Have you ever prayed, “Search me, O God, and know my heart”? If not, you may be delighted today to find out that this is a major way to receive God's help for holy living–and to accelerate your spiritual growth (and promotion) process!
As we pray together over our character, seeking to please the Lord in all things, there is one truth we have to acknowledge:
We cannot possibly know our own heart.
We cannot know how much we need the Lord to change and refine us. This is why we need the Lord to search our hearts.
Related: Read the other posts in this series:
- 7 Prayers to Pray over Your Character
- Prayer 1: Lord, Keep Me from Sinning Against You
- Prayer 2: Lord, Teach Me to Love
- Prayer 3: A New Heart and a New Spirit
- Prayer 4: Let Your Word Dwell In Me Richly
- Prayer 5: Lord, Set a Watch On My Mouth!
Today, I want to encourage you to pray with me and ask the Lord to search you, refine you, and change you.
I first learned this prayer from Psalm 139:23-24, which says:
“Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23-24 NKJV).
I heard this verse sung in songs as a child, but I hadn't given my heart to Christ at that point–so it really didn't impact me at all. But when I gave my life to Jesus around the age of 21, I suddenly started caring about pleasing Christ.
That's when I began praying this prayer in earnest.
I prayed it because, after I surrendered my heart to the Lord, I asked Him to have all of me. I told Him, “You can have my whole life if You'll just give me more of You.” And when I prayed that prayer, not only did Jesus instantly become Lord of my life, but I suddenly began seeing my total lack of good fruit …
… And the abundance of evil fruit that was in my life.
I suddenly saw the hatred, the anger, the horrible thought life (and I could go on and on). I saw it, and I wept. I didn't want to hurt Jesus anymore. I wanted to please Him instead, both to honor Him and to thank Him for what He has done for me.
But in and of myself, I couldn't change my heart.
I needed Him to give me a new heart, and to renovate my soul from the ground up so I would live as is pleasing to Him.
So many people in the Body of Christ receive Jesus as their Savior, but reject the rest of what He wants to do in their lives.
They receive His “fire insurance” …
At least, they think they do; I'm not sure they are really saved …
But anyway, they receive His grace-pass out of hell, but then they put their hand up and say, “That's enough, God. I've got things from here.”
Unless and until they need something. Then, if they need something, they're all over God for whatever they need.
But they completely ignore the fact that, the whole time, GOD needs something and expects something from us: holiness.
Today's prayer and prayer 7, the last post in the series, will both deal with the topic of holiness.
God expects us to live holy lives.
The Bible says:
“Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14).
You can't see the Lord without holiness. Therefore, you and I and all of us are to PURSUE holiness with all that is in us!
However, as we do this–working out our own salvation with fear and trembling, taking what God gave us by grace and making it evident in our behavior, thoughts, and actions–we need the Lord's help to make true progress.
- We need Him to change us, search us, CONVICT us of our sins, and help us repent and go the other way.
- We need Him to give us wisdom, teaching us how to live in a way that is pleasing to Him.
- We need Him to reach down deeper into our heart and spirit than we ever could reach ourselves, purifying us, healing us, and transforming us from glory to glory, faith to faith, and strength to strength.
We can't do these things by ourselves because we don't know our own heart.
Jeremiah 17:9 says that “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?” Therefore, if you've been one of the ones who arrogantly tells the Lord that you know your own heart and you don't need His help …
… Then you are absolutely caught up in a lie.
We already prayed in prayer 3 for God to give us a new heart and a new spirit. Now, however, we need to ask the Lord to reach down inside us into our SOUL and do surgery as only He can do.
If you invite God's precious Holy Spirit to search your heart, you will make progress in life a lot faster.
God is always with you and inside you to help you–if you have given your life to Jesus Christ, that is. But you can either make progress on the fast track or on the slow track.
The slow track is trying to do it all yourself, in the strength of your own flesh. The FAST track, however, is seeking His face with everything you've got, asking Him to help you day by day, hour by hour, moment by moment.
Do you want to get (and remain) on the fast track with God?
If so, entrust yourself to Him, His mercy, and His goodness. Yield yourself to His searching, surgical hand, and invite Him to change you from the inside out.
Pray this with me today if you want the Lord to search your heart:
“Abba Father, I come to You in Jesus' name.
Lord, I love You. You are everything to me. Thank You, Jesus, for dying for me. Thank You for forgiving all my sins and for saving me.
Abba Father, I need Your help. I want to change and become like You, but I can't do it on my own. There are things I can see that I can change, but I know there are a lot of things in me that I can't even see yet–things that I don't even recognize as being there–that You need to purge out of me.
Heavenly Father, in Jesus' name, I boldly invite You to do surgery on me today.
Lord, I give You complete access to my body, soul, and spirit today. I invite You to do everything You desire to do in my emotions, my will, my thoughts, my secret tendencies, any inner wounds, and anything else You see within me:
- Heal me, Lord.
- Change me.
- Convict me.
- Show me what Your will is in every area, and conform me to what You want.
Father God, with the Psalmist I cry, “Search me, O God, and know my heart.”
You are the only One who can see into the depths of my spirit. You are the only One who can search out the roots of things that You need to change in me. You are the only One who knows why I am caught up in any secret sins or tendencies, and Your Word says that Jesus was bruised and crushed so that I could be healed of all these things.
So Abba Father, I boldly invite You today to:
- Search me, O God, and know my heart.
- Try me and know my thoughts.
- See if there be any wicked way in me–and if there is, GET IT OUT!
- Refine me in Your purifying fire, that I may come out shining like gold.
- Lead me in Your way everlasting.
Abba Father, please convict me of any sin in my heart.
Let Your conviction be a continual process in my life, Lord. Keep me on a short leash. If I sin, immediately convict me, I pray. Help me to repent and make things right with You, and with anyone else I hurt. And please, change my heart permanently and make me like You.
Lord, You are the only One who can help me. But I thank You that You are not holding back on me; You are not far away from me; You are not reluctant to help.
Instead, Lord, You are my ever-present Help in trouble. You are with me; You're in me; and You're FOR me. You are all I need, and You are good. Your grace is sufficient for me, for Your strength is made perfect in my weakness.
So Father, thank You:
- I thank You right now for reaching down inside me and healing me deeper than I even knew I hurt.
- I thank You right now for searching me deeper than I could even see, purging me of things I didn't know where there.
- Thank You for not only convicting me, but also for showing me how to live rightly, as is pleasing to You. Thank You for leading me in Your way everlasting.
You, O God, are good, and gracious, and merciful; You are quick to forgive me, and Your mercies are new every day.
Thank You, Abba Father. But Lord, please help me never to take unholy advantage of how good You are. Give me a reverent fear and awe of You, so that I never presume on Your grace by sinning more, just because forgiveness is available.
Fill me with the Spirit of the fear of the Lord, Abba, so that I might live holy all my days, and so that I will never choose to sin against You again.
Thank You, Abba Father. I give You all the praise. In Jesus' mighty, holy, and precious name I pray, amen.”
Beloved, this is a simple prayer, but it's vital that we understand and recognize that we cannot know the depths of our own heart. We need the Lord to search us each and every day.
Did this word resonate with you today? Did you pray the prayer above with me? If so, leave a comment below! I love hearing from you.