The Selfer's Prayer
This prayer originated with Dr. Charles Solomon in his book, Handbook To Happiness. In the context of Dr. Solomon's ministry, in the way he presented it, it may have had value. Betty Geftakys' implementation of it in the Assembly was another matter entirely--the Selfer's Prayer became a tool of mind control to stop critical thinking and induce submission to Assembly authority. In answer to a letter we wrote to Dr. Solomon, we received an in-depth reply which quotes from George's books and refutes the false teaching.
The Selfer's Prayer
Father, I admit that I'm a selfer, and have been
struggling in my own resources to live the Christian life.
I confess that my life is a failure and a mess.
I now give up my life and affirm with You my
death with Christ. I also affirm that I have risen with
Christ and am seated in Him in the heavenly places.
I give you complete control of myself and
everything I'm hanging onto to meet my needs.
Do with me whatever you choose.
I now thank you that Christ is my life.
See this prayer in the context of the chart that sums up the whole teaching as it was presented in Assembly workshops.
Anonymous on the Assemblyboard 12/15/2002: In a nutshell, this prayer was to be memorized by everyone in the Worker’s meetings. Then, the leadership (and their wives) had to memorize it as well. Consequently everyone in each Assembly was to memorize it.
It was to be used in the following ways: When someone sinned outwardly or in their thoughts, they were to pray it. If someone higher up in the hierarchical ladder told you to pray it, then you were to follow through. Incidentally, I would never have been allowed to entreat someone of higher rank than myself to pray this prayer. It was always a top-down method of control. In addition, anytime a head steward or Worker said you were in sin, you needed to pray it.
It was a method of control targeted primarily at the sisters. Many are in such bondage that they cannot question any ministry or direction given without being directed to say the Selfer’s Prayer. When I was in the Valley Lodge, I then found it impossible to talk to many sisters, because many sisters started looking to the leadership as their fathers. If their own fathers are in fellowship, they have even more now!
Anonymous, 12/13/05 "So, after confessing our sin, and calling on Jesus' Name, by the enabling of the Holy Spirit, we must now go further, and admit to being a "Selfer?"
I guess my first question would be, "How is a person to live their life without using their own resources?" If the preceding is even possible, how does one go about living life using resources other than one's own? I am reminded that we have a Great High Priest, Whom we can approach in time of need, and obtain grace to help.
Does this prayer mean to suggest that we sin against God when we struggle to get our chores done so we are not late for a church meeting? If we are pressed for time, should we waste what little we have by calling on God for a fresh anointing of Grace and supernatural aid, or should we get busy using our own elbow grease? I think the answer is rather obvious.
The bit about being a failure and a mess, and reaffirming our regeneration in Christ is no big deal....it's rather truthful for all of us. Certainly Mr. Geftakys, if one-tenth of the stories about him on this website are true, is a dramatic example of a failure and a mess!
The part that is most disturbing to me is the next bit: "I give you complete control of myself and everything I'm hanging onto to meet my needs. Do with me whatever you choose." If a person can be persuaded to earnestly pray this and believe it, they make themselves dangerously vulnerable to those who would prey upon them in God's name.
I'm sure Mr. Geftakys' teaching on pastoral authority, coupled with this twisted application of self denial, resulted in many people being trapped, not only by this false idea, but by their own integrity! After all, they repeatedly promised God that they would give Him "complete control" over EVERYTHING!
In the final analysis, a person diligently following the Selfer's Prayer would in fact be trading their freedom for slavery! Giving complete control to God, in the context of the Geftakys Assembly, means nothing less than giving complete control of one's person and possessions to Assembly functionaries.
When the inevitable struggle with such control ensues, the only solution is to reaffirm personal "failure," re-relinquish freedom, and willingly allow others to assume control of their lives. This helps me quite a bit, as up until now I was unaware of this aspect of Assembly doctrine."
Abraham J., 12/19/05 "Let's not drag Dr. Solomon into the issues that the assembly faces. The selfer's prayer when used as intended can offer tremendous benefits, especially for us American's who spend $4 billion per day during the Christmas season - on gifts for people who don't need them. Many of us are self-centered. Many of us have no idea what it means to give our lives for any cause that compromises our comforts, much less our own selves.
The fact that we twisted and weaponized this tool (the Selfer's Prayer) against one another speaks further to our own shame. Both on the part of those who used it to control; and on the part of those who were controlled by it. The truth is, some of us forgot the distinction between the Leading Brothers and the Lord we prayed to. I'm not absolving anyone here. I'm not intending to blame the victim, either.
But a good step toward escaping from victim-hood is taking responsibility for the places where we allowed abuse to occur. Labeling the Selfer's Prayer as a tool of abuse, and by implication, labeling Solomon as an abuser, only expands our own victim label. It's inaccurate and distasteful, unless seeking out the victim role is the goal."
Editor 12/19/05It would have been unethical to reprint this prayer without crediting the source. This is in no way implicates Dr. Solomon in the misuse of his material in the Assembly. We should add that in the Assembly there were people who were taught this material by Dr. Solomon himself, and benefited in areas of personal struggle not connected with Assembly issues.
Eulaha L., 12/23/05 "Just reading that prayer reminds me of the millions of times I was forced to pray it, when I didn't do my stewardships "with excellence", whenever I got upset, whenever I questioned the leadership, etc. I wonder how many times George and Betty prayed the prayer?"
Anonymous, 2/13/2006 Yes...the "Selfer's Prayer". The day I found out I had an incurable disease, I called one of the "comforters" (remember using that term with the pillow illustration at a sisters' meeting?) in "leadership" and thought I might get some advice and prayer after the devastating news. Instead, I was told to pray the "Selfer's Prayer". There were a lot of weird things I was told to do while "in fellowship", but this one was a real head-scratcher.