How To Pray to God For Help and Healing

Recently, I’ve seen major spiritual growth and recovery in multiple “problem areas” of my life that I’ve tried time and time again to change for years. I haven’t tried harder – in fact I’ve probably never tried less. I have simply changed the way I pray for aid and guidance.

My prayers would often begin, “Lord, help me”, “Grant me the strength to”, or “God may I start”. I would pray often and fervently. And yet, I would fail over and over again. My motivation was able to push me through a few failures, but eventually, it left me in one of two camps: either I was filled with shame, regret, and was convinced I was a terrible person, or I would direct my frustration at God for setting up a world in which the wrong choices are so easy and the right ones are so hard (and on top of that He didn’t seem to be hearing my prayers).

It became hard to continue and was pushing me farther away from God, unsure of Him and myself. My prayer life ceased to exist. What good is prayer if all it leaves you feeling is a. shameful, b. mad at God, or c. doubting His existence at all? And so I sat at the crossroads, unable to move towards atheism but beginning to grow weary following God and tired of trying.

It wasn’t until I took a good look at my requests for aid that things began to change. Who was the main doer is all of my prayers? Me. I. Myself. My conversations with God came from the assumption that I’m doing the work and getting close to success, but I just need a little extra push to get myself up the hill. That’s not a savior. That’s just a friend you’d ask, “Hey buddy, you mind giving me a hand over here real quick?”

My breakthrough happened when I realized I am not truly in control of my transformation. The only part of the transformation I have any control over is my submission to God’s will. It was really in looking at Step 2 of Alcoholics Anonymous that inspired me. It states, “[We] Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.” And that’s what we are – insane in our sin. God can restore us to sanity but not by our own doing. It is God that does the doing within us.

Humility is the cornerstone of the Christian life and of the Cross itself. It is only in admitting that we don’t know the way that we find it. God doesn’t desire to be just someone who gives you a little push when you need it but a savior who rescues you from the pit of despair. Not because He needs to be the hero but because He wants to strip us of the delusion that we were making any progress up that hill to begin with. It is only by fully submitting to God that we become our true selves that He created us to be, wonderfully made in His image.

My prayers are now empty, void of my own desires. I attempt to only consent to the Spirit dwelling within me. Though empty, they are fuller than ever because I have come to believe that it is God alone who can restore me. I am not in control. It is not God who gets in the way of my healing, but I who gets in His way. My prayers are still far from perfect, but God is restoring me to sanity.

Work less and trust more. Fully submit to God and allow Him to push you all the way up the hill, resting in His love. It is amazing to see that the more helpless we realize we are, the more help we receive. I think as Christians we often equate “carrying your cross” with grunting through labor and bearing the burden. But the Cross had nothing to do with what Christ did but what he allowed to be done. He could have saved himself. Instead, he humbled himself and fully submitted to the will of the Father. Let us all submit to the Father’s will and let His will be done rather than our own.

Hello, everyone! I have recently published my first chapbook of Christian poems titled “A Voice in the Wilderness – A Chapbook of Poems about God”. This has been developed and polished over the past six months or so. I am happy with the final product and hope you find encouragement in the poems but also a validation that the spiritual life is not all sunshine and rainbows. We all struggle. We all have periods of questions and/or doubt. But it is the yearning that keeps us coming back for more and allows us to experience joy.
You can purchase either on Amazon or on my own bookstore (it is cheaper and has free shipping on my store) and is available on the Kindle and in paperback.
Amazon: Kindle Paperback
Inkspiration Books (my bookstore): Paperback

Thank you for your support!

A Poem About Recovery Hope and Change

No Matter

No matter how hard it is
to keep the fire burning,
no matter how many disappointments
have visited you without warning,
no matter how many different trials
you've sat through today,
though the verdict may be hard to swallow,
tomorrow, tomorrow's another day.
And it may seem impossible in this moment,
but in time you're going to be ok.
For when you wake tomorrow
a new sun will be on the rise,
and you'll find a mustard seed of hope
sprouting upon the ashes of yesterday's demise.

