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  • Writer's pictureDebbie Salter Goodwin

Praying for an Open Heart

If I could only pray one prayer for the rest of my life, I would choose this prayer!

Search me . . . know my heart

Test me . . . know my anxious thoughts.

Point out anything . . . that offends you,

Lead me along the path of everlasting life.

Psalm 139:23-24, NLT

This prayer includes everything we need to ask God to do in order to let Him clean and transform our heart. It is a meticulous but not insensitive search for anything that stands between us and the person God would grow us to be. It tests the thoughts and preoccupations of our heart that get in the way. God will not stop until He has pointed out whatever needs to go. But the best part of the prayer is the celebration at the end when He takes us by the hand with the best invitation we will ever receive: “Come on; let’s do life together!”

We don’t know true vulnerability until we pray this prayer. It is the prayer to present God our open heart. When we ask God to search us, He takes us seriously. He finds every misplaced motivation, every twisted attitude, every useless goal, every ungodly value and misordered priority. In other words, He knows our dirt and wastes no time showing it to us, but only because we asked.

Remember, this is an invitation not an inquisition. God will not break down the door to enter. The most important truth I learned about this prayer is that God isn’t looking for what will make me look bad. He’s looking to help actualize every prayer we have ever prayed to be all God knows we can be.

Asking God to search our heart is like asking a friend to come to our house, look

through all our messy closets and cluttered drawers and tell us what we don’t need.

But it doesn’t stop there. Then, the friend bundles up everything we don’t need, loads his own car with it, and hauls it away.

When search me becomes the first prayer we pray, no matter the encounter, unfairness, or life reversal; we become the clay that God can shape. It is a trust exchange. We trust God to tell us the truth and God trusts us to do the right thing with it. In that exchange there is always enough strength to let go, confess, forgive, repent, and grow.

I have prayed this prayer when something turned wrong in a relationship, when failure haunted me, when fear tried to take me down. I continue to pray this prayer when I recognize a disconnect between what God’s Word says should characterize my life but I am not experiencing it. I pray this prayer when I know the stakes are high and I want my obedience to count in all the right ways. This prayer keeps me from blaming someone else for my part of any problem. Search me first, I pray.

Ready to pray this prayer of tumultuous change and irresistible freedom?

Prayer Prompts for the Week_______________________________

Wednesday Pray the “search-me-know my heart” prayer. Do you believe that

God knows your hear better than you know it?

Thursday Repeat the first line of the prayer today. Are you ready to agree

with God about what He finds?

Friday Pray the “test and know” line today. Where does God say you are

anxious unnecessarily?

Saturday Pray the “test and know” prayer again. Are you eager to know

what God sees is complicating your heart? Are you ready to let God remove it?

Sunday Pray the “point out” line. Do you understand that your response is

confession? Don’t shortchange this prayer by withholding it.

Monday Pray the “point out” line again. God does not grow hoarders. He

would fill your heart with good things. Will you let Him?

Tuesday Pray the “lead me” prayer. Do you understand that when God has

searched you, tested you, and pointed out the unnecessary, you are ready to follow Him anywhere? Celebrate that journey today!

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