The soul is the fulcrum of your being. The soul is where you grieve, sorrow, and weep. It’s the place we laugh and cry, and it’s the well our personality flows from. The soul is the container of our anger, our bitterness, our strife, and our pain. The soul is where we think and choose and express ourselves. If our soul is hurting, confused, depressed, or in turmoil, these negative emotions and feelings are fused into our words and our body language. The soul is hidden yet we wear it on our sleeve. What is on the inside shows on the outside.
Emotional outbursts, roller coaster feelings, and sudden changes in mood all indicate our soul is hurting. No emotions, tightly controlled feelings, and muted responses when interacting with people may also point to soul pain. Failure to recognize and resolve soul realm issues can cause relational breakdown in many ways. Sometimes it is like a bomb. You know it will blow up but you don’t know when. Sometimes it is as obvious as a cow patty on a wedding dress. An unhealthy or distressed soul prevents us from growing and enjoying life, and it may be very hurtful and destructive to those nearby.
David’s Troubled Soul
King David knew much about a troubled soul. He experienced rejection from his family, from King Saul (who repeatedly tried to kill him), and later from his own men. He had strife in his family and in his army. David wrestled with lust and lost. He had opportunities to take revenge and had to choke down the anger and hostility to honour the Lord’s anointed. He went through many dark nights facing his fears and working out his own heart troubles. Consider these examples of his struggles of the heart from the book of Psalms.
Psalm 6:3 (NKJV) My soul also is greatly troubled; But You, O Lord—how long?
Other Bible versions clarify and expand the condition of David’s soul in Ps 6:3
KJV – sore vexed
AMP – exceedingly disturbed and troubled
ESV – greatly troubled
JPS – sore affrighted
NCV – very upset
NRSV – struck with terror
NET – absolutely terrified
NLT – sick at heart
NASB – greatly dismayed
NIV – deep anguish
We must remember that there is only one word in the original language verse for “troubled”. This is what David was going through many times throughout his life. Perhaps you have been feeling like this. I know I have! Here is another angle on the conflict within David’s heart as he pursued the Lord.
Psalm 3:2 (AV) Many there be which say of my soul, There is no help for him in God. Selah.
When we are choosing to trust the Lord during tough times, we do not need people disagreeing with us or accusing us like this. David had this going on because he saw things others didn’t see, and he knew stuff others didn’t know. Sometimes our relationship with God takes us to a place where we know we are doing what is right before the Lord but no one else understands. They say “there is no help for Him from God. He is too far gone, out there, missing the Lord”. This causes much stress and anguish in our heart as we follow what we believe the Lord has told us to do.
Psalm 109:2–3 (NKJV) 2) For the mouth of the wicked and the mouth of the deceitful Have opened against me; They have spoken against me with a lying tongue. 3) They have also surrounded me with words of hatred, And fought against me without a cause.
Here David tells us wicked and deceitful people are speaking against him. They are lying about him, saying wicked things in hatred and accusation, and opposing him for no reason. What does that do to your soul? How does that make you feel?
Restoring Our Soul
David learned to trust the Lord no matter what people were saying. We must do the same to preserve our mental health, and our spiritual health. He came to understand that no matter what happens to you, no matter how they may hurt you and reject you, there is hope in God. Listen to his words in Psalm 23:3.
Psalm 23:3 (NKJV) He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.
David said the Lord restored his soul! If the Lord did that for David He will do it for you and me. One of the reasons these stories are included in the Bible is so later generations may know God will deliver, He will heal, and He will restore. Let’s take a look at what it means to restore our soul.
From Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary 11th edition
re•store \ri-ˈstȯr\ verb transitive
re•stored; re•stor•ing [Middle English, from Anglo-French restorer, from Latin restaurare to renew, rebuild, alteration of instaurare to renew] 14th century
1: give back, return
2: to put or bring back into existence or use
3: to bring back to or put back into a former or original state: renew
4: to put again in possession of something
When our soul is troubled or stressed or in pain, we have departed from an original state or condition. The ideal state of the human soul is peace. Peace with yourself, peace with all relationships, peace in the physical environment you are in, and of course, peace with God. Whenever something interrupts or affects our peace, our soul departs from peace into a state of anger, fear, turmoil, confusion, pain, etc.
