(This TTF series starts with the post "Through the Furnace (TTF): Intro 1.")
Psalm 51:17: “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.”
Okay, if you are still reading this then I would guess that you have a genuine desire to be broken, or at least you’re curious about it. And the first step to brokenness is seeing your need for it and desiring it. During this step, all you need to do is pray. It does not need to follow any formula or specific words, just tell God of your desire to be humbled. (There’s a sample prayer at the end of this post.) He doesn’t need fancy words or long prayers, but He does need us to open our hearts to him. He needs our invitation. He needs us to express our willingness to be molded.
I have to remind you, though, that these are “dangerous” prayers. Because God will take any invitation you give and stretch you as far as He can. But you can trust Him. He will not give you more than He can help you handle. And He will be with you the whole way, even when it doesn’t seem like it. And it’s so amazing to see what comes from it, after all the pain is over, that is. Just let Him know that you are ready, and He’ll grab your hand and walk into that furnace with you.
While prayer is the focus of this step, I also think that there are some challenges worth taking as you begin the journey. These are to help ground you in Him as you start. And I want to share a verse that relates to this whole journey, to be diligent and conscientious in our attempt to seek after God, truth, and humility:
Daniel 10:12: “Then he [an angelic messenger] continued, ‘Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them.”
Our lives will be impacted by our sincere desire to gain understanding and to humble ourselves before God. The spirit world will be impacted. God’s kingdom will be impacted. Let us do this together, set our minds to gain understanding and to humble ourselves before God, and then see what God does with us and through us. For His glory!
1. Spend some time (however long you choose) praying that He shows you any passage from Scripture that He wants you to pay closer attention to. Spend time learning to listen for the Spirit’s leading in this and searching the Word for any verses that are meant specifically for you.
God knows us better than we know ourselves, and so we may not even be aware of why He brings certain passages to mind. Just write them down and spend time thinking about them and praying about them until God makes it clear. Maybe God is trying to reveal something you need to be convicted of. Maybe it’s that He wants to give you an advanced message to strengthen you when times get tough. Maybe He wants you to choose a “life verse,” the biblical passages that will become a road map for your life. Maybe it’s something else. But whatever it is, take it to heart. Write it down and turn back to it often.
2. Reflect upon your life so far and write down things you are thankful for and anything that God has done in your life that is worth remembering. Grumbling and forgetting were two of the main things that the Israelites got in trouble for on their way to the Promised Land. It took me a long time to realize that and to face it in myself. And so right off the bat, I’m going to ask you to do the opposite: be thankful and remember. And write it down. These will also help you when times get rough and God feels far away.
3. Explore the Bible for the promises and wisdom of God that you may need to grab a hold of and to remember in the future. Write these down, too. And thank Him for these treasures. Sometimes, when all else is falling down around us, we only have a biblical promise from God to cling to. But it is enough to keep us going. So get a list going of your favorite verses and why they mean so much to you.
4. Listen to one of my favorite songs - Sweetly Broken by Jeremy Riddle. And really listen to the words. It’s beautiful and inspiring. If you are doing this challenge with a friend (or group of friends), maybe listen to the song together during the first visit, if not all of them. Or ask each other what other songs inspire you and try to listen to them together. (Or maybe it’s a poem or quote or short story that inspires you. Feel free to bring those to share with your partner.)
Questions for Reflection: (Spend time praying and thinking about these, and journal your answers.)
1. Do I really desire to be humbled? If so, why? If not, why not?
2. Is there anything that I am afraid of going into this?
3. What do I think being humbled will mean for me? How will it change my life?
4. What are my current priorities or focuses, and how might they be affected?
5. What will it mean for my relationship with the Lord?
6. What will it mean for my relationship with others?
7. What in my life and heart may get in the way of being humbled? (Confess these to God and ask His help to lay them down at His feet and to work past them.)
Find whatever verses you can on humility or brokenness. Compile them in your journal and jot down any insights, as the Spirit leads, while you reflect on them. Below are some chapters that contain references to humility. There are more to find on your own, if you are interested. And share them with your partner, if you have one. (I am not writing out the verses here because I think it is so much more worthwhile to get out your Bible and dig deep into the whole chapter.).
2 Chronicles 7
1 Peter 5
Look back over all you wrote and turn it into prayers to God: prayers of confession if need be, petitions, thanksgiving, requests for strength and wisdom, etc. Always put your thoughts into prayers. Our thoughts are for us, but our prayers are for God.
Example Prayer for Seeking Humility:
Dear Heavenly Father,
I come before You right now to thank You for Your wonderful gift of salvation. I thank You that You are a faithful Father who loves me and wants the best for me. And I want my life to bring You the most glory possible. I want my life to be a sweet, pleasing, living sacrifice for You, that others may see You through me. And I want a complete relationship with You - one built on truth, love, and faith. And I know this means that I have to open up all areas of my heart and life to You. And so I humbly lay myself down before You and ask that You help me learn to be “humble like a child.”
But I cannot do this on my own. I do not know the depths of my heart like You do. And I fear the journey and the pain. And so I ask for Your help and peace and strength in this. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit. Help me learn to hear Him. Help me hear His insights and revelations about myself and my relationship with You, so that I can replace any falsehood with Truth.
Please, help me learn to fully rely on You and to find my strength and hope in You alone, for I am so weak on my own. Thank You for calling me to dig deeper and to climb higher in my walk with You. May You be glorified by it.
In Jesus’ holy name, Amen
A Much Simpler Sample Prayer:
Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. (Psalm 25:4-5)