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Finding God... In Your Past Pain


He was shot... he was buried alive... he found extraordinary healing! You can, too!

Sometimes, the most difficult times to sense God’s presence is in the difficult things that have happened in the past.


Where was God when it hurt?

Where was God when my friend ditched me...

when I was left alone in my trauma...

when I had no one to help me through my childhood pain?


By faith, we know that God was present in your past. But it's also true that God is present in your past--right now. Jesus claimed, “Before Abraham was, I AM.” (John 8) He exists--present tense--in 2000 BC when Abraham was alive. And he stands beside you in the memory of your greatest pain.


God is willing to walk with you back into the challenging memory with you. He can help you process it. He will show you that he's glad to be with you, even in your pain.


A few years ago, Dr. Jim Wilder flew to Asia to meet with a group of mental health professionals and lay people. Recent violence in this Asian country had left the trainees traumatized and confused. Everyone listened closely to what Dr. Wilder had to say about Immanuel Prayer.


A few nonbelievers had been sent to the training by their therapy practice. They also listened eagerly as Wilder explained how to connect with Jesus inside past traumatic memories. As they experienced Jesus' gentle presence, they realized that God’s presence had been there all along, even in those dark places. Their debilitating memories were resolved, and many of them decided to follow Jesus.[1]


One of the participants had been shot by terrorists.[2] Assuming he was dead, the terrorists buried him in a shallow mass grave. The man suffered considerable PTSD after he woke up, found himself suffocating underground, and had to dig himself out of the grave.

However, during the week of Immanuel Training, he gained a visceral realization that Jesus had been with him, even in the darkest pit. As a result, his PTSD symptoms appeared to resolve permanently.[3]


Karl Lehman's Immanuel Approach is based on a simple gratitude exercises that activates our relational brain circuits, preparing them to connect with Jesus. In today’s digital world, we don’t use use our relational brain circuits very much (thalamus and basal ganglion for relational attachment and cingulate cortex for relational synchronization). That's why we need to be intentional about activating those circuits so that we can connect with God and others.


Once participants feel deep appreciation and have their connective brain circuits online, participants ask Jesus to help them sense his presence. With a two-way connection to Jesus established, they ask him directly about the questions or traumas that are bothering them. Around the world, this method has succeeded in healing trauma at a much higher rate than normal therapy, even higher than EMDR. This method has healed trauma on many people, including nonbelievers who were sent to the training by their therapy practice; people who were angry at God; people who are afraid of God; people who have been sex trafficked; people who have experienced extreme trauma, including being shot, buried alive and crawling out of a mass grave.


Karl Lehman explains that each of us has a pain-processing pathway in our brains.[4] If a difficult experience makes it all the way through the pathway, the pain adds to our empathy, wisdom, resilience and strength. But if it gets stuck, it becomes a traumatic memory. It's a bit like a digestive system.

Pain Processing Pathway

If the food makes it all the way through, we digest it and it gives us strength. But if there's a perforation in the system, the leaking digestive material gets stuck, causing infection. It never processes... it never heals.



We need God, like a loving surgeon, to revisit those areas of "stuck" pain and help us process and heal. Every time we are triggered by an unresolved memory, God is giving us the opportunity to resolve that pain. And through Immanuel Prayer, Karl Lehman has developed an effective, safe way to meet Jesus in the pain.


We often don't sense God's presence while we are going through the pain. But looking back, we can see how God was with us all along.




To learn more about the Immanuel Approach:




Learn more about the Pain Processing Pathway


[1] Immanuel Approach https://www.immanuelapproach.com/ “Brain Science, Emotional Healing, and the God Who is With Us” are very technical, scientific articles that are available as free downloads on the Internet that explain this method. [2] Jim Wilder, Outsmarting Yourself, 81 http://www.immanuelapproach.com/pdf/Chapters1-5%28Draft%29NewBook.pdf [3] Jim Wilder, Outsmarting Yourself, 81 http://www.immanuelapproach.com/pdf/Chapters1-5%28Draft%29NewBook.pdf

[4] See Karl Lehman, The Pain Processing Pathway: Outsmarting Yourself Lecture 1 https://vimeo.com/49404723 See also https://catholicpsychotherapy.org/resources/2019%20Conf%20Handouts/Session%20223_1%20Immanuel%20Terms.pdf

[5] Go to Immanuelapproach.com, and you can read as many scholarly articles as you want.


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