Clarence L. Haynes Jr. is a speaker, Bible teacher, author and co-founder of The Bible Study Club
How do you approach God and people when your faith is small, when you can’t believe and when you wonder if God is even listening?
That’s why I want to encourage you today to pray broken prayers. Consider this passage in Luke:
“While Jesus was in one of the towns, a man came along who was covered with leprosy. When he saw Jesus, he fell with his face to the ground and begged him, ‘Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.’ Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. ‘I am willing,’ he said. ‘Be clean!’ And immediately the leprosy left him” (Luke 5:12-13).
There was something about this man that I think you can relate to. He was broken by life because he was a leper. We are not sure how he caught leprosy, but nevertheless he had it and it was a terrible disease. To be a leper in those days was to be an outcast. I will spare you the details of the horror of this disease, but beyond the physical pain and suffering there was the mental pain and suffering because no one wanted to be around you. Lepers were shunned and people thought they were cursed by God and their leprosy was a result of their sin. Some scholars say a leper couldn’t come within six feet of any other Israelite and within 150 feet if there was an east wind blowing (I guess this was the original form of social distancing).
In our story, this leper comes to Jesus. He was sick, probably in pain, and shunned by the outside world. In one word he was broken. In his place of brokenness he cried out to Jesus for help and Jesus responded.
How Does This Apply to You?
There are usually two ways we end up in positions of brokenness or helplessness. In one instance you are doing everything right. You are living right. You are giving right. You are serving. You are following God, obeying his word and doing everything you are supposed to do – and all of a sudden you get hit with life, leading you to a broken place.
On the flip side, maybe you are doing everything wrong. You’ve made a series of bad decisions and choices and your life feels like it’s falling apart. Everything is breaking down around you and you don’t know what to do. You too are in a broken place.
You see, it does not matter how you got there, you end up just like the leper. Whether it’s by your own fault or no fault of your own, you are in this place of desperation and brokenness. What do you do?
The Power of the Broken Prayer
What I love about this story is the way the man came to Jesus. He came and threw himself at his feet. He came humble. He came honest and he came broken. He didn’t even pray what would be considered a faith-filled prayer. He said Lord, if you are willing. In essence he was saying I know you can, I just don’t know if you will.
His prayer was not coming from a place of expectation, it was coming from a place of desperation. In other words, he came to Jesus just as he was. Unclean, rejected, desperate, broken and out of this place he cried out to Jesus. He was offering what I would consider a broken prayer, yet this prayer had much power in it.
Lessons from This Broken Prayer
1. Come to Jesus Just the Way You Are
Too often we make the mistake of thinking we have to come to Jesus with everything right. The same mask we wear into church on Sunday morning we take into prayer and into the presence of God. If I could encourage you with one thing let it be this. Stop thinking you have to always have it all right. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you have to have your faith right, your worship right, you have to pray the right words and when you do then God will hear you. That is not what God responds to.
You can come to Jesus just as you are, broken and all, with the mask off and pour your heart out to him. Broken prayers aren’t perfect prayers, but they come from a place of humility and honesty and that is exactly what God wants.
Psalm 51:17 – “The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.”
2. God Doesn’t Only Respond to Our Faith, He Also Responds to Our Brokenness
There is something amazing in this story of Luke that if you read too fast you will miss. Before Jesus healed him, he touched him. Remember this was a man who was shunned by society. Who knows how long it had been since someone had touched this man?
Before Jesus addressed his obvious physical need for healing, he addressed the less obvious emotional need to be touched. We already mentioned earlier that this man did not pray a prayer of great faith, yet Jesus responded. This tells me that God not only responds to your faith, he responds to your brokenness as well. Jesus could have healed the man first and then touched him, but he didn’t – he touched him first.
That is why it’s ok to come just as you are. Don’t worry about having everything all neat and buttoned up, God will respond to your broken condition.
3. When You Touch the Heart of God, It Will Move the Hand of God
Luke 5:13b – “’I am willing,’ he said. ‘Be clean!’ And immediately the leprosy left him.”
I believe the reason why Jesus moved in this man’s situation is because this man touched his heart. When you touch the heart of God, it will move the hand of God. You must also be mindful of something. When you pray broken prayers, sometimes God will change the situation instantly which is what happened here. However sometimes the situation may remain the same, but he will change you instantly. At the place of brokenness, you are laying it all down and asking God to move on your behalf as he sees fit. The beauty of the broken prayer is that you may come to God broken, but you will walk away whole.
If you are sick you may walk away healed, but even if God doesn’t heal you, walk away whole.
If you are discouraged you will walk away encouraged.
If you come with no faith you walk away believing God to do great things in your life.
If you come with no joy you walk away with joy unspeakable and full of glory.
If you come with no peace you walk away with peace that passes all understanding, even in the midst of brokenness.
The beauty of the broken prayer is that God takes it, strengthens you and gives you the confidence to know that God is going to bring you through.
I don’t know what feels hopeless, broken, or desperate in your life today. I do know that if you will pour it out humbly and honestly, God is waiting to touch you, heal you and restore you. You are reminded from Scripture to cast all your cares upon him because he cares for you. The situation you are in today matters, and Jesus is waiting with open arms to touch all the broken places in your life. However, it begins when you take the mask off and begin offering up those broken prayers.
|New International Version|
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
4 You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.
1 John 4:4
Remember this verse as we go into the next year!
