What We Should Pray For – A Broken Spirit and A Contrite Heart


So far into our excursion into What Should I pray For?, we have seen a consistent concept. God wants to have fellowship with man, but through man’s sin, fellowship with God is consistently broken. Isaiah puts it this way – “But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.” Despite that, God repeatedly pursues man offering him another opportunity to renew his relationship with God. Whether in 2 Chronicles 33 or 2 Chronicles 36 or in any other part of the Word of God, there is one constant that enables man to renew his relationship with God: A Broken Spirit and A Contrite Heart. This notion is explicitly stated in the Word in several places.

Psalm 5:16-17 

16 You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;
you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.
17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart,
O God, you will not despise.

Isaiah 57:14-16

14 And it will be said:

   “Build up, build up, prepare the road!
Remove the obstacles out of the way of my people.”
15 For this is what the high and lofty One says—
he who lives forever, whose name is holy:
“I live in a high and holy place,
but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit,
to revive the spirit of the lowly
and to revive the heart of the contrite.
16 I will not accuse forever,
nor will I always be angry,
for then the spirit of man would grow faint before me—
the breath of man that I have created.

Isaiah 66:2

2 Has not my hand made all these things,
and so they came into being?”
declares the LORD.

   “This is the one I esteem:
he who is humble and contrite in spirit,
and trembles at my word.

The Apostle Paul conveys the same concept to the Corinthians. He had written them a letter. On the surface, it appears that what Paul said made them sorrowful. Here Paul distinguishes between godly sorrow and worldly sorrow. Hear the Word of God.

9 yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us. 10 Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. 11 See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done.

Paul says that “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death”. What Should We Pray For – A Broken Spirit and A Contrite Heart. We see repentance in all verses referenced today. Paul clarifies it further stating that when our spirit is broken and our heart is contrite – godly sorrow – we repent and that leads us to salvation. Salvation from our rebellion against God. Salvation from the consequence of being separated from God to the point that He hides His face from us so that He will not hear. That’s no fellowship. The Reformed Study Bible says it this way: “Turning from sin, a sincere decision to forsake a specific sin (or sins) and begin to obey God. Here, the term does not specifically refer to initial repentance that must accompany true saving faith (Mark 1:15Acts 3:1917:3026:20), but to a turning from sin in the life of a Christian.” “Salvation” here means not initial conversion, but growth and progress in the Christian life. Ordinary Christian growth will include times of profound sorrow for remaining sin. Worldly grief is defined as regret and sorrow of different kinds that do not seek forgiveness in Christ. Just feeling bad but there is not desire to reconcile ourselves to God.

Remember, none of our lives are hidden before God. He sees it all. God wants us to respond to His rebuke with A Broken Spirit and A Contrite Heart. This is the remedy to overcome our separation from God caused by our sin. Seek Him while we can.


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