Daily Reflection and Prayer
by Mark D. Roberts
Laity Lodge Senior Director and Scholar-in-Residence
Where Is Your Heart?
And so the Lord says,
“These people say they are mine.
They honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.
And their worship of me
is nothing but man-made rules learned by rote.” [Isaiah 29:13]
In Isaiah 29, the Lord indicts his people for saying the right things while their hearts are far away from him. They profess faithfulness to God, but their desires are selfish and idolatrous. Rather than seeking God’s glory, they live for themselves. Their worship is “by the book,” but not “by heart.” They do the right things but don’t do them as a genuine act of self-offering to God.
It’s easy for us to fall into this same pit of hypocrisy. On the outside we look like “good Christians.” We attend worship services. We sing the songs. We teach Sunday School. We say things like “I’ll pray for you” and “Praise the Lord.” But on the inside our hearts can be miles and miles away from the Lord. We allow sin to dominate our consciousness. We dream about our own advancement rather than the progress of God’s kingdom. We honor God with our lips, but our hearts are far away from him.
The good news is that, through Christ, God is seeking us. He wants, not just our words and deeds, but our hearts. He desires relationship with us so that we might be transformed from the inside out. If our hearts are far away from the Lord, we can turn to him in repentance so that we might be forgiven and restored into his fellowship. Even when we have drifted away from God, he is near to us, beckoning us to come home to him.
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: Where is your heart today? Are you seeking the Lord? Are you living for his purposes? Are you willing to be found by him as he seeks you today?
PRAYER: Dear Lord, you know me through and through. You know that in some ways my heart does belong to you. But in other ways I withhold my heart, focusing on myself. And, yes, there are times when I harden my heart against you because, in truth, I want to do that which dishonors you.
Forgive me, Lord, for my wandering heart. Cleanse me from all that draws me away from you. May I turn to you this day, so that I might be found by you and restored into intimate fellowship with you.
“O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy grace, Lord, like a fetter,
Bind my wand’ring heart to Thee:
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, Lord, take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.”*