An Open-Heart Prayer
By Maria Fontaine
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All of us at different points in time in our walk with the Lord fight some very debilitating personal battles. At times like these, it’s easy to feel that your situation is hopeless, and it seems as if there's nothing you can do to gain the victory. But please be encouraged, because there is deliverance; the Lord always has solutions to the problems we face.
If you no longer have a will to witness or give of your time to help others; if you’re having a hard time getting along with others; if you're lonely; if selfishness has crept into your life more and more; if you've developed ungodly appetites or unhealthy addictions that are not of the Lord; if you battle negative thinking, or being critical of others or discouragement, the Lord has the answers to each and every one of the problems we face.
At times like these, we need to reach out to the Lord, make commitments to Him, and pray the prayers that will bring down His blessings and set us on the road to victory.
I like written prayers. There have been times when I've prepared personal written prayers in advance of praying them, because that enabled me to think and pray about what I wanted to say and the commitments I wanted to make to the Lord. I pray the following written prayer will be as helpful to you as it was to me.
(Prayer): Dear Jesus, in spite of our sins and shortcomings, You are our constant friend, companion, lover, and husband, and You are always there for us. You love us with an everlasting love. You never let us go or forsake us or turn Your back on us, no matter how undeserving or horrible or sinful we may feel. As I pray this prayer I claim the verse that it's not because of or through any works of righteousness which we have done that You saved us or deliver us, but it's by Your mercy.1
It's the desire of my heart to please You and obey You, and to live according to Your Word and be close to You and be a good testimony to others. I want my life to be fruitful. I want to be loving. I want to be a blessing to my loved ones and to lift up those who are weaker or in need.
I ask that You take the spotlight of Your Word and shine it deep within my soul, and clearly bring to mind the areas in which I need to change. I do sincerely, with all my heart, want to change, Jesus. “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”2
I'm a little afraid that I won't have what it takes to change or to make the sacrifices that I know You want me to make. I know that praying this prayer means that my life is going to change, and I'm going to have to change, and it will require yieldedness, forsaking all, and becoming a new creature in some way.
I have tried to yield, even though I know that in some ways that yieldedness has only been partial yieldedness. I thank You, Jesus, for giving me the grace and the strength to hold on through my battles, even though You know I haven't been fully yielded. Thank You also for giving others the grace to put up with me, to love me in spite of my weaknesses. Thank You for their prayers.
I can tell that my pride is resisting. My fear of the future and my preconceived ideas about the way I think things ought to be, or even the way I see myself, are trying to hold me back, along with my selfishness, my wanting things my own way, my lack of faith and trust in You—and even my hope that if I hold out long enough and don't pray this prayer, that maybe things will change in some way and You won't ask such a sacrifice of me, such a laying down of myself and my pride and my own ideas.
I'm determined to pray this prayer, Lord, because I need a change. I want to cast myself, my cares, my hopes, my dreams, my loved ones, my future on You! I want You to transform me into what You want me to be.
Jesus, please change my heart. For me to get the victory over my personal problems and weaknesses seems to me to be an impossible situation, but You said You're the God of the impossible, and what's impossible with man is possible with You, and all things are possible to him that believeth.3 I need the faith even to believe that this change is possible. But You said it, so I know that whatsoever we ask in faith, believing, You will do.4
I don't know how You're going to pull this off, Lord, but please, could You? I really, really want it. I mean, in a way I don't want it, because I know it's going to cost me. I'll have to change, and humble myself. But on the other hand, I really want it because I know that's what You want. I know that's what's going to be pleasing to You. I know that's where Your blessing lies.
I know that no matter what sacrifice I make, no matter how much I have to give, no matter what it looks like I'm losing, I will still have You! It's just such a wonderful feeling to know I'm not going to fall, because You're going to be there to lift me up, to hold me in Your arms. So I don't have anything to fear. I know there are going to be a lot of tests and I'll be tempted to go back on what I said, but by Your grace, I'm going to keep going.
