The Most Dangerous Prayer I Ever Prayed
"Lord, break my heart for what breaks yours." It sounds harmless enough, right? It's a nice sentiment, but how would that actually play out if it were answered? Perhaps nothing would really change in my life if I prayed that, right? Wrong. The reason this prayer is dangerous is because this prayer comes with consequences. If you want a relaxed and care-free Christian experience, don't pray this prayer. If you want to know all of the things that breaks God's heart, pray this prayer. If you want to feel the sorrow and gloomy sobriety of sin in the world, pray this prayer. If you want to weep like you never have before, by all means pray this prayer in secret.
The reason I think He answered this prayer in my life is because it's not a conventional one. It's not seeking blessing, promotion, prestige, fame, or even breakthrough or favor. It invites an element of destitution for the pray-er, yet at the same time it has the potential to form and mold the pray-er. It's not a casual petition, it's an invitation to put on glasses that show a scene you can't "unsee." But mechanics of the prayer aside, the reason this prayer is so special and effective to me is that forces me to go low. Psalm 51:17 reads...
"The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and contrite heart - These, O God, You will not despise." PSALM 51:17 - NKJV
This broken heart that the Psalmist (David) mentions is such that God does not despise, and it's a more important and appropriate sacrifice to the Lord than burnt offerings, according to verse 16. It's a matter of humility and it's a lifestyle of repentance. Further, to request to see or feel like God sees and feels, as is the case when one prays "break my heart for what breaks yours," is bold. I think it's the right kind of bold. It's not an angry demand for breakthrough, but rather a dangerous desire to become more like Him and specifically to love like Him.
So, what's the result? In the seasons of my life when I've prayed this prayer and really meant it I've become, more or less, a cry baby. I'm not a crier to be sure, but when you ask the God of the universe to affect your heart, for better or worse, as the nation withdraws from God in pride and conceit, tears will come. Things that might seem silly to cry about might even trigger tears in moments like these. When God moves your heart in this way you begin to see people differently. You don't see their sin or faults, you see their lack before God. Your heart burns for the institutions and offices across our land that have rejected God. You feel, you don't just sense or conceptualize, the desperate need for God in the hearts of individuals, our nation's classrooms, dinner tables, newsrooms, and political meeting rooms. You essentially become a mess, but a mess that's better equipped to pray and love. This prayer also changes the content, and consequently the effectiveness, of your prayers. You find that you spend less time praying for personal things that benefit you and more time deeply concerned and even consumed with the salvation and welfare of others. In short, YOU become much less important. And this, folks, is right where you want to be.
It's not enough to just cry and be moved by God; something else has to happen. And, yes, I've prayed more, loved more, and gave more in these seasons that I speak of. But I can't say that I'm satisfied. I think we can all stand to pray dangerous prayers like this and be prepared for the consequences.
- JF D'Orsie - Communications Director - PCC