A Counselor’s Prayer

We occasionally sing a song in church with the lyric “break my heart for what breaks yours”.

Confession: I typically remain quiet during this line of the song.

I wonder if others have a hard time with this line, or if I’m the only person who’s that selfish or afraid. But honestly, I can’t bring myself to ask my heart to be broken like that of God’s.

I can’t imagine what it would feel like for my heart to break if my heart were as pure, loving, and selfless as God’s. But I can imagine that it would not feel good.

I feel like my heart breaks all the time. My heart breaks for family members struggling in difficult marriages, for friends struggling with invisible illnesses, for losses in my own life- and on top of that for the pain of my clients.

So, I’ve developed my own counselor’s prayer to replace the one that my heart would break as God’s does:

God, help me to share my client’s (or friend’s) pain without letting her pain overwhelm me.
Help me to feel her hurt without feeling consumed by it.
Help me to enter her chaos without being sucked into it.
Help me to approach her problems without feeling the need to fix them.
Help me share her grief without trying to rescue her from it.
Help me to bear witness to her past without feeling the weight of its devastation.
Help me to celebrate her growth without taking credit for it.
Help me to hear of abuse without turning cynical, broken relationships without becoming bitter, neglectful parenting without being judgmental.
Help me to hold hope for others even when I’m struggling to hold hope for myself.
Help me to keep my heart open even after it breaks.
And help me to draw closer to your heart every time I’m overwhelmed by the pain in mine.

This is my prayer. Not that God would break my heart for what breaks His, but that He would teach me something of Himself by what breaks mine.

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24 thoughts on “A Counselor’s Prayer

  1. Confession: As I read this I found myself putting my in where it says her. Sometimes it is too easy for me to see the fault in others because I am struggling with it myself and secretly dont want to admit it to myself. This is a beautiful prayer that really shows how big your heart is and how much you have to offer the world.

  2. Krista, I love this prayer so much. It says many of the things I too pray often. I worry that I will become callused to the things I’m being told that I won’t feel what my heart should – the pain of those I’m talking to. But I have made the mistake in the past of taking too much responsibility for my clients’ decisions and feeling the grief swallow me. With your permission, I would like to copy this and share it with my counselors at our next in-service. Thanks for putting into words so beautifully what I know to be true.

    1. Thank you Carol. I know you have a beautiful heart that has broken much as well. I’d be honored if you shared this at your in-service.

  3. Wow. I’m copy pasting your prayer.
    I too–don’t want to sing that line…i don’t think we even know what that means and we sing it.

  4. I am “Michelle”, a college grad with a highly professional job. I was
    looking for answers & I got them. I was heartbroken that my boyfriend
    decided to leave the relationship, a friend introduced me to a spell
    caster that did A Lover Retrieval spell for me and within a week of
    the spell casting, he called “just to talk”. After some pleasant talks
    and catching up, he asked to see me again. He is absolutely crazy
    about me now and DOES see the good in me that I had hoped he would. We are back together now happily & even planning on getting married soon. Should in case you need his services & want’s his contact or you have any more question to ask you can hit me up on michbaines at gmail dot com.

    Good Luck
    Michelle.

  5. This is an awesome prayer, Krista. I also struggle with the breaking my heart line. Your prayer could be for someone who is not a counselor. Thank you for sharing this.

  6. Josie.
    My son saw the prayer and sent it to me. He knew that, as a counselor, I would appreciate it. Well, I have done more than that. The prayer put into words what I have been feeling all these years having people sitting across from me, sharing and confesing pain, loss, sorrow, abuse…Thank you for the prayer and the best to you all who perform this job every day.

    1. Thanks for your post, Josie, and to your son for passing it on. It’s a blessing to know the prayer God has given me has touched another caregiver.

  7. I used this entry as the opening devotional for my clinical presentation yesterday. Thank you for sharing your insight and perspective. It was a beautiful way to begin.

  8. Krista I so want to share this! I want to print and post it in my office somewhere. Thank you for putting into a prayer how I feel as well. I’ve never heard the song but this prayer absolutely speaks to me. This is simply beautiful.

  9. Krista, thank you for your generosity with your work. I am hosting a Sabbath Retreat for 3 women this weekend and feel entirely inadequate for their need. Your prayer restores perspective and will serve us well as we listen to and hold space for one another.

  10. Hello,
    I have found your prayer as I was looking for an opening to my case presentation tonight in class. I believe that God opens up our understanding and our way of being when we are able to admit where we fall short. Praise God that He gave you this prayer and a heart to share it with others. As I am now in my clinical internship I am seeing clients (children) who have so many hurts at such a young age and I can feel my heart breaking because I can imagine that the pain that these children are experiencing is breaking the Heart of God. Matthew 19:14 says, 4 But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” and so listening to these children’s stories brings this to mind. Someone has forbid them to live a life free from pain and as their counselor I know that God can use me to help them come to Him. Again thank you for this beautiful prayer.

    Natalie

    1. Thank you for your words, Natalie. It is not an easy thing to counsel, especially children. Best to you as you bring your presence and the hope of the gospel into your work with them.

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