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In order for us to have true fellowship with others and with God, He must pierce or melt our hearts of stone. In our fallen condition, we are like medieval knights in armor, peering out through slits in our helmets to slash and poke at one another, secretly wishing that the other fellow would open up so we could really meet him.

A heart of stone is a defense mechanism, a hiding place we believe will protect us from hurt, but which in fact makes us the loneliest people in the world. The Church is filled with hearts of stone, people who can love and serve others, but who can't allow others to minister to them. Healing is hard work; it requires time and understanding and support of family and friends.

Inner vows are one aspect of a stony heart. Although they are made early in life and are often forgotten, they act as directives, which control our responses to situations and people around us.

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. Ezekiel 36:26
The Bible clearly censures stubbornness, stony hearts and rebellion.
"Do not harden your hearts. " Psalm 95:8

We are called to lay aside and put off our old nature. Hebrews 12:1; Colossians 3:5-10

What is a stony heart? It is an automatic hidden defense mechanism, which keeps us from being vulnerable or "seen". It is a hiding place, or a wall that we believe will protect us from hurt, but which really makes us lonely and miserable. The vows and the walls are usually hidden, formed in the first 6 years of life and forgotten. This is a learned behavior, as if programmed, these habits, patterns and structures function automatically.

How are they formed?

These walls and stony hearts are formed out of our earliest experiences of frustration and disatisfaction,

A baby lies in his/her crib, crying for attention or food and the mother responds by changing his/her diaper. The baby can't speak or pray and frustration grows.

A baby wakes in the night and cries, waking parents. The parents respond to the child's need with anger, fatigue and frustration. The parents' touch send a signal to the spirit and the soul, and the child begins to build a wall of protection around the heart.

A baby wakes and cries, but there is no response. This is the beginning of the opinion that the baby is not a priority in his/her parents' life.

Note: the absence or presence of love, laughter, and affection in the home will determine the hardness of the heart.

Recognizing the problem of a stony heart can be obvious in some cases, characterized by heartless, uncaring behaviors and selfishness.

The condition is more often hidden in Christians. You will see a loving, caring, serving believer who can minister, but cannot be ministered to, or has trouble receiving from God.

Tbe impact of the heart of stone on others

In families, a person with a stony heart cannot receive love and intimacy. In relationships they tend to sabotage themselves and their partner by putting them down. In the body of Christ the person with a stony heart tends to drive wedges, create strife, and destroy corporateness. A stony heart in leaders can destroy a church.

The damage a stony heart causes the carrier

The person with a stony heart can develop physical problems, build up of stress, breakdown of the immune system, as well as cancer.

They experience loneliness, isolation, and feelings of not being understood by others.
Leaders with stony hearts can't hear rebuke. They usually have gaping holes in their armor; they can't heed warnings, and are subject to temptations and delusion. They also suffer from burnout;(caused by anger formed in bitter root expectations)

The Bible tells us there is safety in a multitude of counselors Proverbs 24:6. Those with hearts of stone have trouble availing themselves of this protection.

Healing the heart of stone.

Recognizing the heart of stone can be difficult due to the person's desire to remain "unseen." Help the person understand how the stony heart was formed. This process can be slow, like peeling an onion.

Have the client confess and repent for their sinful reactions to early experiences. Have the client confess and repent for wounding loved ones and for self-destruction.

Lead the client to forgive parents and or caretakers, as well as self and damage caused to others. Lead the client in the prayers to put the heart of stone to death on the cross and the heart of flesh to be given life.

Appropriate touch during the prayers helps to build basic trust. You may have to speak healing to the inner child several times before the client can receive. Always go by the leading of the Holy Spirit.


Inner vows are outgrowths of hearts of stone. Inner vows made by determinations or directives in the mind and heart in the early years can be more powerful than bitter root judgments. Inner vows can be obstructions in our nature that restrict our feelings and actions by limiting our freedom in God. They may even obstruct physical development.

Examples of inner vows:>
o I will never grow up!
o I will never get angry like my dad!
o I'll get mom back for doing that!
o I will always respect women!
o I will never allow that in my house!
o When I become a parent I'll never..

Inner vows are very powerful when made in childhood during the formative years, because they are often forgotten and thus have more power due to their unconscious and hidden nature. Because of this they are often difficult to identify. The bitter fruit appears to remain even after the root has been severed, i.e.

o Defensive habitual flight mechanisms
o Automatic anger
o Bitter root expectations
o Actions and words that trigger automatic reactions
o Anxieties and fears

When we judge others and vow never to do what they did, the vow often works in reverse Romans 2:1

Inner vows are harmful, even when they appear to be good, i.e.

o I'll be gentle with women just like dad.
o I'll never drink or smoke.

They can coerce us to fleshly righteousness Philippians 3: 8-9

It is not necessary to remember making those inner vows. If the client can recognize the fruit then by faith he/she must forgive those who have hurt him/her as well as forgiving them self Confess and repent for his/her sinful reactions, which led to the making of the vows. Renouncing the vows by the authority of Jesus Christ Matthew 16:19; 18:18

Understand that patience and the client will need perseverance as he/she works through overcoming long practiced habits, structures and patterns. He/she must continue to put them to death on the cross, as they are revealed. Encourage the client to persevere and not get weary. He/she will eventually be victorious. Galatians 6:9

Inner Vows

I will never...

let anyone love me
be weak
trust anyone
allow myself to need
let them take anything away from me
allow anyone to touch me
share what is mine
allow anyone to give me money
write, read, understand
allow myself to be hit
go out at night
let you see who I am
let anyone know I hurt
tell a woman anything
let a man control me
be responsible for actions of others
receive a compliment
participate in life
allow a woman in my heart
be anything worthwhile
be sick
be violent or abusive
grow up, mature

Inner vows imprison us to think
and act as they have set the mold,

I will always...

remain aloof, separate
be logical
be in control of my life

Click on the praying couple for prayer to overcome Stoney Heart
Click the back button or on the swordsman for more lessons

prayer to end Stoney Heart

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Site Last Updated: October 19, 2023