When a person has suffered severe abuse they are damaged socially and emotionally and physically. They also bear spiritual scars and need healing. Author Candyce Roberts has walked with many survivors of abuse as a minister of inner healing to those who are traumatized. This book describes some of the issues that sufferers of abuse face and the wisdom that Roberts has accumulated from ministering to them.
The ministry of inner healing involves inviting Jesus into the wounded areas of our heart and allowing him to bring healing to our past memories and broken parts. In focusing on sufferers of abuse, Roberts has often met those who have a ‘fractured personality’ (like Dissociative Identity Disorder but she cautions non-mental health professionals against diagnosing anyone). Often in sessions of prayer ministry, survivors of abuse will manifest different personalities. These are parts of the self that need healing and integration.
Throughout this book Roberts gives advice to prayer ministers on: confronting fear and denial, inviting Christ in the picture to minister to the person, helping the person work toward forgiveness, addressing false beliefs, ministering to children, learning wholeness, the role of community in bringing healing to the abused and cultivating intimacy. Roberts brings a lot of wisdom and experience to bear on the issues and is a trustworthy guide on how to minister to broken people. While the focus of this book is survivors of abuse, much of what she has to say applies to prayers for inner healing in general.
But while I affirm inner healing and Roberts general approach to it, I remain skeptical about pieces of this. Roberts (and Neil T. Anderson who writes the forward) speak of Satanic Ritual Abuse (SRA). Her rhetoric about SRA is not the goat/human sacrifice hysteria of the late 1980’s, but she does posit that there are victims of abuse perpetuated by members pf cults(Satanists or otherwise) who intentionally fragment the personality of a child through ritual abuse. This is a bold and controversial claim, not least because trauma memories are not universally accepted as particularly reliable. Wounded people may ‘remember’ traumas in therapy when primed by a therapist, whether or not the events actually occurred. It seems to me a similar phenomenon may also happen in inner healing ministry, so I skeptical about the more fanciful tales (though I would concede that the world really has people that evil who cause wounds that deep). However whether abuse is real or imagined by someone, they still need the healing Jesus offers and Roberts method of prayer seems effective to me. My heart goes out to the victims and I don’t want to seem insensitive about the parts I disagree with Roberts on.
So I give this book a middle of the road endorsement (3/5). There was a lot in here I found helpful and I think Roberts offers some helpful advice for praying for inner healing with the wounded, but I am unsure that everything that happened to the survivors she describes, really happened the way they described it.
Thank you to Chosen books for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for this honest review.