A Broken Heart

I’ve been thinking a lot about my prayer life lately.  Yesterday the thought occurred to me that there are two times I remember praying desperately with results.  One was when I was a child and wanted the baby in my mom’s tummy to be a girl, and the other time was when I had my heart-broken over a boy.  I poured my grief over the boy into prayer.  God heard my cry, and I believe He honored the requests I made.  I have to say that although I pray regularly, I am not sure I put the same desperation into my requests as I did then.

A journal collage I did before the dark period occurred.

It was over 10 years ago that I was as broken as I’ve ever been.  Before I was broken, I prayed often for God to break my heart with the things that break His.  I was not anticipating that I, myself, would be broken, and then remade.  I am certain that brokenness is required for us to be molded into something able to be used by God – it makes us a willing vessel.  In the darkness I didn’t trust God.  There was no way I would pray for Him to break my heart.  As I came out of the darkness, I wondered if my life would ever be spiritually full again.  I missed the time I had with God before the darkness.  But my life lacked fullness because I did not fully trust God again.  In the past two years, God repaired that and gave me fullness.

Now I keep thinking about Casting Crowns song, “Jesus, Friend of Sinners,” which says, “break our hearts for what breaks Yours.”

And the tagline for the Nehemiah study I’m about to do says, “a heart that can break.”

I wonder if God has made me ready to pray this prayer again – “Break my heart with what breaks Yours.”

I’ve noticed that as Americans, we are not broken people.  We are tremendously rich, so rich so that we have something called “first world problems.”  We’ve been in the middle of falling, but I don’t know if we truly have been broken enough to really call and seek God as a priority.  We are like the rich young man found in Matthew 19.

Now a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life ?”

“Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, obey the commandments.”

“Which ones?” the man inquired.

Jesus replied, “‘Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother,’ and ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’”

“All these I have kept,” the young man said. “What do I still lack?”

Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”

When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved?”

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”  Matthew 19:16-26

We are content to have nail salons on every corner, while orphans literally waste away in other countries.  They are out of sight and out of mind.

We have tornadoes that destroy homes, yet we have a brand new home before the week is over, and the home is fully furnished before a year passes.

Does this compare in any way to the devastation in Haiti, Japan, or Indonesia?  I don’t think so.  We are rich.  And we don’t mind taking from the poor.  It is our god.  I wonder what will happen before America’s heart truly breaks.

I count myself among such as these, yet God’s already begun breaking me for what breaks His heart.  The forgotten, the neglected, the ones who know not the gospel.  I pray for America, that we also, as a nation, will be broken.

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.  James 1:27

I am a bit terrified, as well as excited, to see how my heart will be broken and what will be done with it.

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.  Psalm 51:17

Join in praying?  Lord, break my heart for what breaks Yours.


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  1. Love this post.  I am totally with you on the brokenness thing.  It is so painful to be someone who is broken by God (and you can feel, am I the only one? others just seem to meander through their Christian life so serenely…)  Somehow seeing it in this post in someone else’s life makes me feel more positive about my own brokenness. I think you’re right, than in the first world countries we don’t know how to suffer, and especially how to suffer well.  I am grappling with these things at the moment whilst living with chronic illness.  
    Thanks for this. I pray that God binds up the brokenness yet keeps your heart soft. 

  2. Terri H Hartsfield says:

    “I wonder what will happen before America’s heart truly breaks. ” – That’s a really interesting question.  The entire post was very thought provoking.

  3. I flinched at the idea of commenting on this for the very reason you ask this heart-probing question. Am we ready to be broken again and possibly in a way and to a depth we’ve never seen before? Does a shaky, half-hearted “yes” count the same as a robust one? God sees our hearts and knows what we desire. If we desire Him, then hopefully He will provide the appropriate measure of response within us. I do agree in prayer with you that yes, Lord, please break our hearts for what breaks yours.

  4. I am so glad I stopped by your blog today and read this post! For the last week I have been troubled by the fact that my heart does not break for what “breaks God’s” (i.e the unsaved, injustice, etc). I am praying this prayer tonight. (and thank you for your kind comment on my blog <3)


  1. […] Paper and Strings: A Broken Heart. “Before I was broken, I prayed often for God to break my heart with the things that break […]

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