This is Part Two of a three-part series on unhealed emotional wounds. This post provides pragmatic steps to emotional restoration using prayer and God’s Word.
The Purpose of Pain
Part one concluded with Father God’s willingness to heal and restore our damaged emotions. Here I discuss some practical steps to begin the emotional healing process in our lives. Are these the only way? Certainly, not! They’re what worked for me and the few that came to mind.
Why should we pursue soul care? Because our shortcomings can inhibit us from fulfilling our destiny. Whether your hurt stems from childhood trauma, a heart broken by betrayal, the grief of loss through death or divorce or another devastating experience, God sent His Son to this earth to save us, as well as to comfort those who mourn and bring tender salve to those whose with shattered hearts.
God is intent upon healing us per Psalm 34:18: The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; He rescues those whose spirits are crushed (NLT). The MSG version reads: If your heart is broken, you’ll find God right there. His deep desire is to restore our soul (Ps 23:3) as in repair, renovate and reestablish our mind, will and emotions for we are spirit beings with souls (1 Thessalonians 5:23, Hebrews 4:12).
“When God reveals weaknesses in our lives, it’s not to condemn us. His goal is closure, not exposure. His fire is to refine us, and His faceting machine, like that of a master jeweler, is to shape us into the finest diamond possible.” Dutch Sheets, The Pleasure of His Company
In Psalm 139:23-24, David said, “Search me and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts; and see if there be any hurtful way within me, and lead me into the everlasting way.” Hurtful ways here originates from the Hebrew word otseb meaning pain, sorrow or a harmful habit including idolatry or forms of wickedness. It’s as if the psalmist asks the Lord to expose our blind spots to us, along with buried pain or unhealed wounds. It’s a dangerous prayer but so necessary to our emotional wellness.
I saw a meme that read, “Some people are lost in the fire, others are built from it.” The flames of trial and adversity can burn us to a crisp or burn the dross out of our personality. If you’re a Christian, you’ve heard the fire builds your character saying so often you may be tired of hearing it. I’m here to say (whether you like it or not) – it’s a scriptural way God operates, because it works. But it only works if we are willing. I’m guessing you read this far because you’re both willing and desperate.
The purpose of our emotional healing is to demonstrate what God has done in us. He gets credit and glory when we tell how Jesus freed us of shackles we could not get off ourselves. I know that you, as a Christian desire to glorify Him as your personal Redeemer. Therefore, come lay your brokenness at His cross. You’ll emerge a different person – one bearing His golden fingerprints on wounds transformed into golden scars glistening in His light.
How to Begin Your Healing
- Ask for help: Pray a prayer inviting God to begin restoring your damaged soul. Ask Him to reveal Himself to you as Redeemer. At the end of this post, there’s a prayer as well as links to other ministries and their resources.
- Schedule daily quiet time with the Lord. If you miss a day, just get back on track. Determine ahead of time to see your relationship with Him as long-term. Condemnation has no room in me if I focus on prayer and Bible study as an ongoing relationship versus an obligation. See Him as your friend you’re having coffee with, conversing about a myriad of topics. Pick up daily where you left off or start new conversations.
- Ask Holy Spirit to guide you to verses of scripture on the topic you want to overcome in. Write them out. Meditate on those verses and ponder them. I like to look up a verse in different translations to bring fuller meaning. Pray them over yourself. Those verses will possibly be your key. New age teachings will advise you to acknowledge your negative emotions, see it as energy, feel it and let it go. Then practice self-compassion. Hooey! Their goal is to “help you find your way back to your core of balance, peace and wellbeing.” I tried letting go of my anger for years and it did not leave. God’s goal is to help you invite Holy Spirit in to reveal the root of your pain and let Him heal it. It requires faith that God will do what He promises. Deeper than semantics, one way is truth, the other a bandage.
