Some prayers are more dangerous than others.
One type of prayer that has far-reaching consequences is to ask the Lord to search your heart for hidden sin, or for wrong patterns of thought. This happened to me during meditation on Psalm 139:23-24: “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts; and see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way.”
The problem with praying this verse is that God will answer you!
For weeks after praying I became increasingly conscious of a tendency to stretch the truth; of lustful thoughts that I’d rationalized as being “par for the course” for men; of attitudes that kept me from greater intimacy with people close to me. It was as if all hell broke loose in my heart.
But God was merely shining His Spirit’s light on sins that I had been tolerating all along. I was more sensitive to them–and I didn’t like what I saw! Yet their exposure led to heartfelt bouts of confession, and a state that was just a little closer to that elusive goal called purity. I just didn’t know that things would get worse before they’d get better.
The following poem that I wrote captured my goal.
SEARCH MY HEART
Please search my heart with Spirit’s light.
In every part look for the blight
of hidden sin in every form.
Probe deep within until the norm
is a new reign that sets me free
from ways of pain that hinder me.
What You expose will threaten hell.
My spirit knows Satan will rail
against this threat to long-held throne.
But I don’t fret. I’m not alone.
For You will wage the war within
that quells his rage. And You will win.
My heart without Your Spirit’s gaze
is plagued by doubt and selfish ways;
by petty greed and foolish lust;
by strong felt need that always must
be catered to. It’s so absurd.
I can’t see You or hear Your Word.
So, Lord, reveal all hurtful ways
until I feel Your Spirit’s rays
reviving me, and it’s not strange
that my heart be a place of change.
Take what’s impure and caused me shame.
Be my allure. Exalt Your name.
Can you make this poem your prayer, too?
Just don’t do it lightly.