A Unified Heart

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
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Teach me your ways, O LORD, that I may live according to your truth! Grant me purity of heart, so that I may honor you.

Psalm 86:11

Next Monday I’ll begin reflecting on the book of Jeremiah. It’s the next book in our sequence. For today, however, I want to maintain a focus on Lenten themes, using Psalm 86.

Psalm 86 is a prayer of David, in which he calls out to God for help (86:1). He asks for protection, salvation, mercy, and happiness (86:2-4). He acknowledges the Lord’s uniqueness (86:10).

Then David asks that God help him to live in a right and honorable way. “Teach me your ways, O LORD,” David says, “that I may live according to your truth!” The Hebrew of this phrase reads literally, “that I may walk in your truth” (’ahallekh ba’amittekh). God’s truth is not only something we’re to believe, but also something that guides every step of our lives.

The second half of Psalm 86:11 adds, “Grant me purity of heart, so that I may honor you.” This translation is one possible rendering of the Hebrew, which reads “Unite my heart to fear your name.” Reverence for God’s name is, indeed, honoring him in thought and feeling, in word and deed. This comes when our hearts are united, when our inner lives are congruent. As the NRSV translates this verse, “Give me an undivided heart to revere your name” (86:11).

Too often in life, our hearts are divided. I expect you know this experience. I certainly do. There are times when I trust God while also doubting. There are times I sin against him even though I can hear my conscience calling me to obedience. There are times when I want to serve God and myself, as if it were possible to have two masters. So, like David, I yearn for God to unite my heart, to bring my thoughts, feelings, desires, and dreams into alignment. The more this happens, the more I will live each moment for him, revering his name in all I do.

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: What divides your heart? What helps you to have a united heart?

PRAYER: Dear Lord, as I take the first few steps into the season of Lent, my soul yearns for you to be at work in me.

“Teach me your ways, O LORD, that I may live according to your truth!” Yes, Lord, help me to know the right ways so that I might walk in them. May your truth shape my thinking and my living.

“Grant me purity of heart, so that I may honor you.” You know, Lord, how often my heart is divided. I find it so easy to want your ways and my ways, to desire you even as I choose to do that which dishonors you. Help me, Lord, by uniting my heart. Fix the broken pieces of my inner life.

O Lord, as Lent continues, may my heart be unified by your gracious Spirit, so that I might honor you in every way.

In the name of Jesus I pray, Amen.

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