As another school year starts up and I begin to feel like my world has been turned upside down by all of the changes happening in my life, I’ve been thinking a lot about prayer- am I praying enough? Am I praying for the right things? Do I even understand the power of prayer?
About a month ago, my sister got in a car accident. Her car flipped into a ditch and was totaled- and the guy who pulled over and called my mom was convinced that my sister was dead by the sight of the car. But my sister didn’t have a scratch on her- she was rattled by what had happened, but she was completely unharmed. Here’s the most amazing thing about it though: the next day when I was talking to her, she told me that the night before her accident, she prayed that the Lord would give her more motivation to read her Bible. She said that when she crawled out of her car that night, the first thing she did was get on her knees and start praying- and believe me, in that she found plenty of motivation to open up her Bible.
Since she told me that story, I’ve really started to think carefully about what I ask God for- I mean, do I really want to ask for something that’s going to result in something as serious as a car wreck? In reality, I should be willing to do whatever it takes to be closer to God. Earlier this summer, I boldly stated in a post that if anything gives me enough comfort to separate me from God, then I don’t want it. But then I turn around and carefully think about my prayers, because asking God for anything that might make my life a little more difficult just doesn’t sound all that appealing, to be quite honest. It’s sad, it really is- but it’s the nature of our hearts.
This summer, I took a lot of good things in my life and made them ultimate. Every once in a while, I would have a little reality check and try to bring myself back to what is most important: focusing on the Lord. But, with time, I fell back into the routine of letting these good things consume my time and my thoughts. And I don’t think I really understood the impact of it until I went on a Leadership Retreat with Cornerstone last week and during all of our quiet times, all I could think about was my struggle with the idea that along with the end of summer came the end of a lot of the good things that defined my summer. During one of our prayer times, I was writing down a prayer and as thoughts were rushing into my head, the words “break my heart” came to mind. It immediately scared me to death because all I could think about was my sister’s car accident- and I knew that if I asked the Lord to break my heart so that only His perfect love could make it whole, He might actually do it- could I handle that? Could I genuinely ask the Lord to bring me pain and have full confidence that when He answered that prayer, I wouldn’t lose hope?
I stared at that half-completed page in my prayer journal for quite some time. I didn’t want to ask the Lord to break my heart if I didn’t mean it, but I also knew that I didn’t want to ignore something I felt called to ask God to do. So, I wrote it. I may have shut my eyes as it was going down on the page and my penmanship probably wasn’t that great because my hand was shaking so much- but I wrote it. Break my heart, Lord- if that’s what will bring me back to You, just break it. Because the truth of the matter is that the Lord has shown me time after time that His plan will always be better- the plans that I make for myself are pitiful compared to what God has planned for me. And if I hadn’t been focusing on all of these wordly things anyway, He wouldn’t have any need to break my hardened heart- it would already be open to Him.
Surely enough, I came home from Leadership Retreat and as I arrived in Chapel Hill and the beginning of this school year became a reality, I found a significant sense of comfort- something that had been a huge part of my summer- taken away from me. And in the moment that I realized what had just happened, I was heartbroken. And in that moment, the Lord’s plan didn’t come to mind and that prayer sitting in my journal didn’t come to mind- I was just… heartbroken.
I went home this past weekend to see one of my best friends from high school get married, and that night when I sat at the dinner table with my family, I told my sister that the story of her car accident inspired me to ask the Lord to break my heart and truly mean it. And as the reminder of my broken heart came to light, my eyes welled up with tears and my sister hugged me and with such joy in her voice, she said, “Jordan, God’s about to do great things.”
He really is going to do great things. Because if I had it my way, I would choose a life so much less fulfilling than what the Lord has planned for me, simply because I’m so caught up in the affairs of this world. But if there’s one thing I can promise you, it’s that the Lord answers prayers. Let Him break your heart- He’s going to do great things.
“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.” -1 John 5:14-15