Justin Farley

Hello, everyone! I have recently published my first chapbook of Christian poems titled “A Voice in the Wilderness – A Chapbook of Poems about God”. This has been developed and polished over the past six months or so. I am happy with the final product and hope you find encouragement in the poems but also a validation that the spiritual life is not all sunshine and rainbows. We all struggle. We all have periods of questions and/or doubt. But it is the yearning that keeps us coming back for more and allows us to experience joy.
You can purchase either on Amazon or on my own bookstore (it is cheaper and has free shipping on my store) and is available on the Kindle and in paperback.
Amazon: Kindle Paperback
Inkspiration Books (my bookstore): Paperback

Thank you for your support!

Poem About Gratitude, Having a Positive Attitude and Blessings





No Quarter

If I look, I'll find 1000 complaints,
but I've resolved to give no quarter to protest
when I've been so blessed
with gifts raining down from Heaven like manna.

If I find my vision
dull, dark, and gray
it's because I've chosen to stay
blind to how lucky I truly am.

Of course there's darkness.
But there's also an abundance of light
available when we keep our sight
fixed on our graces and gratitude.

Dark cloud, keep on moving. 
I'll no longer grant you quarter.
My attitude is back in order - 
my storehouse is far too full to harbor complaint. 

Justin Farley

Hello, everyone! I have recently published my first chapbook of Christian poems titled “A Voice in the Wilderness – A Chapbook of Poems about God”. This has been developed and polished over the past six months or so. I am happy with the final product and hope you find encouragement in the poems but also a validation that the spiritual life is not all sunshine and rainbows. We all struggle. We all have periods of questions and/or doubt. But it is the yearning that keeps us coming back for more and allows us to experience joy.
You can purchase either on Amazon or on my own bookstore (it is cheaper and has free shipping on my store) and is available on the Kindle and in paperback.
Amazon: Kindle Paperback
Inkspiration Books (my bookstore): Paperback

Thank you for your support!

The Cost of Freedom – Recovery Addiction Poem

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The Cost of Freedom

Confining walls, prison cell;
there’s no shame in wearing a straight jacket
if it makes you well.

Dirty dishes, soiled clothes;
it’s a heavy burden to keep
your house clean on your own.

Hidden secrets, concealed lies;
they are the extent of your sickness –
the enemy of recovery is pride.

Foolish illusions, blind in the dark;
the most harmful delusion is believing
you can trust your heart.

Death’s agent, the loser’s bane;
sometimes winning means folding now
to remain in the game.

The humble lives, the prideful dies;
better to trust in another’s truths
than to keep living by your lies.

Safety in numbers, self-reliance self-destructs;
an unchecked mind quickly becomes
unreliable and corrupt.

Freedom is sometimes choosing not to be free;
better to serve a great master,
than sit on the throne of insanity.

-Poem and Content Written by Justin Farley

As a recovering alcoholic who’s been sober for almost 11 years and someone who can become addicted to about anything that makes you feel good, one of the greatest lessons I’ve learned in my recovery is the need to let go of my freedom sometimes. The hardest times in recovery are often the ones where we’ve still got one foot in and one foot out, believing that we can be both fully free and fully accountable living by our will power.

For me, I’ve learned that when I’m free I’m a slave, and when I’m a slave I’m free. Quite paradoxical, but I’ve learned that I can’t trust myself to do what I want myself to do. If I sit with temptation long enough, it will eventually over power me no matter how much will power I have.

We don’t want to accept defeat. We don’t want to admit that we’re weak. We want to continue to live by the lie that we’re able to conquer our demons on our own, despite file cabinets full of evidence to the contrary. Sometimes giving up some of your freedom is the only way to protect yourself from yourself. For addicts, I believe the cost of freedom is often freedom itself.

