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The effects of trauma can be devastating. I know. I know it from my own experience, and also from the countless stories of others. For believers, trauma can become a faith crisis, as we wonder how a loving and sovereign God can allow his children to suffer various tragedies that no one should ever have to experience. Where do we go to find answers to these deep questions that arise. We have a strong tendency to minimize or deny the incidents of trauma and their effects among us. It’s so much easier to ignore or to even refuse to believe it – because if we do – our benevolent worldview might be shaken. We’d rather not deal with the resulting intense emotions and messy outcomes.

The consequences for ignoring or denying the results of trauma are serious. Those who have suffered trauma can be re-traumatized and marginalized by the response – or lack of response – from their own congregations.

What if, instead of turning away, congregations acknowledged trauma as real – and not uncommon? What if we faced trauma head on and allowed the Lord into that space? Our God is a redeeming God. He is able to bring healing and wholeness to even the most devastating situations. I know. I know it from my own experience, and also from the countless stories of others. When we don’t acknowledge the brokenness, we also don’t get to see God’s redeeming power at work. One web-based organization, designed to assist families of faith impacted by abuse (, features the story of a stained glass window, which tells of how shards of glass from a broken window are re-designed into a new stained glass window, one with a different picture. I love the image as a reminder of the power of God, to take what’s been shattered by trauma, and create something new and beautiful, something that reflects his glory.

The Church has unique assets to promote such deep healing, not least of which is the very presence of the Lord in our midst. When the church is a caring community of people, infused with the gentleness of the Holy Spirit and the strong love of God, it’s hard to imagine a better context for trauma recovery.

The American Bible Society’s Trauma Healing Institute uses applied Scripture and mental health principles to address spiritual and emotional wounds caused by trauma. This proven model, outlined in the book, Healing the Wounds of Trauma: How the Church Can Help, has been effectively used in over 50 countries – and it’s soon to come to Grand Rapids, MI. This 3-day initial equipping session, sponsored by World Renew and CRC Safe Church Ministry, will take place from 8:30-5:00 February 1-3 at the CRCNA denominational offices. $100 U.S. covers all materials and lunches each day. The event is sponsored by World Renew and Safe Church Ministry. Find out more and register for the Trauma Healing event here, or for more information, contact [email protected]


I recently discovered this resource, 4 Truths Church Leaders Should Know about PTSD. I am not personally acquainted with Reboot Combat Recovery (so this is not an endorsement), but the linked article is great! It lays out many of the same principles discussed above and can help church leaders begin thinking in terms of helping heal the spiritual wounds of trauma. Although Reboot is a resource geared toward combat trauma, it is not exclusive to that population. The article points out that their principles can apply to any trauma.

Very helpful article - Thank you so much for sharing it. There are many commonalities in the experience and the impacts of various kinds of trauma, as well as unique aspects to the experience of physical and sexual abuse. I appreciate those who don't ignore or deny that these issues exist within our congregrations, but rather choose to learn, and to respond in helpful ways. Thanks again for sharing.

There is a Christian Counsellor, Alf Davis, who resides in Bracebridge Ontario.

He has a healing prayer ministry where during the counselling process, asks the client to invite Jesus into a memory and then to ask Jesus to tell them the truth. Healing is instantaneous.

Alf comes to two federal prisons where I volunteer. Statistics show that 90% of the men in federal prisons come from fatherless homes or homes where they wish the father had been absent. I have seen men, when they meet with Alf, completely changed in one or two one hour sessions.

Alf travels around the world teaching lay people how to do this type of healing. His teaching manual and 5 hours of free video instructions are on his website:

All the materials are under the heading: "Counsellors".

Alf says his counselling is easy as he spends most of his time leading the clients to be led by Holy Spirit into a memory and then asking the client to ask Jesus to be present bringing his truth.





I was part of an ecumenical "Living Free" inner healing prayer ministry for many years. It was transformative for me and for the many people that we prayed with and for, as we saw the Lord show up in amazing ways and bring healing. We were trained from various folks, in various types of inner healing prayer. Brad Long/PRMI, Terry Wardle, and Ed Smith/Theophostic, which seems to fit closely with your description of Alf Davis. We considered all these methods and our training as tools in our toolboxes - tools that Jesus could use. The main focus of the ministry was bringing people into the presence of Christ, like the friends of the paralyzed man who tore through the roof to lower their friend to Jesus. It was their faith, the faith of the friends that brought healing (see Mark 2). And some of us also had other tools, such as bachelor and master degrees, training in Spiritual Direction, etc. What we learned in doing the ministry together was that the Lord can work with our expertise, and also without our expertise. The key is learning to listen and trust the Holy Spirit. Usually we would be completely surprised at how something unfolded and what happened in our prayer sessions. And then we were surprised again that we were surprised, because it happened all the time. I pray for healing prayer, and for prayer in general, to be a greater part of our ministry in CRC congregations. I also pray that the Lord will use this Trauma Healing workshop to further healing in his church. It's another tool that we can have in our toolbox, one that the Lord can use for his glory.

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