- Find a book or study to guide you. While participating in a small group using the Beth Moore Bible study, Breaking Free – Bible Study Book, Holy Spirit showed me that my sin filled adult behaviors of pride, anger and fear originated in childhood hurts. Using Scripture to help identify spiritual strongholds in your life, no matter how big or small, Beth explains that anything that hinders us from the benefits of knowing God is bondage. I highly recommend this study and workbook, best used in a small group setting with mature believers you trust. It can be completed alone, but you’ll gain more from the empathy, understanding and prayers of others. Christ calls believers His body for a reason. Maybe another resource worked for you, great! While I advocate meeting with counselors for therapy sessions, my greatest personal breakthroughs have come in private prayer sessions, just me and God alone in my home with my Bible, a book and a heart desperate for relief and change.
- Forgiveness – As you spend time with God, His Spirit will bring to mind people who said or did things that hurt you and He will urge you to release them. You’re not excusing their behavior, you are choosing to stop harboring ill will toward them. One by one and over time, different people will come to mind. Your healing depends on your willnessness to let them go. Ask God to help you see them the way He does and help you forgive. It’s a process but begins with you.
- Prayer time – In your daily conversations with God, build in margin. By that I mean, reserve some time for sitting quietly to listen to what He will say to you. The Father always has words of comfort, assurance and strength to encourage His beloved children. “He restores, replenishes, and revives my soul: leading me to a quiet oasis, the brook of bliss,” says Brian Simmons.
In conclusion, my prayer is that you will use this prayer to help you jump-start your emotional wellness journey. It’s my way of helping readers I cannot personally reach. I suggest you read it, then speak it aloud over yourself.
Prayer for Emotional Healing
Dear Heavenly Father,
I’m grateful for your amazing love. I take comfort in Your nearness and that You hear me when I speak. I believe you when you say in Jeremiah 31:3 “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with loving kindness I have drawn you. Thank you for drawing me to Your heart. You refuse to let me live with the secret pain of unhealed emotional wounds. I can trust You with my heart because You’re a safe space to be vulnerable. I ask You to continue to gently expose the arrows in my heart that have resulted in broken areas of my life.
I imagine myself sitting with you, resting my head on Your chest while You speak tenderly to me. I know you love me and I choose to imagine and receive your generous, abounding, surrounding love. I cherish Your kindness toward me and ask You to lavish more of Your love on me. I know it is by the revelation of Your love that my heart will be restored. Help me to personally know and believe Your love for me (1 John 4:16).
I lay aside my pride and pray as David did, Psalm 139, “Search me and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts; and see if there be any hurtful way within me, and lead me into the everlasting way.” Father, I lay my pain before You. You know how it got there. Please reveal any areas of sorrow or harmful habits including idolatry or forms of wickedness I’ve unknowingly committed as a result of my brokenness. Please reveal my blind spots to me, where I have buried my pain due to unhealed wounds. I need Your healing and restoration, Lord!
Jesus, as my Great Physician, I ask you to lay your healing hands on my heart to begin my restoration, spirit, soul and body. I realize this may be a painstaking process and not quick, but I am willing. Lord, I believe that You came to heal the brokenhearted and I ask you to mend me. You came to heal everything, Jesus. Nothing is beyond Your reach. I know You are with me and will never leave me or forsake me. I ask that Your love melt the hard walls I have built to protect my heart from more pain. Melt my hardness, Lord and heal me with Your compassion and kindness. I want to really understand the depth of Your love for me. Holy Spirit, guide me in applying the medicine of scripture to every area of my life, in Jesus’s name, Amen.
Prayer for Inner Healing from Ransomed Heart Ministries: http://www.ransomedheart.com/prayer/prayer-inner-healing
Inner Healing Prayer Using Psalm 46 from Soul Shepherding Ministry: http://www.soulshepherding.org/2013/02/inne-healing-prayer-with-psalm-46/
Next Friday, November 24 I’ll finish this series by sharing some specific ways Jesus redeemed my broken past. It’s one thing to know God is capable, quite another to tell of the different ways restoration manifests in people’s lives. I love bragging on Abba and sharing what He has done! So — ya’ll come back now, ya hear?
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!! I’m so grateful for everyone who visits my little blog world. Thank you, thank you, thank you for reading my words & sharing your thoughts and feedback.
Blessings to you,