toward letting God take charge of your marriage, relationships, children, work or finances.

You not only can feel lighter but you have given God the right to move, to heal, to save, to deliver, to counsel, to comfort and to enhance communication.

2.   Self Image

The "Self Image Prayer Encounter" allows us and God to pull down the "Idol" we have made of ourselves. God, we know, has little tolerance of idolatry. God cannot bless you and your relationships, at least not fully, until it stops being "All About Me."

I've discovered that God acts to shake down our idols. When God acts we are humbled. We (like king N. in the O.T.) eat grass.

Restoration requires a change of heart, a dying to "Self-Image" so that it is not 'All about me.' In this prayer encounter: confess idolatry, submit the self-image idol to destruction, and picture it happening. I notice that things go much better when we die to our need for (worship) constant acknowledgement, affirmation, and positive feedback.

3.  King of the Castle

The right to be lord, "king of the castle," 'top dog,' the one with the most control, power or say is laid down in this prayer encounter. Control, (need for dominance) usually out of fear, destroys love; just as perfect love casts out fear. Love does not 'Lord it over the other.' Prayer involves confession and picturing getting out of the 'top dog' position.

4.  "Here comes the Judge "

 In this prayer encounter one steps out of the role of Judge, giving up the right to judge others, to condemn, accuse, label and rail at their weaknesses. This resigning as Judge comes out of the recognition that when we judge we usurp God's right to be Judge. A repeat of the scene is necessary to admit and deal with judging ourselves.

5.   Right to be right

One of our unhealthy patterns is being morally superior. This may be manifested as always getting the last word in every argument, or flaunting superiority in knowledge, skill, memory, etc. The prayer involves confession, forgiveness and picturing the prayer.

6.   Saviour No More

A prayer encounter for stepping out of the role of family Saviour - the one who sacrifices to keep peace, who diminishes their own needs and focuses on others to 'keep it all together.' It is unhealthy, unbalanced and, ultimately idolatry to be stuck in the role of "Family Saviour." It eats away at our relationship with God, intimacy, community and our own physical and emotional health. Instead of waiting for an emotional breakdown one can confess, receive forgiveness and picture stepping out of this role.

7.   Autonomous Mind

The mind becomes an idol when intellect is our source of security and our way of staying in control of life. The analyst, the thinker, the answer man, the 'know it all' often trusts mind over God; relies on self. This independence from God (autonomy) could be called sin. This means something is unhealthy, out of balance. There might be the pride that comes before a fall.

8.   Partner on a Pedestal

It is unhealthy for you or your partner, pastor, leader to see them as a god (goddess.) We know God has zero tolerance of idolatry and wants proper place in our lives but do we realize that we put another under an intolerable burden if they are to meet all our needs. Frustration and anger; hurt and disappointment; withdrawal and disconnection; obsession with the other; pleasing the other (with loss of our own true identity) are some of the results. Often this goes back to a history of disappointment with a parent that left our inner Child yearning and hoping for our parent's approval, love, acknowledgement or faithfulness (non-abandonment).

9.   Release Expectations

This prayer encounter is way to tackle the problem that we are expecting of our partner only things that God can provide. The purpose of the prayer is to refocus on God as our primary source.

10.   Cut Umbilical Cords

A relationship involves both healthy and unhealthy holds, attachments and control mechanisms. Cutting unhealthy bonds, cords and attachments is freeing. It frees us from unhealthy relationship patterns and pressures. In the freedom from unhealthy ties (picture spiritual umbilical cords) a healthier more vibrant relationship can grow.


 Put it on the Altar - a healing encounter with God

Sample topics:

 12 ways to Strengthen your Marriage

7 Types of Intimacy Avoiders

Bonding, Marriage and Silent Divorce

Bonding focused couple therapy

Silent Divorce

Family systems

Secrets of evil families 

Avoidant Personality and Silent DivorceAnger Management

Anxiety symptoms

Breaking Curses

Christian Marriage Counselling

Decision Matrix


Dreams and Life

Dysfunctional Personality Patterns

Family System

Faith of the Heart

Inner Healing

Life Crisis

Life Transformation Therapy

Love Letters to God

Nervous Breakdown

Smart Fear

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