Psalm 34:18 “The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.”
Our hearts break for various reasons.
Hearts break when a loved one departs.
Hearts break when friends move away.
Hearts break when love is no longer in a marriage or relationship.
Hearts break when we are deceived or rejected.
The brokenness of the verse mentioned today speaks of the heart that is destitute of any strength to continue, or hope or desire to go on. The heart of such a one breaks over the wrong committed and the subsequent hurt we cause.
The previous heart breaks are devastating and heart-wrenching. The last is self-induced. The previous are done unto us by others. The latter is our choice.
Choosing to allow our hearts to be broken means there is something or someone for which it breaks. Often, we are more concerned how others will perceive us than truly caring what is pleasing to God.
I was recently shown a book of Puritan prayers called, “The Valley of Vision.” In it, I discovered the heart of those who left the comfort of their home across the sea for religious independence here. Here is one such prayer called, “The Broken Heart.”
No day of my life has passed that has not proven me guilty in thy sight.
Prayers have been uttered from a prayerless heart; Praise has often been praiseless sound; My best services are filthy rags. Blessed Jesus, let me find a covert in thy appeasing wounds.
Though my sins rise to heaven thy merits soar above them; Though unrighteousness weighs me down to hell, thy righteousness exalts me to thy throne.
All things in me call for my rejection,
All things in thee plead my acceptance.
I appeal from the throne of perfect justice to thy throne of boundless grace.
Grant me to hear thy voice assuring me:
that by thy stripes I am healed,
that thou hast been made sin for me,
that I may be righteous in thee,
that my grievous sins, my manifold sins, are all forgiven.,
buried in the ocean of thy concealing blood.
I am guilty, but pardoned, lost but saved, wandering but found, sinning but cleansed.
Give me perpetual broken-heartedness,
Keep me always clinging to thy cross,
Flood me every moment with descending grace,
Open to me the springs of divine knowledge, sparkling like crystal, flowing clear and unsullied through my wilderness of life.”*
* “Valley of Vision A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions” edited by Arthur Bennett.
It is certainly convicting that our prayers lack the brokenness of which this prayer speaks. Their perspective of God is purer, higher, cleaner, and clearer than those of today.
Take some time today to meditate on thee truths presented here. May we then begin to think clearer, act more holy, and pray more fervently.