The Hardest Prayer

BIBLE VERSE FOR TODAY…. Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts!
And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!” Psalm 139:23,24 ESV

Search me, know me, try me, lead me. That I believe this is the most challenging and difficult prayer. That is a prayer that requires courage, vulnerability and trust.

This prayer is a prayer of self-revelation, more than investigation. God already knows our hearts. Scripture tells us, “…we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.” (1 John 3:20 ESV) The question we need to be willing to answers is, “Am I ready to handle the truth?”

A well-know sportscaster in the Denver area was speaking to our men’s group. He shared how at one time he was struggling in his marriage and he was complaining to God. “Lord, you know that I work hard and provide for my family…I am a good person…” He felt the Lord speaking to his heart, “Yes, you are a good person! You are just a lousy husband.” 

It is a challenge to come to grasp with the concept, “is life as it is adequate or do I desire life as God desires it to be.” The journey from where we are to where we need to be can be a difficult and painful one. We must all face the reality that the “truth sets us free, but first it can be uncomfortable or even painful.”

This prayer is one that must be prayed in trust in God’s love and desire for our good. You don’t open your hearts to those who only want an occasion to “put you down.” Opening your heart and life to someone requires that you have confidence that, that person will not only speak truth, but do so out of love and concern for your personal growth.

This prayer of the psalmist reveals a desire for obstacles to be recognized and removed that hinder his walk with the Lord. Search me…know me….try me…see if there be any grievous way in me….those petitions are all motivated by the desire for the Lord to, “lead me in the way everlasting.”

Our way, or the Lord’s way. “There is a way that seems right to man….” (Proverbs 14:12) But in contrast we see in Psalm 23, “He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake…” (Psalm 23:3) Where our heart would naturally take us is not the path of righteousness that the Lord leads us in. Going our own way, being the “captain of our destiny” is what gets us in trouble.

We need the humility of Thomas who asked, “Lord….how can we know the way?” (John 14:5) To be on the “right path” requires us to be open to understanding where our hearts are leading us and being open to those areas in our life that we need the Lord in His love and faithfulness to address.

Prayer for today…. Lord give us the courage and trust to pray the prayers that can be difficult to pray. Allow our desire to live the life you have for us to remove the fear of confronting the “hard” truth about our hearts, our ways and our motivations.