Improving Communication Skills
Lack of communication skills is one of the greatest hindrances to healthy relationships. Most of the time, when we pray, we are seeking change. We cannot change others, but we can submit to the constant ministry of transformation by the Holy Spirit. (Rom. 12:1,2.)
Prayer prepares us for change. Change produces change, which may be uncomfortable. If we will move through the discomfort, God will work with us, leading us out of our self-developed defense mechanisms into a place of victory. In this place He heals our brokenness, becomes our defense and our vindication. We are enabled to submit to the Champion of our salvation, which we are working out with fear and trembling. (Phil. 2:12.)
Adults who grew up in judgmental, critical homes where they were never allowed to express themselves sometimes carry much hurt and anger into their relationships. Often, they were not permitted to have their own feelings without being condemned; they were not permitted to explore any ideas different than their parents’ or caregivers’. There was an eye watching their every move. Any punishment they received was justified. Their parents were incapable of making a mistake.
Adult children of religiously rigid environments were led to believe that any slip, error in judgment or mistake was a sin that would send them straight to hell; the parent’s religious doctrine was the only way to heaven, and to deviate from it would lead to destruction. Forgiveness could be attained only after much sorrow, penance and retribution. Death before the completion of repentance led to an eternity in hell.
People raised in such oppressive home environments were never allowed to find themselves or to travel their own individual spiritual journeys leading to truth. The head of the home, usually the father, was God in the flesh. Conflict resolution was never taught or practiced. Whatever the head of the household said was law — and disobedience to his law was not discussed, but beaten out of the child. The wife was subservient and was not allowed to question the dictates of the husband.
When these adults marry, they often feel that they have finally found a platform from which to express themselves. They have escaped a place of abiding fear, constant condemnation and continual criticism. Having no communication skills, they often have difficulty expressing themselves properly. When anyone disagrees with them, they tend to react as they were taught. Only now, the marriage partner or friend does not submit to dogmatic, manipulative words. Frustration develops. The adult child seeks to make himself or herself understood, resulting in more frustration. Anger is fed, and the individual continues to be in bondage to the idea that he or she should never have been born. The person either retreats to a silent corner, refusing to talk, or uses words to build walls of defense — shutting others out. He or she resides inside emotional isolation, attempting to remove himself or herself from more hurt and criticism.
There is a way of escape. God sent His Word to heal us and to deliver us from all our destructions. (Ps. 107:20.) We must determine to listen, to learn and to change with the help of the Holy Spirit — our Teacher, our Guide and our Intercessor. The anointing is upon Jesus to bind up and heal our emotional wounds. (Luke 4:18.) His anointing destroys every yoke of bondage (Is. 10:27), setting the captives free.
Father, I am Your child. Jesus said that if I pray to You in secret, You will reward me openly.
Father, I desire with all my heart to walk in love, but I am ever sabotaging my own efforts and failing in my relationships. I know that without faith it is impossible to please and be satisfactory to You. I am coming near to You, believing that You exist and that You are the Rewarder of those who earnestly and diligently seek You.
Show “me” to me. Uncover me — bring everything to the light. When anything is exposed and reproved by the light, it is made visible and clear; and where everything is visible and clear there is light.
Heal the past wounds and hurts that have controlled my behavior and my speech. Teach me to guard my heart with all diligence, for out of it flow the very issues of life. Teach me to speak the truth in love in my home, in my church, with my friends and in all my relationships. Also, help me to realize that others have a right to express themselves. Help me to make room for their ideas, their opinions, even when they are different than mine.
Words are powerful. The power of life and death is in the tongue, and You said that I would eat the fruit of it.
Father, I realize that words can be creative or destructive. A word out of my mouth may seem of no account, but it can accomplish nearly anything — or destroy it! A careless or wrongly placed word out of my mouth can set off a forest fire. By my speech I can ruin the world, turn harmony to chaos, throw mud on a reputation, send the whole world up in smoke, and go up in smoke with it smoke right from the pit of hell. This is scary!
Father, forgive me for speaking curses. I am reacting out of past hurts and unresolved anger. At times I am dogmatic, even boasting that I am wise; sometimes, unknowingly I have twisted the truth to make myself sound wise; at times I have tried to look better than others or get the better of another; my words have contributed to things falling apart. My human anger is misdirected and works unrighteousness.
Father, forgive me. I cannot change myself, but I am willing to change and walk in the wisdom that is from above.
Father, I submit to that wisdom from above that begins with a holy life and is characterized by getting along with others. It is gentle and reasonable, overflowing with mercy and blessings, not hot one day and cold the next, not two-faced. Use me as Your instrument to develop a healthy, robust community that lives right with You. I will enjoy its results only if I do the hard work of getting along with others, treating them with dignity and honor.
With the help of the Holy Spirit and by Your grace, I will not let any unwholesome talk come out of my mouth, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
My heart overflows with a goodly theme; I address my psalm to You, the King. My tongue is like the pen of a ready writer. Mercy and kindness shut out all hatred and selfishness, and truth shuts out all deliberate hypocrisy or falsehood; and I bind them about my neck, write them upon the tablet of my heart.
I speak excellent and princely things; and the opening of my lips shall be for right things. My mouth shall utter truth, and wrongdoing is detestable and loathsome to my lips. All the words of my mouth are righteous (upright and in right standing with You, Lord); there is nothing contrary to truth or crooked in them. My tongue is as choice silver, and my lips feed and guide many. I open my mouth in skillful and godly wisdom, and on my tongue is the law of kindness [giving counsel and instruction].
Father, thank You for loving me unconditionally. I thank You for sending Your Son, Jesus, to be my Friend and elder Brother and for giving me Your Holy Spirit to teach me and to bring all things to my remembrance. I am an overcomer by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of my testimony.
In the name of Jesus I pray, amen.
If you would like to continue to pray on this topic, Germaine suggests that you pray the Prayers for the Needs and Concerns of Marriage Partners and Heads of Households or for the Individual to be found in the Prayers That Avail Much Commemorative Edition.
1 John 3:1 Ephesians 4:29 niv
Matthew 6:6 Psalm 45:1 amp
Hebrews 11:6 amp Proverbs 3:3 amp
Ephesians 5:13 amp Proverbs 8:6-8 amp
Proverbs 4:23 Proverbs 10:20,21 amp
Ephesians 4:15 Proverbs 31:26 amp
Proverbs 18:21 Romans 8:31-39 niv
James 3:5,6 message Hebrews 2:11 niv
James 3:9-16 message John 15:15 niv
James 3:17 John 14:26
James 3:17,18 message Revelation 12:11
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