from You Version
Do you dare to pray in a way you’ve never prayed before?
With all of your heart, soul, mind, and the full extent of your being? What would happen in your life and the lives of those around you if you started praying dangerous prayers?
Do you dare to find out?
King Saul falsely accused David of treason and sent his full forces after David in repeated attempts to take his life. With all his heart, David wanted to please God. He fought against his anger in order to protect and show honor to the king. Yet knowing that his motives weren’t always perfect, David surrendered his heart before God and prayed one of the most vulnerable, transparent, and dangerous prayers you’ll ever hear. Wanting to honor God in every aspect of his being, David prayed, “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Ps. 139:23–24).
Not only is this prayer difficult to pray, but it’s even more challenging to apply and live out. Because if you have the courage to pray it, then you’ll need to exercise the courage to live what God shows you in reply. So don’t pray it if you don’t mean it.
Be forewarned, this prayer has the potential to convict you. To correct you. To redirect your life. To change the way you see yourself. To change how others see you.
Maybe you’re still thinking this is no big deal. Maybe you’re wondering why you should ask God to search your heart when he already knows all that’s inside you. You know what’s in there.
He knows what’s in there. So why ask something so obvious?
This is where it’s tricky. On the surface, it seems like we would know our own hearts. Right? I know my motives. I know what’s most important. I know why I do what I do. Besides, you might tell yourself, I’ve got a good heart. I’m not trying to hurt people. I want to do what’s right. My heart is good. I’m praying, aren’t I?
But God’s Word actually reveals the exact opposite. It might be a shock when you hear it the first time, but Jeremiah tells us some straight-up truth. Jeremiah was the son of a Levitical priest born around 650 BC. During the reign of King Josiah, God raised up this young prophet to take God’s Word to Israel and the nations. Jeremiah flat out says you—along with me and everybody else—don’t have a good heart. In fact, not only is your heart not good, but your heart is wicked and sinful in all its ways. The prophet said, “The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?” (Jer. 17:9 NLT).
Without Christ, your heart is deceitful. The closer we get to Jesus, the more we have to face our shortcomings. Pride. Selfishness. Lust. Addiction. A critical spirit.
Praying this dangerous prayer can open a channel of communication to God. Instead of simply asking God to do something for you, ask him to reveal something in you. This moment of truth with God may not change you instantly, but it will help you to recognize your spiritual need and redirect your life.
That’s why this prayer of David’s is crazy dangerous.
“Search my heart, Lord.”