This Church Hurt Prayer is useful for those who have been rejected, discouraged or harmed by a church, religious institution or religious people.

If you or someone you know has been affected by church hurt, this guided prayer can bring God’s help and healing power.

Church Hurt Prayer for Those Who Have Been Rejected of Hurt by Religious People or Institutions

Dear God, I or someone I know has suffered a church hurt.  God, this isn’t supposed to happen to anyone in Your Church.  We’re supposed to accept, love and encourage each other.  We’re supposed to be able to prayerfully handle our differences with respect and honesty.

You already know what caused this church hurt, God, but it helps to put it into words so I can effectively pray through it.  Here’s what happened ________________________.

My Feelings

Here are the emotions that have been felt because of this church hurt as I describe them to You:








Cut off __________





Affirming Who I Am in God’s Sight

God, I want to move forward.  Help me to begin healing by focusing on the truth about who I am in Christ’s love and my great worth in your sight and in Christ’s church.  Here are the things that are true about me according to the Bible:

You made me in a wonderful way.

I thank you God that I am uniquely made by you as it says in the Bible: “I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”  Psalm 139:14 NIV

I am loved by You and through Jesus I have eternal life.

Thank you for sending Jesus so I can be close to You, saved by grace and a citizen of heaven as the Bible says, ““For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”  John 3:16 NIV

It doesn’t matter what I’ve done in the past because your present grace is all that matters.  As the Bible says, “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”  Romans 5:8  NIV

Jesus calls me his friend.

No matter what other people do or say, you are always my friend as You say, “I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.”  John 15:15 NIV

You have prepared good deeds for me to do and have given me the gifts to accomplish them.

I affirm that I am a valuable member of Your Kingdom and You have assigned me important things that only I can accomplish.  The Bible says, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”  Ephesians 2:10 NIV

I am an important part of the body of Christ, and no one can tell me I’m not needed or wanted. 

God, You have a special place for me in Christ’s church and without me, the church can’t work as well.  You talk about the church as a body, and about how the different parts of the body can’t tell the other parts they don’t need them.  Although some parts may seem more important than others, I’m just as important in the role you’ve assigned me.  Those who have discouraged me or rejected me from being a part of Christ’s church aren’t acting according to your truth.

The Bible says: “For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body…

Now the body is not made up of one part but of many…  if the ear should say, ‘because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,’ it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body.  If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing?  If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be?

The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I don’t need you!’  And the head cannot say to the feet, ‘I don’t need you!’

So that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other.  If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; If one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.

Now you are the body of Chis and each one of you is a part of it.”

! Corinthians  12:12,13,14,16,17,21,25-27.  NIV

This world comes with troubles and difficulties, but Jesus has overcome them all.

The world isn’t perfect and the church isn’t perfect.  Difficulties come and go.  My church hurt is part of a broken world.  Jesus understood this when he told us, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world.”  John 16:33 NIV

Nothing can separate me from Your love in Christ Jesus.

God, thank you for reminding me that no matter how people treat me, they can’t change your love for me or our relationship with each other.  The Bible says, “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”   Romans 8:38-39.  NIV

My prayers matter.

Even when I’ve been rejected or turned away by church hurt, I still have a direct line of communication with You in prayer.  You are always listening like the Bible says, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;”  Philippians 4:6  NIV

You are not pleased when someone causes pain to other believers.  But it is up to You to bring justice, not me.

God, I thank you for your justice and how it hurts You when someone hurts me and it pleases You when someone accepts me and welcomes me.  As the Bible says:

“And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me.  But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.”  Matthew 18:5,6 NIV

On the other hand, keep me from trying to play Your role God by imposing my own idea of justice on those who have caused my church hurt.  Show me how to give you room to work in both their lives and mine.  As the Bible says,

“Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘it is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord.  On the contrary:

If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.  In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.  Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

Romans 12:19-21 NIV

God, may all of these truths about how I am valued, loved, accepted and empowered by you sink deeply into my wounded heart that I might be a strong force for Your Kingdom in your world and in your church.

