When I Can’t Pray, He Restores My Soul

When I Can’t Pray, He Restores My Soul

I Peter 4:7 (NIV 1978)
The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray.

Two of the prerequisites for effective prayer are a clear mind and self-control. So, Peter tells us to get those things, because it’s important that we pray.

But what if my mind is unclear due to an illness? What if depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder have caused a loss of grey matter in my brain or shrunk my amygdala and hippocampus? How can I pray effectively if I can’t clear my mind because my brain is broken?

Is it fair to hold me to the same standard of prayer as someone who isn’t fighting their own mind just to get to the starting line?

God is neither fair nor unfair. God is good.

Psalm 145:9
The Lord is good to all;
   he has compassion on all he has made.

So, how do I overcome the mental illness and get a clear mind so I can pray? I go to His Word.

II Timothy 3:16
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

In this case, I need to be equipped to clear my mind so I can pray. I need His Word to clear my mind, because I can’t do it on my own.

Psalm 23:1-3 (ESV)
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
   He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
   He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
   for his name’s sake.

As I was studying for this post, I was looking up scriptures that mentioned the mind. But after all that, Psalm 23 is what He dropped in my spirit.

He restores my soul.

He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. Just reading these lines starts to soothe my mind.

God’s Word is guiding my thoughts to a calm place. When I take the Shepherd’s hand and walk with Him, He takes my mind out of the chaos and into a place of peace.

Psalm 23:4 (ESV)
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
   I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
   your rod and your staff,
   they comfort me.

God never asks me to deny that evil exists or believe that it won’t come against me. All He asks is that I stay close to Him; because when I do, then He comforts me and protects me.

When I walk beside Jesus, I can see that everything that looks like death is just a shadow. I gain the perspective of His presence.

Psalm 23:5 (ESV)
You prepare a table before me
   in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
   my cup overflows.

The image is of my Shepherd, my Comforter, preparing a meal for me. And because He’s drawn my focus to Him, it doesn’t matter who else is there.

Anointing my head with oil, for me, is an image of the Holy Spirit surrounding my mind. God isn’t judging my unclear mind that’s hindering my prayers; He’s covering it with his anointing. And He doesn’t just give me enough to get by. He gives me more than enough.

This is the supernatural help I desperately need.

Psalm 23:6 (ESV)
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
   all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord

I’m safe and secure here. My mind can rest in the house of the Lord.

And now I can pray. Now I can present my requests to God (Phil. 4:6) and think about the good things (Phil. 4:8).

This is why I have hope. Because when I come to God with my failure and weakness, He leads me to exactly what I need in His Word.

Which scriptures has God used to restore your soul?

Photo credit: josealbafotos

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