A Prayer about the Ongoing Work of the Spirit in Our Hearts
I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleanness, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. Ezek. 36:25-27
Gracious Father, the heart surgery you sign on for is this passage underscores just how merciful and mighty you are. And I praise you for how much of this great New Covenant promise you’ve already fulfilled in your children.
Through the gospel, I’ve already experienced the greatest of all sprinklings Ezekiel envisions—the once and for all cleansing by the blood of Jesus. Though I’m still sucker-punched by the accusing and condemning work of Satan, you’ve forgiven me of all of my sins—past, present, and future; sins of word, thought, and deed. May this grand affirmation never fall glibly from my lips. May this good news never be blasé or cliché to me.
And, through my union with Christ, you’ve already declared me to be perfectly righteous in your sight—a status that makes me yearn for the complete healing of my yet-to-be perfected heart. How I long for the day when my heart will beat only for Jesus’ glory, be enamored with his beauty, feel with his passion, think with his wisdom, and love with his affection.
Indeed, that’s what I’m most earnestly desiring today. By the work of your indwelling Spirit, change my heart, Father. The image of a heart of stone being replaced with a heart of flesh, isn’t a mere metaphor to me; it’s a gospel miracle.
I want a kind heart, a tender heart, a sweet heart, a compassionate heart, a caring heart, a servant’s heart, a soft heart—the heart of Jesus. I want the heart of an obedient son, not that of a self-righteous Pharisee. I long to be more restful and less resentful, more merciful and less mercenary, quicker to listen than to speak, quicker to be flexible than rigid, more likely to be consoling than controlling, more often saying yes than no, to the demands of love.
I want to forgive from my heart and not just avoid the pain of conflict. I want to encourage people for their good, not flatter them for my benefit. I want to see what you see in others and not obsess over what I want for others. I want to feel joy and hope every time I hear your name and not feel rejection and self-pity when I don’t hear my name. Like John the Baptist, I want Jesus to increase and me to decrease.
I praise you, Father, for promising just such a heart through the resources of the gospel. My longings, hopes, and prayers are not in vain. So very Amen I pray, with fresh gratitude, in Jesus’ matchless name.