Guidance in Steps I Should Take

Knowing that with your strength I am able to act, I ask for your guidance about what to do next.  What are the specific actions I should take to continue healing from my hurt?

Do I need courage to try again?  

Lord, it’s hard to try again when you’ve been hurt.  Please give me the strength to not give up on You or the church but to try again.

Should I find a new church?

Are you calling me to look for a different church where I can start over, where I can make a fresh start with people who accept me and love me for who I am?

Should I look for a prayer partner or counselor? 

Having someone else’s perspective on my church hurt would be really helpful.  Please help me find a prayer partner who will listen to me and pray for my confidentially.  Or are You guiding me to go to help me find a Christian counselor or professional who can help me with deeper wounds?  

Should I talk to the people who hurt me? 

God, there’s a chance that communicating with the person who hurt me would help.  Should I write a letter or an email?  Talk to them?

Maybe it was a misunderstanding.  Maybe they need to know what they did so they won’t make the same mistake again.  Maybe I played a part in the problem.

If I am feeling led to contact the person, I need help.  Guide my words so they’re not confrontational.  Keep my emotions steady.  Examine my motivations to make sure I’m not trying to get even or hurt them like they hurt me.

Instead of contacting the person, should I journal it or write a letter I never mail?

I know that writing things down can help get things out and vent them.  If I write it down, would it be helpful to destroy it in some symbolic way like burning it?

Is this serious enough that I need to contact someone in authority about the person’s behavior?

In extreme cases, church hurt is caused by serious transgressions that need to be reported.  Is this a case of physical or mental abuse?  Discrimination?  Slander?  Abuse of power? Illegal actions such as misappropriating funds?  Immorality?  Deceitfulness?

Are you calling me to help others who have also been hurt?

Is there someone else out there who is suffering a church hurt I can help?  Are there acts of kindness, reaching out with notes or emails, giving a hug or other things I can do to help someone?

Do I need to pray against evil?

Spiritual warfare is real.  I pray Your protection over me using the armor of God from Ephesians 6:10-17.  I pray that I will have the belt of truth about who You are and who I am in your sight, the breastplate of righteousness to protect my heart, my feet equipped with the readiness to announce the gospel of peace, the shield of faith to protect me from the fiery darts of Satan when this hurt comes to mind, for the helmet of salvation to protect my mind and for the sword of the spirit, which is the Your Word in the Bible.

How should I pray for the person or group that hurt me?

Lord, with me this is impossible, but for you all things are possible.  Here is my prayer for the redemption and rehabilitation of those who caused my church hurt_______________________   

What other things should I do?

Here are some other thoughts that have come to me of things I can do ________________

Prayer for complete healing and restoration

God, I pray that you will restore everything that was taken from me by this church hurt.  Free me from the past.  Make me stronger, more faith-filled and more caring because of this experience.  May my reliance on You increase, and my worry about what others think decrease.  Place me in a church group that understands me, loves me and accepts me for who I am.  I am your child, worthy of your love and ready to serve you joyfully.


 What the Bible Says about Church Hurt

Church hurt is not new.  Although the Bible doesn’t use the term church hurt, there are many stories of people suffering at the hands of religious people.

The Wounds Jesus Suffered at the Hands of Religious People

During his time living on earth, Jesus was often the victim of ridicule, censure, violence and mistreatment by religious congregation members and the religious leaders of his day.

The ordinary people in his home congregation in Nazareth rejected Jesus when he spoke at the local synagogue.  They Bible says, “they took offense at him,” criticized him and rejected him and his teachings.  Jesus left town stunned by their unbelief. (see Mark 6:6)

Jesus endured diabolical mistreatment by the high-ranking religious leaders of his day who wanted to silence him because he was a threat to their own power, authority and positions. During his ministry, the religious leaders attributed Jesus’ healing powers to the work of the devil.  (see Matt. 12:22)  They criticized him for associating with sinners, healing people on the Sabbath when work was prohibited and for telling people they were forgiven.  They tried to trap him with trick questions and stirred up people against him.