The Intended State of Our Soul
Restoring our soul is the return to a prior state, or an intended state. It requires the removal of the negative influences that caused our soul to become troubled or in pain, and healing of any and all damage caused by those events and situations and negative relationships. Since all of us were born under the curse released by Adam’s rebellion in Genesis 3, we cannot know God’s peace until we know Him. The restoration of our soul to the intended state of righteousness, peace, and joy begins at salvation and hopefully continues throughout our life in the Lord. I say hopefully because, just like salvation, our soul restoration has been provided by and promised by the Lord, but we must respond, we must obey, we must walk out our restoration as we pursue Him. It is not automatic in and of itself. It is an automatic process if we follow through with appropriate behaviour.
Romans 14:17 (NKJV) for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
The decision to acknowledge and accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour produces righteousness, peace, and joy within our spirit. Remember the sensation you experienced when you first confessed Jesus as Lord? That euphoria and joy and refreshing was the outward manifestation of the resurrection of your dead human spirit. That is the first time in our entire life we experience genuine peace. The concepts and beliefs of the world around us cannot possibly produce real peace because that system is still affected by the curse that blankets all of creation. That is why so many people struggle and strive in futility all their life trying to achieve something or create something only God offers.
Our spirit instantly transforms from death and separation from God into resurrection life and intimacy with Him when we get born again. We are restored immediately to His intended state in our spirit. We are now right with God and have peace with God and joy in our spirit. The problem is our soul has not yet changed. And our perfect spirit is weak as a newborn baby, because it is a newborn baby.
David acknowledged God did something wonderful David could not do. God took the distressed confused hurting soul of His child and restored it to peace! I believe this is a multi-layered process. There are times when we are overwhelmed by His presence and experience brief relief. This is an expression of His love, His need to respond to you, but it is only offered when we yield to Him and trust Him. Many suffering souls do not find any relief at all because they are unaware or uncaring of His restorative power. Others are so hurt they do not dare to open up and risk more pain in hope of being restored.
Instant Restoration to Peace
God is so able and so willing to embrace us and envelope us in His peace! He aches to help us when we are distressed and disturbed. If we allow Him to provide it, He will restore our soul to peace in a heartbeat. Although wonderful and enjoyable when we receive it, it does not last long.
A newborn baby can be restored to peace and security and comfort in seconds by the embrace of the mother. The baby does not know how to get peace or maintain their peace, but intuitively they know if they squall and bawl someone comes running. In the same way a newborn Christian can get help from God and God’s ministers. The counsel and support given a new believer by their church family (or home group or whatever ministry was involved in their salvation) comes in response to their cries of pain discouragement and distress.. The squalling and bawling is real for the human infant, and for the spiritual infant. They don’t know anything else to do at this point, and when they do it they get help.
The instant relief we may find by expressing our hurt and confusion and distress is temporary. God has designed us to grow. We must grow in many dimensions and this takes time and deliberate action. Just as a child is expected to develop the ability to care for themselves then care for others, a Christian must learn to be a disciple of Jesus Christ then disciple others. Every child squalling for attention and help at 15 years old the way they did as a newborn has not developed or grown up the way God intended. There are many reasons this could happen, but my point is simply to show that the responsibility for peace in our soul is 100% God when we get born again, but He downloads responsibility to us as we grow in the Lord. Just as it is inappropriate and out of order for a teenager to be crying for help like a baby, it is inappropriate and out of order for a believer, at some stage, to not know how to get and maintain peace in their own soul. The restoration of our soul becomes our responsibility, always with God’s help, as we grow up in Christ.
Permanent Restoration To Peace
The restoration of our soul is both immediate and eternal. There is a temporary short term element, and a gradual growth and development into an eternal state of righteousness peace and joy. We ought to grow in peace just like we grow in all fruits of the spirit.
