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Lord, you know everyone’s heartActs 1:24

Dear heavenly Father, there are so many things attributed to you in the Scriptures that are clearly not our domain. And as this Scripture affirms, “heart-knowing” is one of them.

We often speak of being drawn to someone’s heart, or of being offended, confused, or shut out from their heart, but only you really know what’s in each of our hearts. We own and grieve the fact that we often act otherwise.

That’s why we pray with humility and joy, “Search me, O God, and know my heart” (Ps. 139:23), for we cannot and must not trust our own diagnosis. There’s nothing more deceitful on the face of the earth than the heart, including my heart (Jer. 17:9). Only you understand the ways of the heart, Father. Only you can cure its great sickness, and release its great beauty.

Sometimes we think of ourselves much more highly than we ought—so wanting to believe we’re healthier and more mature than reality affirms. Sometimes we fall into shame and contempt, and act like complete strangers to your mercy and grace—like orphans without a Father above, devoid of your Spirit within.

Sometimes we just think about ourselves too much, period—falling into the paralysis of analysis, or some other unhealthy self-preoccupation. Way too often, we wrongly assume we know what’s going on in the hearts of others—playing judge, jury, and sometimes, executioner. Forgive us and free us, from all such presumptive, grace-less ways.

Father, here’s our sure and only hope: Through Jesus, you’ve already sprinkled clean water on us and have declared us to be clean. You’ve cleansed us from our impurities and are freeing us from our idols. You’ve already given us a new heart and placed your Spirit within us. You removed our stony hearts and gave us hearts of flesh—hearts that beat for you and your glory (Ezek. 36:24-27). What a generous and powerful God you are!

And you will complete this good work you’ve begun in each of us and in all of creation (Phil. 1:6). Justified sinners are destined to be your glorified children (Rom. 8:30). Oh, how we praise you for the peace and assurance we enjoy, all because the gospel is true.

Help us to walk in greater humility before you and in observable kindness toward one another. So very Amen we pray, in Jesus’ loving and heart-transforming name.


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Scotty Smith

Scotty Smith is the founding pastor of Christ Community Church in Franklin, Tennessee. You can follow him on Twitter.

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