Key Text: Psalm 119:10-With my whole heart I have sought You…
When was the last time that you were able to say like David that you sought the Lord with your whole heart? I don’t know about you but I can say with a certainty that every prayer that I pray is not prayed with my whole heart. As I am studying, how to pray effectively, I am taking this time to be honest before the Lord about my prayer life. I am allowing the Holy Spirit to shed light on those prayers that have been answered and those prayers that have not been answered so that I have more answered prayers than not. I have decided that the fault of unanswered prayer lie at my door and not at His. It is with that in mind that I write this blog.
William Penn was an English Quaker best known for founding the colony of Pennsylvania as a place for religious freedom in America. He was a minister, missionary, lawyer, and a journalist. Charles Finney, in his autobiography quoted this saying from William Penn:
For nothing reaches the heart but what is from the heart or pierces the conscience but what comes from a living conscience.—William Penn
This quote resonated with me reminding me of the truth of God’s word regarding prayer. If it doesn’t touch my heart, it probably doesn’t touch the heart of God. David’s statement, in the above scripture, is an echo of a truth regarding prayer that is often overlooked: we are to pray with our whole heart! Not our physical organ of a heart, but with our spiritual heart.
The word “heart” comes from the Hebrew word “lebab ” and is used to depict the inner man. It is also used to refer to the seat of desire, inclination, or will of an individual. When thinking of the heart as the seat of my desires it causes me to think of praying being all in, or fully engaged. When I think of engagement in prayer, I am thinking of things like, is my mind fully engaged in this prayer or am I thinking about other things? Do I care if this prayer is answered or not; how important to me is the answer? Do I truly believe that I am communing with the Father, or am I just going through an exercise? These questions and some others you may think of are important in dealing with praying with our whole heart.
The psalms are songs, but many of them are also prayers. As I was looking at the subject of heartfelt prayers I came upon this verse written by David:
Psalm 35:13-14- But I, when they were ill, wore sackcloth; I put myself out and fasted; I can pray that what I prayed for them might also happen to me. I behaved as I would for my friend or my brother; I bent down in sorrow as if mourning my mother. CJB
David is reminiscing about his times of prayer for others. He recalls how when they were sick, he fasted on their behalf and cried out to the Lord. David said that he prayed for them basically as if he was praying for himself. He wanted God to intervene on their situation as he would have wanted God to do it for him. This is praying with one’s whole heart. Most of us can probably go there when we have a serious situation going on in our lives, but how many of us can do that when something is going on in someone else’s life?
Through the years I have had the privilege of praying for many who were sick. When I pray for the sick at home, I am all in, asking God for greater anointing to get them healed, for a time when there is no sick amongst us, for miracles to break out amongst His people in a greater way. I recall one of my earlier times when I prayed for someone who was sick. I was in the grocery store when I came upon a woman having a seizure. She looked at me and was able to get that out to me. I caught her as she was falling, knelt beside her and began to pray with an urgency! I took authority over that demonic seizure spirit, bound his activity and commanded him to leave. The crowd was gathering and I heard someone say call 911; but I just kept my focus on her deliverance and kept praying. I remembered when my baby had been diagnosed with abnormal seizure activity and I got mad at the devil! So I prayed. A few minutes later her body calmed, she got up and thanked me and we both continued to shop for our groceries. Glory to God!
Another time I was at a conference when I passed a group of women praying for a lady who was in great pain; and I heard her say she was considering leaving the conference. I had to go to restroom and since I was just an attendee, I continued on my way. But I said to the Lord that I would go over there and pray if she was still there when I returned, because it looked like they needed help. I began to join my faith with them as I went to the restroom, praying in the Spirit. When I returned, they were still praying so I walked over, asked if I could pray, and they said yes. She was made free because of His faithfulness to His Word! He is the God that Heals! I believe those women were praying with all of their heart for their friend, I just know that sometimes we can all use a little help!
This isn’t always the results that I get. This is why I am studying prayer. Can I just be honest and say that I study it whenever I begin to feel frustration in my prayer life? I want to be more effective and get greater and more consistent results. Even now when I pray for people I see them get healed, especially of pain, but not all of them get healed. Some have died and gone on to be with the Lord. Some have had miraculous turn arounds! Thank God for that! But my heart is that not a single person live a single day longer in sickness than they have to, and they stop dying of sickness and disease. Just go to sleep and go home after a ripe old age and a fulfilled life! Glory be to God!!
I get what William Penn said that if prayer doesn’t touch my heart that it won’t touch the Father’s heart. I want to pray every prayer with my whole heart. Most often than not, that will be in my private time or in corporate prayer so that when someone needs me to pray for them, I can boldly stand in faith and decree their victory as if it was my victory! It’s simply a matter of the heart! Wonderful Jesus!