“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.” Psalm 139:23-24
Have you ever dared to pray this prayer? It’s bold. It’s risky. It’s audacious. It’s powerfully effective. It’s an invitation for the Lord to shed light on your darkness, to expose your waywardness, to reveal your brokenness. It’s a hard prayer to pray, but a necessary one. Honestly, it’s a frequently overlooked prayer, because it’s a tremendously difficult one to pray. I mean, who really likes to invite criticism, right? But if we take a moment, step back, pause for long enough to meditate on the words, it’s an invitation that has the potential to change our lives forever and to set us free.
A few years ago, the Lord began to prompt me to pray through the above verses:
“Lord, search my heart. Test my thoughts. If there is anything in me at all that opposes you, remove it, Lord.”
I want you to know that He readily answered this prayer. For the next 3 years, I walked through a season of intense humbling. It seemed at every turn was another opportunity for me to be humbled, again and again. And it was hard. And it was painful. My prayer throughout, though, was that I would emerge a more faithful version of my previous self, a more steadfast follower of Jesus Christ, even just a little bit more like Jesus. My ugly pride has reared its ugly head far more times than I’d like to admit, but the more I’ve prayed this prayer, the more I’ve witnessed the power of the Holy Spirit within me seeking to overcome it.
When we pray this prayer, asking the Lord to reveal “the ugly” inside of us and to make us more like Himself, I believe that is a prayer He readily answers. The process will be painful, but the result will be priceless. Because our heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure (Jeremiah 17:9), it lies to us constantly, telling us that we are better than we are, masking the sin that crouches at our door and dwells within. Faithfully praying this prayer invites the Lord to come in, transform, and make new the places that sin has decayed and destroyed. Bitterness, resentment, entitlement, pride, unforgiveness…just to name a few things that make our hearts desperately sick. The enemy delights in keeping us blind, in the darkness. Praying this prayer invites the Light of the World to overcome the darkness inside of us, exposing our blind spots, and leading us down the path and pursuit of righteousness.
I would invite you today to join me in this prayer. Don’t take it lightly. The Lord certainly doesn’t. Ask the Lord today to expose your blind spots, to reveal any offensive way in you, and ask Him to lead you towards righteous living. I am desperate to see this generation of women rise up to a life of godliness and righteousness that we are called to. Committing ourselves to praying this prayer is the catalyst necessary to see this change.
Lord, search our hearts! We are desperately sick apart from you. Reunite us with yourself. Lead us in righteousness!