Prayer for the Addict

Prayer for the Addict

This people’s heart has grown dull, and with their ears they can barely hear, and their eyes they have closed . . . Matthew 13:15

I remember being terrified of sleeping in my grandparent’s basement when I was a kid. It was one big, unfinished space that made a lot of alien, ominous noises. My imagination manufactured all kinds of monsters lurking behind the furnace. For my own safety, I slept with the covers pulled over my head, hiding from whatever it was that creaked and groaned in the night. Had the fiends of my imagination been real, a blanket would have provided little protection. The self-imposed blindness worked though, only because there was never really any threat.

A similar approach with my addiction, however, was not helpful. I knew I had a problem, but as long as I could ignore it, I didn’t have to face it. So, I lived with my head under the covers, refusing to acknowledge my problem. It was only through deeply painful consequence that I opened my eyes, admitted my problem, and became willing to go through the misery of getting sober. I needed the hurt to finally make me see.

This self-imposed blindness is the condition described in today’s passage, in which Jesus laments the condition of those who reject him. Refusing his message of repentance, hope, and transformation, they choose instead to remain deaf, dumb, and blind. This is the addict who refuses to see that he needs treatment, meetings, faith, and recovery.

How do we help the one trapped in in this place? Often, unless we have some significant leverage over the addict, all we have is prayer, which shouldn’t be our last resort. So, how do we pray for the addict?

Here’s how I pray for those I know who are still trapped in the struggle. I pray that they’d open their eyes and pull their head out from under the covers. Honestly, I pray for painful boundaries and consequences to wake them up. I pray that those living in addiction would hit a wall that would turn them to God without killing themselves or anyone else. I pray that in their misery, they’d finally be able to hear Jesus’ message of repentance and transformation, and that they’d become willing to do what it takes to the know the hope, joy, and life found only in faith and recovery.

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