I know I've got to go forward. And if I'm going to have to do this, why not do it wholeheartedly? Why not go all the way? Instead of dragging along reluctantly and hesitantly, why not give it all I've got? I know the sooner I do, the quicker the victory can come—the victory that You want—the victory of being strengthened in my long-standing weaknesses, and of Your strength being made perfect in my weakness.5
You said, “According to your faith, it will be done unto you.”6 It takes a lot of faith to be specific in my prayer requests, but I believe that this will generate specific answers by Your power. Jesus, I know all things are possible to him that believeth. With man it is impossible, but with God all things are possible. You specialize in things thought impossible, and the seemingly impossible is Your specialty. Not only are You our Savior, but You're our miracle worker too.
By faith, by praying this prayer, I have made a choice to accept Your will for my life. I've stepped out on the water and I'm trusting You to hold me up, to carry me to the other side and to set my feet upon a strong, solid victory.
Please raise up angelic forces to support me and strengthen me. Lord, sometimes I feel as though there's a war going on in my head, with the thoughts I think, the reactions I have. I hear Your still, small voice and the voice of Your Word guiding me, but I feel besieged at times by worries, fears, doubts, and critical or bitter thoughts.
Please give me supernatural grace to fight! Make me more of a fighter! Jesus, You said that You are well able to help me rise above the natural circumstances, no matter how impossible they may seem to me. Please calm the troubled waters and make my heart serene. Break the chains and set me free from the things that hinder my relationship with You.
Jesus, I don't like having all these fears and apprehensions, all this tension and nervousness that I am facing. I ask You to set me free from remorse about the past, and free from the fears of the future.
I know I'll still have to fight even after praying this prayer, laying my heart on the altar of sacrifice, and asking You to make me a yielded vessel in Your hands to accept Your will. There will be tests and temptations. There will even be times when I'll fall. But by Your grace, I'll rise up again and again, like a strong man who falls seven times but rises up again.7
This challenge is a wonderful blessing in disguise. And if I recognize it as such, and I take up the challenge and I make it something positive and really put my whole heart into it, it's going to be a lot easier. Because then I'm going to be in cooperation with You.
I know all of this sounds great and real brave and courageous. But I probably won't always be sounding this way, so for the record I want to state that today I determined by faith that this is what my goal is, this is what my aim is, and this is what I'm going to do, by Your grace.
Thank You, Jesus! I'm trusting You completely and I know You love me and You do all things well. I'm leaning on You. I'm expecting answers to prayer, because of Your promises. I know that without You, I'm nothing.8 I know that in me, that is in my sinful nature, dwells no good thing,9 and I need Your strength and power to change. I need You so desperately, Jesus. I want Your love and Spirit to lead and guide me each step of the way, in my actions and my interactions with others. I want my life to serve as an example of Your love to others.
When people look at me, I want them to see Your reflection in me. I'm reminded of Peter and John, who were unlearned and ordinary men, but people knew that they had been with You, Jesus.10 When all is said and done and I've finished my course and You call me home, I want it to be said of me that people knew that I had been with You, because they saw You reflected in me—Your love, Your mercy, Your compassion, Your understanding, Your strength and power.
I want Your Spirit to live and work and move in me as never before. I want to be so filled with Your love—love for You and love for others—that it will overflow and bless the lives of others.
Jesus, even if I don't see an answer right away, even if I don't see or feel the answer to my prayer for some time, I will keep on believing, because You have promised, and I know You won't fail me. By Your grace, I am resolute in my desire to walk in Your Spirit and strive to be unselfish, loving, giving, considerate of others, and to read, receive, and live Your Word.
I want to renew my commitment to You, Jesus. I want to spend more time in Your presence—communing with You, pouring out my heart to You, and hearing Your words to me for my personal situation. I want You to be that stable force that I can hold on to and know that everything is okay. And when I feel the need, I will do my best to come back to You in desperate prayer, to call out to You for the strength to keep fighting the good fight of faith.11
I love You and need You, precious Jesus, for ever and ever. I will try to always stay by Your side, and am forever thankful to be one of Your children. Amen.
For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ. We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.
We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies. …
That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.12
Originally published December 1997. Adapted and republished July 2013.
Read by Irene Quiti Vera.
1 Titus 3:5.
2 Psalm 139:23–24 NIV.
3 Luke 18:27; Mark 9:23.
4 Matthew 21:22.
5 2 Corinthians 12:9.
6 Matthew 9:29.
7 Proverbs 24:16.
8 John 15:5.
9 Romans 7:18.
10 Acts 4:13.
11 1 Timothy 6:12.
12 2 Corinthians 4:6–10, 16–18 NLT.