Galatians 5:22–23 (NKJV) 22) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23) gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
Fruit grows. A seed is planted containing the finished product. The full manifestation of God is contained in the seeds of His Word.
Luke 8:11 (NKJV) “Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.
Matthew 13:19 (NKJV) When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside.
Mark 4:14 (NKJV) The sower sows the word.
The fruit of peace in our soul, the state of wholeness, is developed and maintained by the words you speak. Righteous words produce righteous (godly) fruit. The process begins when God shows us what to say, how to steer our ship from turmoil to tranquility. God will regularly restore our soul to peace whenever we ask Him to, but we cannot maintain that state until we are growing His Words in our heart. When you enjoy your favorite meal you feel satisfied, at rest, full and content. That state does not last long because your body burns fuel and will soon need more fuel. We slowly decline from full and content to a state of hunger, perhaps even tension and anxiety, looking for our next intake of fuel. Our spirit is the same but needs different food.
We begin our journey into the heart of God at salvation with a full load of His peace and joy. That quickly dissipates and we wonder where that wonderful feeling went. Hopefully we get connected to a healthy supportive family of disciples of Jesus Christ (a local church, a home group, etc). If we hang around the right people, they will help us grow in the Lord. The primary directive of every new believer is to feed on the Lord, to spend time with Him in His Word, in His presence. This is the path to maturity and fruitfulness as a believer of the Lord Jesus.
1 Peter 2:2 (NKJV) as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby,
Growth in our soul follows feeding on His Word. God commands us to desire His Word! That means you can learn to want Him, you can focus on Him deliberately and intentionally, which will produce desire for more. We follow what we focus on. Choose to feed on His Word to get that seed into your heart!
Jeremiah 15:16 (NKJV) Your words were found, and I ate them, And Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart; For I am called by Your name, O Lord God of hosts.
Finding the Word is not enough. You can find a great buffet and walk past it. You must choose to eat! When we feed on His Word it produces joy and re-joy in your heart. The Word is the source of our permanent soul restoration. David experienced the brief comfort of the presence of God, but the Lord wants us all to know how to live in a state of joy and peace all day, every day.
The restoration of our soul is only possible as we follow the Lord in obedience. It begins with His gracious infusion of Himself bring a measure of transitory comfort. The second half of Ps 23:3 says God leads in us along a certain path, a righteous path, a path God knows will produce our highest and best outcome. The path of obedience to the Lord and His Word is key to developing an abiding state of righteousness peace and joy.
I have found the hardest part seems to be deciding to do the right thing when we are hurting. The right thing is to look to God and choose to place your trust in Him no matter what you may be feeling. The right thing to do is to agree with God and what He has said about the situation even when all the circumstances do not align with the Word of God.
Begin by quoting His promises over yourself. Say out loud “He restores my soul” Find scripture verses that describe your desired state and quote them also. By “quote” I mean you are “calling those things that are not yet as though they are” (Romans 4:17). You must have hope for a better future, and believe God can help you get there. Then you must prophesy your future. You must say what you want, not what you have. Saying what you have (I was rejected, I as betrayed, they don’t like me, nobody understands how I feel, etc) reinforces the negative and keeps you bound in it. Saying what you want (must be based on His Word!!) releases faith, activates angels, and opens the door for the Lord to help you.
Personal application begins with a decision we make. A decision to change, a decision to follow the Lord more consistently, a decision to not go through that awful process ever again. Then we must begin planting seeds. Seeds of peace are found in scriptures about peace. Make a list of verses pertinent to your situation and what you desire to see. Stand on those verses. Insist and demand they are true and will come to pass. Pray them, thank God for them, confess them in faith expecting the manifestation. This is how God frames His world, and how he designed us to bring about long term lasting change into our lives.
Application For Others
Praying for the restoration of someone else’s soul is different from the restoration of your soul. You have intimate knowledge of your own situation but may not understand much about someone else’s life. You have memories and insights and feelings not visible to someone else. From your perspective you want healing from the pain and the rejection and the torment you have survived, but you may not discern much about these difficulties in the life of your prayer target. Praying for others is more about dealing with the negative forces affecting their situation, identifying markers that shadow internal conflicts, and applying Scriptures in faith to move them toward God’s ideal version of their life.
