Prayer & Reflection

Healing the hurt within - an ancient practice

One of the most difficult aspects of life is addressing the hurt within ourselves. Whether it's something small or something big, if we don't seek healing, it can get much worse. Over the centuries, Christians have offered their hurts to God for mending and healing through prayer.
For this practice you ideally need a stone or pebble which fits in your hand, but you could use something else which feels heavy. The practice focuses on forgiveness: forgiving others, forgiving ourselves, and receiving forgiveness from God to live more freely. It is at the heart of Christianity, and it is something that all humans need to do to live well and flourish.

1. Pick up
Find a comfortable, quiet place. Start with your pebble on the ground. Pick it up and think about something which has hurt you. It might be a small thing or a bigger thing. It might be a situation close to you, or more distant.

2. Hold
Hold your pebble tightly in your non-dominant hand (the hand you don’t use to write). Picture the time you were hurt by this situation or person and allow yourself to feel the pain you still carry. It is a bit like being hit by a stone that has been thrown at you. Observe which emotions are involved. Notice what you feel in your body. Notice your thoughts too.

3. Throw?
Move the stone to your dominant hand (the one you use to throw). The stone could be used as a weapon; it was thrown at you and you could throw it back. Would that make anything better? How might it make things worse?

4. Let go
Feel the burden of the hurt inside. Ask, ‘Who is suffering? Have I carried this weight for long enough? Am I willing to forgive?’ If the answer is no, that’s OK. If you are ready to let the burden go, silently say:
‘Breathing in, I acknowledge the pain. Breathing out, I am forgiving ______.’ Repeat these words for as long as feels helpful.

5. Go
You can leave the pebble on the ground or you can leave it with God. You could find, draw or make a simple cross, and place the stone there. Jesus had many ‘stones’ thrown at him, but he refused to throw them back and instead forgave. Perhaps you also feel the need to be forgiven?

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