Throughout this series, we’ve been reflecting on the ways in which the resurrection doesn’t just transform Jesus, it transforms us as well, every part of us, from our eyes to our ears to our hands to our mouths. And yet even more than resurrecting our senses, we long for God to resurrect our hearts. With this longing in mind, I invite you, by yourself or with a small group, to allow the following videos, questions, and quotes to guide your heart and mind this week in longing and praying for God to transform you to the depths of your being, to give you a new heart.
To begin with, we’ve got to come to terms with the ways in which our hearts are desperately in need of God’s resurrection power. And yet for so many reasons, some of which the following song articulates so well, that is such a hard admission to make.
“I Haven’t Either” by Andy Gullahorn
Questions for Reflection on “I Haven’t Either” Video:
1. What are some of your “I haven’t either” moments?
2. Reflect on a time when you witnessed the power of confession. What made it powerful? How has it impacted your own practice of confession?
3. What would it look like for confession not to be an occasional practice but a basic part of the posture of your life?
When we finally discover the courage to admit our heart’s neediness, it can be a challenge to know how to articulate our need, how to cry out for help. Psalm 51, our text for the week, gives us a good place to start.
A Clean Heart
Question for Reflection on “A Clean Heart” Video:
1. What word or phrase stood out to you as you watched the video?
2. Why do you think that word or phrase stood out?
3. What is that word or phrase asking of you?
Another option when we’re convicted and in need of words is to turn to the words of a written prayer. Perhaps these are words you will want to pray on a regular basis as a way to bring yourself back to a basic awareness of your need for God to resurrect your life. (You’ll notice I’ve retained the communal language in the prayer, because I’m convinced that even if you’re by yourself when you’re praying it, you are not alone. The communal language serves as a reminder that we’re always part of a community of faith much bigger than ourselves, in which our struggles and God’s gracious transformation of our lives are shared parts of the journey.)
Prayer of Confession
Have mercy on us O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out our transgressions. Wash away all our iniquity and cleanse us from our sin. Forgive our desires to have our own way in all things, no matter who it hurts, no matter what it costs. Forgive us for being dishonest with you, ourselves, and with others. Forgive us for our failure to see our sin for what it is.
We confess to you, Lord, all our past unfaithfulness: the pride, hypocrisy, and the impatience of our lives. We confess to you, Lord.
We confess our self-indulgent appetites and ways, and our taking advantage of other people. We confess to you, Lord.
We confess our harsh judgment of others who have our same struggles, and our envy of those who are more fortunate than ourselves. We confess to you, Lord.
Please accept our repentance, Lord, for the wrongs we have done: for our blindness to human need and suffering, and our indifference to injustice and cruelty. Accept our repentance, Lord.
Most holy and merciful Father, we confess to you and to one another that we have sinned by our own fault in thought, word, and deed, by what we’ve done and by what we’ve left undone. We confess that we have not loved you with our whole heart, mind, and strength. We have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. Have mercy on us, Lord.
Restore us, Father, and let your anger depart from us. Accomplish in us the work and the joy of your salvation. Create pure hearts in us. Help us resist temptation in the future. Help us to rise above our weaknesses and to grow stronger as Christians. In the saving name of your Son we pray all of this, Amen.
Here’s another way of articulating a longing for God to give us new hearts.
“More of You” by Colton Dixon
Questions for Reflection on “More of You” Video:
1. In what ways do you struggle with making your castle tall?
2. How might God be inviting you to empty yourself of yourself?
3. In what specific ways might your life look different if your heart were made new by God filling up the spaces emptied of yourself?
Finally, after confessing our need for God to make us new, to give us new hearts, we rest in the assurance that God’s love will never let us go. And because of that faithful presence with us, God’s love is indeed making our hearts whole and new.
“Oh Love That Will Not Let Me Go” by Robbie Seay Band
You are loved by a God whose love will never, ever let you go. May this love and, more importantly, this God fill you, that you may experience the joy of living life with a brand new heart!