Praying for Your Straying Soul

Praying for Your Straying Soul

Do you pray for your straying soul?

I do. Daily.

The soul is always in motion. If you think yours is motionless, you are probably floating downstream.

Daily the soul is lured to other treasures, other satisfactions, other rewards besides Jesus and his way. Jesus taught us to pray daily, “forgive us for these wanderings and lead us not into, but out of, them.”

So, how do you pray for your straying soul if you believe in God’s sovereign will to bring back his wayward ones? For many years I have taken my cue from Jeremiah 31:18.

You have disciplined me, and I was disciplined, like an untrained calf; cause me to return and I will return, for you are the Lord, my God.

Similarly, Lamentations 5:21.

Cause us to return to yourself, O Lord, and we will return! Renew our days as of old.

These are my translations to make clear that the same Hebrew word is behind both verbs: “Cause me to return.” And “I will return.” The first one is the causal form of the verb, while the second one is the declarative form. If God causes me to return, I will return.

That is the way I believe. And that is the way I pray. I invite you to join me. This is how perseverance happens.


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John Piper (@JohnPiper) is founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. For 33 years, he served as pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is author of more than 50 books.