Think Before You Pray

Most of the songs that we sing in church are prayers. A song we sang recently was no different. In the first verse we prayed for righteousness in the second verse we prayed for holiness. These are good things to pray for. However the third verse said this: “brokenness is what I pray for”. It was then that I stopped singing, and asked myself, “why anyone would ever pray for brokenness. Do you understand what you are asking for?

For most people every day is good. Then one day a phone call tells you that a loved one has taken their own life and you find out what brokenness is. A young family says their prayers at bedtime, but later they are awakened by the sound of a smoke alarm, they end up standing outside, watching as their home is engulfed in flames, and this is brokenness. You are proud that you are able to provide for your family, but then your job is eliminated and you experienced brokenness. If you have ever experienced anything like this, and most of us have, why would you want to pray for brokenness?

In the Bible, the story of Job was one of extreme brokenness. Financial ruin, heart rending grief and intense suffering left this once prosperous man crushed and shattered. In the third chapter of Job he says “For the thing I feared has overtaken me, and what I dreaded has happened to me. I cannot relax or be still; I have no rest, for trouble comes.” Job never prayed for brokenness, it was what he feared and dreaded. But he was broken, and from his story we can learn how to react when we, are broken.

Now I wish that none of us would ever have to suffer. And I will never pray to be broken. However, we live in a fallen world where things get broken. It is when our lives are shattered and our hearts are broken that we can rest in the knowledge that Jesus was sent to heal the broken hearted. A broken and contrite heart is a sacrifice that God will never despise. So like Job, let’s trust God and let us learn to say, “God you are the One who gives and you are the One who takes away, blessed be Your Holy Name forever.

Douglas & Deborah

From Down Where The Pavement Ends

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