July 22

Vows, Pt. 3 (Inner Vows)

Psalm 28:7a The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in Him, and I am helped;

Old ungodly vows can be a great impediment to our spiritual progress. They must be identified, repented of, and renounced. And the Lord may have to bring healing to a bruised area of our soul.

Inside of an inner vow are hurts waiting to be healed, and prayers waiting to be released.

For example: “No one is going to tell me what to do again.” This clearly comes from a desire to not get hurt again. Maybe we didn’t know about the love of God when the hurt occurred. But now we do, and it’s time to forgive the offense and the offender. As He has forgiven us, we extend that forgiveness to others. Then we can ask the Lord to heal any hurt left over from the experience, and to undo all the mental and emotional tangling that goes with making ungodly inner vows.

Prayer example: “Lord, there were people who tried to control me when I was young. Some meant well, and some didn’t. But Lord, I forgive those that hurt me. I forgive all those that yelled at me, that screamed at me, who tried to control me for their own purposes. Lord, I release them all. Amen.

Next, we repent and then renounce the vow. This can be anywhere from confusing to maddening. After all, it was someone else who hurt me! What do I have to repent of? But if you forgave that sin, it’s now forgiven. We sinned in making a vow before forgiving, before asking God’s wisdom and direction, and doing it in our own strength. Bottom line: We left God out of things and moved ahead. We didn’t let Him be our Defender! That needs to be repented of. (Take your time and let that soak in slowly; but do receive it.)

Prayer example: “Forgive me for making a vow that depended on my own strength to fulfill it. Lord, I repent of that sin, and I renounce that vow. I don’t want to operate that way anymore. I want to let you become Lord of this whole situation. I take my hands off of it!”

That puts us in a place that seems very vulnerable. But it’s where we discover His strength and covering.

Finally, release the prayers that have been waiting—sometimes for years—to be prayed! They’ve been waiting down there to be expressed, and now is the time.

Prayer example: “Lord, I’ve been hurt by others (in this area). You’ve forgiven me, and I’ve forgiven them. Lord, please heal the hurts that I received. No vow, no determination I make can heal the hurt—those things could only put a protective shell over the hurt. Lord, I also ask you to heal those who have hurt me, and if they’ve passed on, please heal the others they’ve hurt. Show me how to deal righteously before you with my emotions and my attitudes. Help me to trust you like I should. Amen.”

Oh, the freedom and joy that awaits us in the Lord as we go from grace to grace and glory to glory! There is more power to this process than you can know. It’s work, and it’s worth it.

Prayer: Lord, help me to work with Your Spirit in bringing to light every ungodly inner vow I’ve made. Help me replace vows and judgments with new trust in You, and help me replace my hurts with your healing, and release every prayer that these vows have locked up all these years. Thank You!

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