He was prominent in the community. What woman wouldn’t feel fortunate to be his wife? She had all the finer things in life and the children. Didn’t they have the best money could buy? How could she think about destroying such a picture-perfect family or risk stepping into an unknown future? Where would she go? What could she do? How would she support herself? Even worse, if she began to expose the terrible truth, would she lose the children? She felt hopeless. Who would believe her? She had been so skillful at hiding her feelings, as well as the bruises. With swollen, tear-stained eyes, she reasoned ‘It’s mostly my fault anyway!’
Domestic abuse falls into a common pattern or cycle of violence
Abuse – An abusive partner lashes out with aggression, belittling or violent behavior; “to show you who is the boss.”
Guilt – After abusing, they experience guilt, but not for what they have done. They worry about being caught and facing the consequences of their abusive behaviour.
Excuses – The abuser often rationalises what he or she has done. They may come up with excuses or blame you for their abusive behaviour—anything but taking responsibility. An abuser’s apologies and loving gestures in between episodes of abuse make it difficult to leave the cycle of abuse.
The following are a few prayer guidelines to help you pray for yourself or someone facing domestic violence on a regular basis.
Compassion: God of compassion, give me compassion for those who suffer domestic violence or other forms of abuse. Help me not to judge abusers, but to pray for them on a regular basis. Give me Your heart of compassion and wisdom regarding how I can help and assist in practical ways.
Yourself: Merciful God, comfort me in my distress. Help me not to give in to anger, fear, resentment, bitterness, or unforgiveness; but remind me of Your promises of love, joy, and hope. Fill me with Your peace. Heal any diseases in my body, mind or soul. Heal me of the memories or emotions which threaten to overwhelm me at times and tempt me to go back to thinking thoughts that are not Your thoughts.
Children: Compassionate God, protect the innocent children who suffer from or witness violence and abuse from a parent or family member. Please keep Your hand upon their lives at all times. Restore them to be able to trust and love, and heal their broken souls.
Victims: Almighty God, I pray today for all victims of abuse. Surround them with Your care and protect them through Your loving-kindness. May they experience health, wholeness and strength; calmness, peace and love. Most of all, may they experience Your presence and grow spiritually.
Church: Lord of the body of Christ, reveal Yourself to the church so that it may become a safe place where victims of abuse can honestly share their experiences without ridicule or judgment. Grant wisdom to church leaders that they may call perpetrators to account and create a place where victims of abuse may find justice and healing.
Workers: Holy Spirit, comfort and protect all who work to help victims of domestic violence, rape and assault. Give them the strength and courage every day to listen to the hurts of others. Help them as they seek to comfort and guide those who come to them for help.
The Psalms offer hope for the afflicted. LORD you have heard the desire of the humble; You will prepare their heart; You will cause Your ear to hear, to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, that the man of the earth may oppress no more. (Psalm 10:17-18). Today, put your hope in the Lord and ask Him for guidance on what to do in your circumstances.