Ultimately, they plotted to kill Jesus, had him arrested and condemned him to death.  In their religious council, they insulted him, spit in his face and struck and slapped him.  (see Matt. 26:67)  And while Jesus was dying on the cross, the religious leaders mocked him by saying, “He saved others and he can’t even save himself!”  (Matt 27:41-44)

Underneath it all, the devil himself was opposing Jesus at every turn.  The devil even prompted Peter, one of the main disciples, to tell Jesus not to go to Jerusalem so he wouldn’t be killed.  (Matt. 16:22,23)  Jesus rebukes the devil and Peter by saying, “You do not have in mind the things of God, but things of men.”  Sometimes even our friends can unknowingly cause spiritual hurt.  They may think they are protecting us by giving us human advice instead of considering the bigger picture of what God wants.

The magnitude of the injustice Jesus suffered at the hands of religious people is unparalleled in history.  Jesus endured it and didn’t allow it to destroy his relationship with God or his determination in his mission to save souls.  We are called on to do the same by persevering in our faith despite church hurt.

The Wounds Inflicted by Paul on church people

The apostle Paul, on the other hand inflicted terrible wounds on church members before his conversion.

Paul (then named Saul) was a very zealous Jewish religious leader.  We first meet Paul aiding and abetting in the stoning of the Christian martyr Stephen by holding the coats of the mob spontaneously and furiously executing Stephen.  The Bible tells us he was in full approval of Stephen’s death.  (Acts 8:1)

Paul became dead set on destroying the church and made it his mission to drag Christian men and women from their homes and throw them in prison, doing it all in the name of religious zeal. (Acts 8:3)

Paul was on his way to Damascus when he was physically blinded by a light and heard Jesus say to him, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.”  (Acts 9:5)

Paul converted to Christianity and went on to become a giant of faith who himself endured untold persecution at the hands of religious people of the Jewish faith, the practitioners of pagan religions and even by fellow Christians who criticized and opposed him.

We can learn much about church hurt from Paul.  The most astonishing lesson is that even someone who causes the worst church hurt imaginable is not beyond forgiveness, repentance and restoration into usefulness in God’s Kingdom.  Given this miracle, we are called to pray for those who have hurt us so that they might be forgiven, healed and rehabilitated by God.

Why I Wrote This Church Hurt Prayer

On my way to do silent outdoor meditation at a friend’s house, I looked for a small notebook that would fit in my pocket.  When I opened it during my meditation time, I was surprised to find a few notes I’d taken many years ago.  I’d forgotten how upset I’d been when someone got in a disagreement with a ministry leader and then used their influence to persuade others to shun the leader.   The leader was devastated and eventually left their job.

I wondered why God was bringing up such old business during my outdoor meditation time.  As I went to say goodbye to my friend, I told her about the uncomfortable memories the old notebook brought up.  She told me that church hurt was a real thing and that when she was a teenager, she had been hurt by a minister who wouldn’t allow women to speak in church.

Church hurt isn’t something we talk about often, but we should so we can identify it, pray about it, reach out to others who are hurting and persevere in our faith.

Church hurt happens for many reasons.  Often it’s the fault of imperfect people behaving selfishly,  wanting to be in charge or forgetting to act with love, kindness and grace.  Other times, things are stirred up by meddling outside forces or imposed by religious institutions that value tradition over mercy.  And still other times, the spiritual opposition and evil forces are at work to splinter churches and isolate people from each other.

What the Experts Say About Church Hurt

One source tells us that church hurt can cause very serious wounds in our soul, mind and heart because we the church is supposed to be refuge where we grow and are nurtured and loved.   Church hurt also causes damage to churches and ministries.

Experts advise us to not allow church hurt to turn us away from God or the church.  They advise seeking the wisdom of God’s word in the Bible and using prayer as a weapon defense, healing and guidance.

Other helpful articles

Getting Over Rejection Prayer

Broken Friendship Prayer for God’s Help When a Friend Says Things That Hurt You

Prayer to Leave the Past Behind So the Past No Longer Defines You

Dealing with Insults Prayer

Prayer When Someone Is Lying about You

Copyright Karen Barber 2024.  All rights reserved.