I remember in high school a friend of mine decided to pray through the fruit of the spirit, asking God to help her develop these traits.
Listen to my voice in the morning, LORD. Each morning I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly. Psalm 5:3
Patience wasn’t a fun week. For any of us.
I know I’ve asked God for a lot of things in the past and so many of these prayers I’ve felt have gone unanswered, but in fact God answers them and I blatantly chose to ignore every.single.sign.
You see, God always answers. I’ve come to realize that whether we choose to hear the answer or selectively ignore his gentle whisper, He always answers…especially when he’s the one that put the prayer on your heart.
And those my friend, as you will come to see, from my recent experience, are sometimes the hardest.
I don’t have a truly spiritual or maybe theologically correct answer for prayers like this. Maybe it’s the Holy Spirit speaking? But sometimes I just jot random prayers down, not thinking about what I’m praying…unlike those moments on my knees where I’m often begging God for something I probably don’t even need, thinking a bit too much, because let’s be honest…we all do it.
And so what makes me stand in awe of these prayers is their simplicity and then, and probably the most important, the impact they end up having and the urgency with which God answers them. But back to that soon…
So, here I am, just two weeks ago, during another Sunday message I flipped over my notebook page and half heartedly scribbled the words “break my heart for what breaks yours”.
I closed that page and continued to take notes.
And I got on with my week.
Right. Can I warn you not to pray “break my heart for what breaks yours”.
It was terrible. Seriously.
I mean, I spent MOST of the week feeling as though I was seeing the world through the eyes of Jesus. And seriously, not making this spiritual or like its a super cool thing. It’s not. In The Shack the author describes heaven as being full of colours we can’t even comprehend on earth, as if our eyes have been half shut. That’s kind of what it felt like…except I wasn’t seeing beautiful colours.
I was seeing pain in a way I had never imagined. It wasn’t on the news, on the faces of those whose plight is highlighted or even (wrongly) sensationalized all over the media. It was the pain of the lonely woman sitting in the corner of the train. It was the pain of a man whose problems weighed him down like stones, but no one seemed to take note. It was the pain of the couple, sat in front of me, so drunk that they had lost the ability to communicate on a level no more than a toddler. It was the pain of the girl who was violated and now the world felt like it was against her. It was the pain of the guy who has walked away from the church and no one seemed to notice he wasn’t there any longer.
I was seeing pain and it was humbling.
Break my heart for what breaks yours.
And in those words, in that prayer, is the lesson I’m learning…
I think about all the times where I was so inwardly focused I didn’t notice others pain…and I am daring to say I guess God was ready for me to what He sees…
We are so busy. So caught up in our own pain, our own paths to success, the music, the distractions, to see others. To see the people that, as Christians, we are called to love…to SEE.
I’m guilty of praying a lot of prayers half-heartedly. Or praying my selfish desires up into the heavens with more passion that I actually should.
It’s kind of despicable. It doesn’t take so much to pray. It’s simple and powerful and those prayers WILL lead to action because when God shows you what He sees, you’re driven to help.
And can I say I’m so thankful God doesn’t handle us like we would handle us if we were God. Let’s all take a moment to say a big AMEN.
Instead, I reckon he does exactly what He did with me recently.
He wakes us up.
Whether it’s in the middle of the night or in a random thought half way through a sermon. Maybe it’s while we are driving down the highway or on the train to school.
Bam. Suddenly you remember your old school friend that you haven’t thought of in years. Or maybe you notice the person begging in the street, who you pass by every day. Or perhaps it’s simply a tug on your heart about a cause you’ve recently been told of.
We have to wake up. Wake up to what is going on around us. Wake up, sit up, pray and take action.
We are his hands and feet and He needs us more than ever. We need to listen.