"I ask for the grace to pray and meditate faithfully. I ask for patience, tolerance, empathy, compassion, and gentleness. I ask to abstain from anger, anxiety, arrogance, compulsive behaviour, cynicism, discouragement, and self-importance. I ask to know and follow Jesus more closely, seeking justice, loving kindness, and walking humbly."
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my thoughts.
24 See if there is any wicked* way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.
1) "...know my heart;" "...know my thoughts;" "...lead me in the way everlasting;"
2) These two verses always make me think of the Fourth Step in the Twelve Step Program: "Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves." I feel a tinge of excitement at self discovery, mixed with a tinge of anxiety for what I might discover. The Fourth Step seems somewhat presumptuous and arrogant to me... perfect past tense... as if one is ever finished such an inventory. I feel a sadness (and joy?) that the work is never done. The wisdom behind the oracle of Delphi, "Know thyself" is that knowing one's self is an eternal journey. If indeed we are made in the image and likeness of God, then how could we ever be done searching? So it's up to God. God doesn't need to be bidden to search or test, God is already there. But I need to ask. I need to become vulnerable and admit I need assistance. I need to want to know what is there to be found. I need to trust that what is to be found will displease me, but on the other side, there is awe and wonder. Do I really want God to know my heart? Do I trust myself to be "tested"? "Yes" and "No" both rise up in my heart as I ask those questions. I do trust God. I do trust Wisdom. I do trust prayer, mediation, and age old process. I do want God to know me, even if I'm anxious about knowing myself.
3) What is the invitation in all this? To breathe deeply and trust, to ask humbly to be searched and known, and to let God be God in me, even when that is painful.
"Holy One, know my heart. Lead me in the way."
Breathprayer: "Search me... know my heart."