You want to be sober? Well, you’re going to have to give up the freedom of  being able to go to bars. You want to be free from addiction? You’re going to have to give up the freedom of hanging out with people that are still using. You want to be free from your shopping addiction? You’ve got to give up the freedom of carrying cash and credit cards.

Is it possible to keep all your freedoms and remain free from your addictions? Maybe. At least for a period of time, but it’s like playing Russian roulette, never knowing when your addiction is loaded in the chamber. Play long enough, and I believe you’ll eventually self-destruct.

For me, I’ve realized the cost of unchecked freedom is misery and death. And today, I choose to live.

You may also like my other addiction and recovery posts.

Grace – A Poem

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Grace – A Poem

I am awed by the way you move me
like freshly fallen snowflakes dusting across the frozen ground.
Some days I forget the barren tundra from which I came
and how you whispered by name, echoing across that vacant landscape
so that a lost soul could be found.

Some days time passes by me without a single thought
that each waking moment is a treasure –
a gift granted, light years away from being deserved.
But despite all my wrongs and all the foolish footpaths
I chose to walk, in my time of desperation I called
and without hesitation you answered.

Each single second is abounding opportunity,
a renewed possibility for new life.
My destination was one I was unable to arrive at
by the work of my own hands, but while I lingered,
withering away in the darkness, you nestled me
within your loving embrace and brought me back into the light.

The fact that I breathe and my heart beats
is a living testament to your endless love and grace.
May I never forget from where I came and that each day is a gift
that I should unceasingly praise and never waste.

-Poem Written by Justin Farley


 

photo credit: Morning mist via photopin (license)

Like Me – A Poem About Loving Yourself

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

– 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

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God doesn’t make mistakes. It’s easy to compare your weaknesses to other peoples’ strengths and become discouraged; it’s easy to let it tear down your self-esteem and think you have no value or self-worth. But often times, it is our weaknesses that have the greatest potential to transform other people. Our weaknesses are what make us human and give God the greatest opportunity to reveal his glory and redemption. As hard as it is sometimes, by learning to like our weaknesses and accept them instead of hiding them in the dark, we can allow others to see God’s light and give others the confidence to open themselves as well. That doesn’t mean we don’t try to improve them or allow them to run our life because “that’s the way God made me”; it means we have the courage to admit we’re weak, have issues, and allow God to transform us instead of pretending like they don’t exist or trying to do all the work ourselves.

Like Me – A Poem About Loving Yourself

I like me.
I’m learning to love the flaws
I see staring back at me in the mirror…
They keep me humble.
Each time I stumble humility grows
And flows through my eyes. allowing me to accept others’ shortcomings.

I like me.
Just as crazy as I come,
Never refusing to silence the feelings that drip
Like sweet drops of honey from the tip of my tongue…
They keep me honest and open, vulnerable and true.
They give others the confidence to let down their guard
And feel comfortable walking in their own shoes.

I like me
With a belly full of fear
And a heart filled with angst…
It keeps my pride in check
And my will at bay,
Knowing that left to my own devices
I’d likely be lying in a grave.

I love me
Even when I don’t like me,
For after all, this is the way God made me.
Who am I to critique his work?
What can the clay say to the Potter,
Except to appreciate and accept
The art sculpted by His hands.
I like me because in the chaos created by my flaws
I know He brings order from anarchy and has a plan.

-Poem Written by Justin Farley


 

photo credit: via photopin (license)

The Mirror of Truth – A Poem

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The Mirror of Truth – A Poem

Into the mirror I gaze
and am wrapped within the frame
of a smoky haze of secrets swirling within glass.

I can’t deny the face,
can’t pretend I don’t know,
have no trace of realization that the figure before my eyes is me.

It’s unsettling to see the darkness,
to discover the demons in the flesh,
to witness my flaws, flogging me in the face.

Beneath this mask of pride,
there is a face scorched and seared
by lies, deceit, and by the heat of betrayal.

I know the image I wish to see,
I know the reflection my heart believes;
but within me is a darkness I prefer not to acknowledge.

