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Parent wounds

Families from a crucial foundation for how we develop as individuals. Our parents are the first and most significant persons in our lives to demonstrate how worthy we are of love and attention. Yet, no parent is perfect. In fact, they may have been victims of broken upbringings themselves and pass on their own feelings to us. Children who have endured prolonged periods of feeling misunderstood, frightened, neglected, or abandoned will invariably suffer from invisible parent wounds and struggle with their self-esteem as adults. Here is a prayer to lift up our grievances about our parents to our Heavenly Father, who is perfect and everything we could hope for in a Parent.

(See Chinese versions: 简体中文 > 父母创伤 | 繁體中文 > 父母創傷)


A prayer to lift up our parent wounds to God

Dear Heavenly Father,

I confess that I wish I had a different dad and/or mum, I would have preferred anyone who would understand and cherish me for who I am. At times, my own parents have acted selfishly and carelessly. As a child, I felt frightened, helpless, and trapped. I struggled with feelings I did not know how to express and anxieties I did not know how to ask for help for. I felt that there was no one to help and guide me. I felt abandoned to fend for myself. 

Psalm 142:4-5 NIV  Look and see, there is no one at my right hand; no one is concerned for me. I have no refuge; no one cares for my life. I cry to you, LORD; I say, “You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.”

Could You not have given me more understanding, kinder, and more loving parents? Who would make time for me and listen to me? Who rejoiced when I rejoiced and wept when I wept?

Romans 12:15 ESV  Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.

Even though I know they did their best to raise me, I cannot say that I have truly felt a strong bond with my parents. Repeated disappointments and discouragements have made my heart bitter. 

Colossians 3:21 NIV  Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.

At the same time, I feel very conflicted because I know I should honour my parents. They provided me with shelter and food, and I feel like I have broken the law of of filial piety. Yet deep inside, I feel frustrated and disconnected. I have tried to suppress and ignore these feelings, and overcome my bitterness on my own, but I find these feelings eat me up and follow me into every other relationship.

Also, see Filial piety (孝, xiào), playing by Confucius’ family rules.

Matthew 15:4 ESV  For God commanded, ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’

I also feel guilty because I feel like I have been a bad person. I truly want to be able to be joyful, free, and loving towards my parents but right now, I just don’t have the energy to. I feel anxious and defensive in every interaction with them because deep inside, I simply dislike and despise them. I can’t help but judge them and assume the worst every time. Why don’t they listen to my wants and needs? Surely, there’s nothing wrong with desiring to feel significant, understood, and wanted.

Thank you, Father God, that You have proven Your love for me by sending Your Son to die for my sins. How can I compare with Your beautiful Son, that You would sacrifice Someone so perfect for someone like me? I confess I find it hard to believe this sometimes. Subconsciously, I reject this truth.

Romans 5:6-8 ESV  For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

This is because I have painted an image of You in my heart that is based on my earthly parents, rather than on Your True Word. I find it hard to believe in a perfect relationship with You because of my imperfect relationship with my parents, and I have allowed my feelings about them to distort my understanding of and faith towards You. Yet I cannot help it because I have not yet confessed and released all my grief over my parents and the consequences of my family’s actions over the course of my entire life.

1 Peter 5:6-7,10 ESV  Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.

So today, I choose to release all this pain to You today.

You have told me in Your Word that when I humble myself before You and cast all my anxieties to You, You will come to restore, confirm and strengthen me Yourself. I do desire that.

1 Peter 5:7 NIV  Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

I begin by admitting that I too have sinned against God and my parents by criticising, judging and condemning them. I may have even hated them. I have accused them of being unloving, but I myself have not always been loving towards them either. By confessing my sin, I release my parents for You to save or to destroy because that is Your prerogative. It is not up to me to take over Your position as their judge. Father, please forgive me for making myself lord and judge.

James 4:11-12 NLT  Don’t speak evil against each other, dear brothers and sisters. If you criticize and judge each other, then you are criticizing and judging God’s law. But your job is to obey the law, not to judge whether it applies to you. God alone, who gave the law, is the Judge. He alone has the power to save or to destroy. So what right do you have to judge your neighbor?

Father, You have warned me repeatedly in the Bible that I should not dishonour or curse my father or mother, as this will bring calamity and curses back onto me. Whatever evil I sow, I will always reap. So, I repent of dishonouring my parents by my attitude and actions, such as (please list the ways), and cursing them for being (please list here.)

Also, see Cursing our parents curses us back.

Leviticus 20:9 ESV  If anyone curses his father or mother, he must be put to death. He has cursed his father or mother; his blood shall be upon him.

Deuteronomy 27:16 ESV  Cursed is he who dishonors his father or mother.’ And let all the people say, ‘Amen!’

Proverbs 20:20 ESV  Whoever curses his father or mother, his lamp will be extinguished in deepest darkness.

Psalm 109:17 ESV  He loved to curse; let curses come upon him! He did not delight in blessing; may it be far from him!

