Prayer Counseling and Walking In Integrity
1 Thessalonians 5:23
And may the God of peace Himself sanctify you through and through [separate you from profane things, make you pure and wholly consecrated to God]; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved sound and complete [and found] blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah). (Amplified Bible, emphasis mine)
I can so relate to the story of the little boy whose mother keeps insisting he sit down in his highchair. When he finally unlocks his knees and plops into the seat, his glare tells the real story: “I may be sitting down on the outside–but I’m still standing up on the inside!”
For a large part of my Christian life I was such a split personality—what you saw was not what you got, and what I did was not who I was. On the outside, I looked understanding, pious, orderly, and everything that you would expect from a godly woman. On the inside I was angry, fearful and full of shame. The sad thing was that I didn’t know it. I was convinced that what I was presenting to the world was the whole package, inside and out.
It wasn’t until I was introduced to inner healing through prayer counseling that I allowed the Lord—and myself—to take a look beneath the surface to see what was really there. I was lacking integrity; in other words, I was not whole.
How Prayer Counseling Leads Us Toward Wholeness
When you think of someone who lacks integrity, who comes to mind? Maybe you think of Bernie Madoff, who bilked so many people out of their money. Maybe you think about your boss who professed to be pro-family when she hired you, yet consistently expects you to put in 80-hour workweeks. Maybe you think about your next-door neighbor who preaches the gospel to you at the drop of a hat but whom you often hear screaming at his family.
The bottom line is, we usually think of mean people and hypocrites as the ones who lack integrity. But we rarely think of ourselves in that light.
One of the dictionary definitions of the word integrity is “the state of being whole, entire, or undiminished.” Another definition of integrity is “honesty.” According to those meanings, it would not be surprising to see how many of us (and yes, I mean us) lack integrity: in our hearts we are not whole and we are not honest—with God or ourselves—about who we really are and what we are really feeling.
Integrity is about wholeness of heart. It’s about being the same person in the dark as you are in the light. It’s about inward and outward reality being one and the same. You can be the nicest person to everyone around you, but if you secretly harbor hatred, unforgiveness, and feelings of worthlessness, then you have an integrity problem.
John and Paula Sandford of Elijah House Ministries have identified one of their ministry goals as “evangelizing the unbelieving parts of our hearts.” We all have compartments in our hearts that are not in agreement with one another, like rooms in a house that are light and bright while others are closed off, dark and dank. We may say that we believe what God’s word says, that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1), but if we constantly feel guilty and condemned in our hearts, there is a disconnect. There is one part of the heart embracing the truth of the gospel, while another part cringes before the God who gave His only Son to die for us.
Dropping the Mask and Finding Freedom
I have lost count of the number of times people find out during prayer counseling that there is a part of them that is hiding from God and/or others. I consistently hear reports of the Lord showing His children that they are wearing masks, veils, or costumes. Sometimes the Lord shows people that they’re inside shells, tents, or dark rooms. There are so many ways that our hearts “protect” us, trying their best to keep others, and even ourselves, from knowing what is really going on inside. Our thought processes go along these lines: “If others really knew who I am inside they would not accept me.” So we hide those parts of ourselves, often unconsciously. Sadly, we also think, “If God knew what was really in my heart, even He would not be able to accept me.”
When Jesus was asked what was the greatest commandment, He unhesitatingly replied ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ Matthew 22:37 (NKJV, emphasis mine). He knew that we needed the admonition to be whole.
Working out your salvation “with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12) is all about wholeness: it’s about bringing your heart and your mind and your will into agreement; becoming single-minded, inside and outside. Inner healing prayer is one of the tools that God has given His children to help us find that wholeness and integrity. By connecting with God’s truth, we find out where we are living lies and where we are not being true to ourselves. As our hearts experience His total love and acceptance, we are able to drop our masks and emerge from our hiding places.
The daughter who was never affirmed and celebrated as a child, who has tried to please everyone by meeting their needs, finally allows herself to receive from others. Wholeness begins to happen.
The son who was told every day of his young life that he would never amount to anything, who never dared to share his secret ambition to become a singer, finally risks letting others know his heart’s desires and taking steps towards that career. Wholeness begins to happen.
The church worker who is seen as competent and confident, but who has never really allowed anyone to see how much she fears condemnation or criticism, finally opens up to her small group and risks letting her community see what is on the inside. Wholeness begins to happen.
It’s God’s idea for us to be whole. As a prayer counselor, He has exhorted me to foster integrity: “I want you to continue to help people drop the mask, for my desire for my people is that they will have wholeness of heart.”
Wholeness Makes Us More Like Christ
Just as each part of our physical bodies need to be whole and sound in order for us to experience true well-being, so too must each member of the Body of Christ be spiritually whole and healthy in order for the church to operate as Jesus intended it to. However, becoming whole does not happen overnight, and it’s a journey we may not fully complete in our lifetimes on earth.
But it’s a goal worth seeking, because as we become more and more whole, we become more and more like Jesus, which is true discipleship.
Is your heart divided? Are you wearing a mask? Your heart—all of it—is so important to God. He wants it to be whole. Will you allow Him to heal it?
Prayer counseling is one means by which you can find healing for your entire heart, and find freedom in Christ to be your true self. Ready to continue the journey and make your appointment? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org (preferred) or call (571) 393-1278. We will respond in no later than 1 business day.