The mirror of truth does not lie,
does not flinch when it brings onlookers to their knees,
does not hide delusions, but pierces the veil of our ego.

The mirror of truth is a loving master,
a humbling stone meant to trip our feet,
a pastor to turn us towards joy and away from the bonds of slavery.

I may not like the face that stares back at me,
I may not like the icy eyes, the lips of pride,
but I have the opportunity to reconstruct my image.

Morning sun, be my witness –
when you lay down to rest tonight, the flames may remain
fueled by my darkness, but will crackle beside the waters of love and grace.

-Poem Written by Justin Farley


 

photo credit: De lujo y miseria via photopin (license)

A Poem About Alcoholism and Addiction – “One More Taste”

“One More Taste” – Poem About Alcoholism and Addiction

 

Like an empty bottle of whiskey,
I’ve drank you down to the last drop.
The alcoholic in me is still thirsty,
But my rationale tells me to stop.

A madman feening, I sit alone with my demons,
Pacing, wrestling with racing thoughts.
Counting the minutes waiting out these hellish withdrawals,
But the hands sit idle on the clock.

There is no joy for an addict
Walking away from his self-prescribed relief.
Yet knowing that somehow he must get clean,
But doesn’t know how to bear the grief.

I’ve sworn off the drink,
But the fire of your aftertaste still burns on my lips,
Memories on my mind, wanting to rewind
And get just one more fix.

I may be sober,
But the hangover remains.
Without my elixir to soothe me,
I’m left only to bear the pain.

This bottle remains empty –
A void of space that can’t be replaced.
I know that another drink could be my downfall,
So why do I long for another taste?

Beauty’s Battle – A Poem About Endurance and Fighting Fear

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Beauty’s Battle – A Poem About Endurance and Fighting Fear

She sits engaged in a battle
Beneath the shadow of her own face,
Slowly conceding to her own demons
Brought back by their blows, crushed beneath their weight.

She wonders what’s the use in trying
When defeat has already been secured?
For what’s left of the light is dying
And her heels dangle on the verge

Of Darkness’s valley where fear stands ready
With open jaws, salivating for an easy feast.
But quick, girl, stand firm, armed, and steady.
Don’t give them the satisfaction of seeing you kneel at their feet.

Remember where your heart lies.
Remember your true desires not corrupted by fear.
Remember the beauty that resides beneath your blue eyes.
Remember why it is I’m still here.

There’s a flame that still flickers.
Feed it with love, faith, courage, and hope.
Know that of all the muses that have flowed from my fingers,
You’re the finest that’s ever wrote.

She pauses for reflection
And slows her breath to a stable inhale.
Suddenly, it comes to her attention
That this shadow of darkness is nothing but a paper-thin veil.

She rises boldly like an Amazon warrioress to her feet
And quickly takes aim with her bow.
Defiantly refusing to retreat,
Deciding she’s had enough of fear’s pain and woe.

The battle is not over.
She remains engaged beneath her beautiful skin.
But she’s set on never allowing herself to roll over,
And allowing the shadow of fear to win.

-Poem Written by Justin Farley

Upon This Rock – A Christian Poem of Grace

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Upon This Rock – A Christian Poem of Grace

Upon this rock I walk
Uncertain, yet composed.
Not crushed beneath the veil of darkness,
For with me always is a light that glows.
The demons of my weakness harass me.
Past failures breed doubts to future plans.
But upon this rock I’m free,
Caressed and cradled in loving hands.
Often I do not recognize my actions.
They are not in line with the man I know.
Ruthlessness is my natural reaction,
Yet somehow seeds of love are sown.
Anger still has moments of victory,
But the battles are swaying with tides of grace.
Love is beginning to reside within me,
Routing out my weeds of hate.
It is by no strong will of mine,
But because of this rock on which I stand.
It is only by the power of the Divine
That I am being transformed into a better man.

-Poem Written by Justin Farley

photo credit: IMG_2870.jpg via photopin (license)