My confession does not mean that what my parents did was acceptable, it simply means I choose not to be chained down to and held back by their sins anymore. In the past, I have allowed them to become the benchmark by which I lead my life, and vowed to (please list all inner vows e.g. “I will never be like them,” “I must prove myself,” “I will get back at them,” etc.). Today, I renounce all these inner vows because they are based on what my parents have done, and not what Jesus has done for me.

Also, see Inner vows must be revoked.

Psalm 126:3 ESV The Lord has done great things for us; we are glad.

I confess I made my parents my “anti-idol,” in that I have made their past words and actions central to many of my life decisions, rather than You, and inflated their role in my life to overshadow Yours. I have idolised them, please forgive me. Today, I repent of this grave error. My parents will only live a few more decades on this earth, but You, oh Lord, live forever and Your Word goes on forever. Thank you that You have asked me to call You my Father first and foremost. My relationship with You is forever too. The one with my parents only lasts on this earth. Please give me the stamina to love them as You do, until the end of our days on earth.

Also, see 4 ways we unknowingly idolise our parents.

Matthew 23:9 ESV  And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven.

Today, I choose to release my heart from the toxic emotions still buried deep inside me.

Oh God, You know all the years of grief and intense sorrow I have endured over my relationship with my parents. You have been with me all the way. You are not a God who stands to one side, You are not indifferent and uncaring. Your Word shows me that You are moved and greatly troubled by my pain. Also, Jesus grieved openly and included His disciples in His times of weeping and sorrow. You are a God who weeps with me and rejoices with me.

Mark 14:33-34 ESV  And he took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be greatly distressed and troubled. And he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death. Remain here and watch.”

John 11:35 ESV  Jesus wept.

John 11:33 ESV  When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled.

Where I have told myself to not cry or revisit my emotions, I now break that inner vow in Jesus’ name. Today, I give my heart permission to openly speak of my pain and confess them all to You. You are the God of all comfort and my heart is safe in Your hands. (Please confess all your hurts, disappointments, accusations, and judgements here. Please do not hold back yourself from crying or weeping.)

2 Corinthians 1:3-5 ESV  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.

My parents are supposed to protect, cherish, nurture, guide and love me, but they have fallen short and followed their own fears and insecurities instead. Other times, they have taken out their frustrations on me or bullied me.

Today, instead of looking at them from a child’s perspective, I choose to come of age, emotionally, and look at them, adult to adult.

1 Corinthians 13:11 ESV  When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.

As I review my wider family relationships, I confess that I can see similar unhealthy patterns passed down through the generations. I acknowledge that my parents are imperfect and simply repeat much of what they have learnt or experienced themselves. They need Your grace as much as I do. Today, I choose to forgive them for their imperfections and faults.

Mark 11:25 ESV  And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”

I thank you, God, that I can turn my deepest desire to be loved towards You. I can be Your child when I follow Your will and do things Your way.

Romans 8:15-16 ESV  For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,

So today, I choose to be a child of God and bless my parents and repent of all my bitterness and accusations towards my parents, who are merely human beings with their own issues and flaws. I turn away from blaming them for my issues and my pain, and take responsibility for my own responses. I repent for my self-entitlement, resentment, and bitterness.

I confess the sins of my forefathers, both from my father’s and mother’s family lines. These include (please confess the sins of your parents, grandparents, and great grandparents, such as idol worship, witchcraft, adultery, abortions, hatred etc.), and ask that all generational curses from their sins be broken in Jesus’ name.

Also, see Breaking generational curses

Exodus 20:4-5 ESV  “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me,

God has been with me all the days of my life. No one has ever proven their love for me as You have, through the sacrifice of Jesus to purchase my soul, But I confess that I feel that You probably love other people more than me – because of my own interactions with my parents. Please forgive me.

Also, see Parent wounds need to be healed.

Thank you that You have taken me in, even if my earthly parents have forsaken me. Your Word tells me that You cherish and nourish me as if I am part of Your own flesh. You hold me by my hand when I chose to follow Jesus and live a godly life.

Psalm 27:10 ESV  For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the Lord will take me in.

Ephesians 5:29 ESV  For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church,

Psalm 37:23-24 NLT  The LORD directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the LORD holds them by the hand.

Thank you that You never abandon me, because You have given me Your Spirit to be with me, 24/7. 

John 14:15-18.,21 NLT  “If you love me, obey my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you. No, I will not abandon you as orphans—I will come to you… Those who accept my commandments and obey them are the ones who love me. And because they love me, my Father will love them. And I will love them and reveal myself to each of them.”

I confess that years of bitter and painful emotions have accumulated in my heart and my painful experiences have blinded me from remembering my happier childhood memories. Holy Spirit, please bring these back from my deepest memory so that I have a more balanced view of my childhood – of both the good and bad times.

I offer my body as a living sacrifice for Your glory and commit to walking with You as I learn from you and find rest for my soul. My heart has been heavy for a long time, and today, I desire Your rest.

Matthew 11:28-30 ESV  Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Thank you, Father, for Your faithfulness and undying love for me..

In Jesus’ name, amen.


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