When we care for someone going through a tough time we have a desire to see them delivered, healed, and restored to righteousness peace and joy. However, we may not know how exactly to pray for them. We typically don’t know enough for laser accurate prayer, but we want to pray for them. Quoting Scriptures in faith is a perfect starting point. Your faith in God’s Word initiates the restoration of their soul. God cannot do anything on earth until a believer on earth approaches Him in faith. Your faith in God activates God’s response and allows Him to help your prayer target.
After declaring and proclaiming Bible verses that address the issue, praying in the Holy Spirit adds fuel to the fire. This is a big topic that is beyond the scope of this article, but it is guaranteed to bring results!
I’d like to share a verse with you that has ministered volumes to me about confession and prayer.
Job 22:28 (NKJV) You will also declare a thing, And it will be established for you; So light will shine on your ways.
Our faith proclamations establish truth in the earth. Our declaring Scripture over prayer targets establishes God’s will because He has already said that about them, and we become the second witness that confirms and establishes the truth. See Deuteronomy 17:6, 19:15, Matthew 18:16, and 2 Corinthians 13:1 for the verses that explain this concept.
Our faith constitutes and entrenches truth wherever we release it and over and into any situation we want to. The significance of Job 22:28 in terms of praying for others is found in the last phrase. Light shining on your ways means revelation will be released to show our prayer target how to move out of their dilemma into God’s will! This is wonderful! It means that we can institute truth, God’s absolute best will for everyone, by stating it and claiming it and declaring it in faith. Then, as we continue to confess and believe those verses, understanding and knowledge and insight flows from the Lord by the Holy Spirit to help us walk into this truth. It works when we apply it to ourselves, and when we apply it to someone else.
Our faith deals with demons and evil spirits to the degree we know and understand our authority in Jesus Christ. As our authority is applied to help someone get their soul restored, it clears the way for the Holy Spirit to help our target get free. For example, suppose you know your prayer target has unforgiveness toward the person responsible for their pain. They refuse to forgive which holds them in their distress and prevents any help from the Lord. As we pray we open the heavens over our prayer target. While our faith is active the Holy Spirit can work on their heart and deal with them about any issues we may know nothing about. If we continue to apply faith for their restoration we partner with the Holy Spirit to bring them out of their distress into righteousness peace and joy. What a privilege! Our faith correctly applied allows truth to reach their heart. If they obey the revealed truth they will be set free. It cannot happen until someone prays!
Prayer for Repentance and Salvation.
If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and your Saviour, I invite you to ask Him into your heart. If you knew the Lord but have not been hungering for Him I invite you to consider your ways and repent. He is faithful and righteous to wipe your slate clean when you confess your sin to Him! (1 John 1:9)
1 John 1:9 (NASB95) If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
He gave His life for you, and you honour Him when you give your life for Him. It is the right thing to do!
1 Corinthians 6:20 (AV) For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.
You must give yourself to God for Him to come into your life and help you change. He will not force you! Ever. But oh! The joy and peace and hope He gives you!
Romans 12:1–2 (NKJV) 1) I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2) And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
Romans 10:9 (NKJV) that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
You must acknowledge Jesus Christ is Lord, and you must believe He was resurrected from the dead by the Father.
Say this prayer out loud.
Heavenly Father I turn to you and acknowledge You as the Almighty God, eternal and sovereign over all. I have been rebellious, selfish, and deceived trying to live without you. I believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God, that He died on the cross to redeem me from death and sin, and that He rose from the dead, alive forever with You. I ask you to forgive me of all my sin, known and unknown. Please come into my life as my Lord and my Saviour. Thank you for forgiving me, and redeeming me from sin. I choose to trust You and put You first in every area of my life. I will love You and serve You with all my heart, all my soul, all my mind, and all my resources, for the rest of my life, beginning right now. In the name of Jesus Christ I pray. Amen!
If you prayed this to the Lord, please let me know! I have some resources to share with you, and will help you on your journey with the Lord.