May God bless all of you, as we embrace Him and each other.
If there was ever a time when we are called to show an extraordinary display of love for God and each other, it is now. I’ve been questioning what we as Christians are doing to show love during these hectic times.
Reading the following scripture, I tried to put a filter in place to determine whether modern-day Christianity actually survives the test of Jesus’ definition of love. Let’s read this together and ask the Holy Spirit to help us answer that question.
The Great Commandment
Matthew 22 (English Standard Version)
34 But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together.
35 And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him.
36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?”
37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.
8 This is the great and first commandment.
39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
Along with these scriptures, we would be remiss not to read and understand God’s further definition of love.
1 John 4:20 (English Standard Version)
20 If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.
So, let’s ask ourselves:
- Do we treat everyone with this kind of love? Does it matter whether they have the same color of skin as ours, speak with the same language that we use?
2. Are we prejudiced in any way?
3. Do we encourage hate of any person?
4. Do we support bullying?
5. Do we reach out and pick up the peaceful person that was just beaten down–by fists or guns–or words? Or do we join in?
6. Do we judge a person by whether they are poor, or not?
7. Do we act out, in any way, with disdain, judgmental thoughts or actions, or do we try to understand a person who is different from us? who may have a different religious affiliation? a different way in describing their belief system? Or do we think that we are the only people who have all the answers?
8. Do we agree that requiring servitude by anyone is ok? is loving? is the way Jesus would treat people?
I think this is a somber time in all of our lives when we should quietly sit and reflect on these questions. If we fall short of the definition of love as Jesus describes it, we have an imperative to go to Him and ask forgiveness, turn away from that wrongful attitude, and humble ourselves as we seek God’s guidance in remedying our actions. That way He will be glorified rather than being ashamed of us.
Are we really Christians?
If we don’t display the love and light from our Lord, then we should stop using His name–in vain!
Your sister in Christ,
Pondering, letting my thoughts go upward and all around me up to HIM, I constantly Sit in Heavenly Places. It’s joy unspeakable! ~ Sharon
Praying for blessings to all of you around the world. May we all come together to find what is best in each of us. Love surely is better than hate. Working together, standing together, loving together will make the difference. If you are upset about something, find your voice. Go on Twitter, Facebook, start a Website, care and share positive ideas and progressive thinking instead of crying in a corner. We can all light the place where we stand and that light will shine enough to change things.
Be blessed with much love, joy, and happiness!
Sharon & Erick
There comes a time when we heed a certain call
When the world must come together as one
There are people dying
And its time to lend a hand to life
The greatest gift of all
We can’t go on pretending day by day
That someone, somehow will soon make a change
We are all a part of Gods great big family
And the truth, you know,
Love is all we need
We are the world, we are the children
We are the ones who make a brighter day
So lets start giving
So happy to be sharing this amazing day with all of you. Hoping you are having a wonderful, blessed, full-of-love day. If any of you are alone today, we reach out to you to let you know you are never alone because we love you and are with you in spirit. Remembering those who are no longer with us and feeling the loss of their presence. Sharon and Erick
When Christ was born, so was our hope! This is why I love Christmas. The event invites us to believe the wildest of promises! He did away with every barrier, fence, sin, bent, debt, and grave. Anything that might keep us from him was demolished.
He only awaits our word to walk through the door. Invite him in. Escort him to the seat of honor, and pull out his chair. Clear the table; clear the calendar. Call the kids and neighbors. Christmas is here. Christ is here. One request from you, and God will do again what he did then. He’ll scatter the night with everlasting light. He’ll be born in you.
Let “Silent Night” be sung! Every heart can be a manger. Every day can be a Christmas. The Christmas miracle—a yearlong celebration! ~Max Lucado
|by Max Lucado|
Paul reminded the church at Corinth the kind of love Christ offers to us– Agape love that “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things.” Don’t we need the same prescription today? Don’t groups still fight with each other? Don’t we flirt with those we shouldn’t? Aren’t we sometimes quiet when we should speak?
Someday there will be a community where everyone behaves and no one complains. But it won’t be this side of heaven. So till then we reason, we confront, and we teach. But most of all we love. Such love isn’t easy. Not even for Jesus. Listen to his frustration in Mark 9:19: “You people have no faith. How long must I stay with you? How long must I put up with you? How long? Until it kills me! Jesus bore all things, believed all things, hoped all things, and endured all things! Even the cross.
From A Love Worth Giving
Just wanted you to know
on this day,
and every day,
You are loved.
Not only by your creator,
but by me.
Have a blessed Valentine’s Day,
no matter what,
YOU ARE LOVED!
God wants you to stop being “absorbed with the things right in front of you.
Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ—
that’s where the action is.
See things from his perspective”.
(Colossians 3:2 MSG)
If I ever needed to hear this verse, today was the day! I’m having a rough time facing the fact that my sister’s leukemia has now progressed and she will be starting chemo soon. Also, it seems, people who are “supposed friends”, just simply “aren’t”. So I need to look up, and try to see it all in “God’s perspective”.
Judging is the easiest path of resistance. We all do it. Even if we don’t realize that we do. And we may judge BECAUSE we don’t understand. But the goal is to: Never judge what you don’t understand.