Praying When Your Heart Fails

If you’re in a life situation where your heart has literally or figuratively failed, prayer can always help improve the condition of your heart as writer David Shelton shares in this life-altering article.  .

Listen to Your Heart

So…where are you sitting now while reading this?  Starbucks?  From the sofa in your one-bedroom apartment?  Maybe you’re sitting on a sofa in Starbucks reading this from your phone.  No matter who you are or where you are you will understand what you are about to read.  Why?  Put your hand on your chest.  Feel that?  That “thump, thump” is your heart pumping blood through your body.

There’s nothing quite like waking up to a racing heartbeat.  I mean, how could I sleep with my heart pounding in my ears like that?  I thought that my ear drums were being given a dangerous workout…especially since all I had been doing was taking my Sunday afternoon nap.  Then it happened; my heart seemed as though it pumped up and held for a second before pumping back down and continuing it’s rhythm.  Oh, that will scare you all right, and I was plenty scared.  I attempted to lay still and calm down…like that was going to happen.

As I write these words while seated in my son’s gaming chair in the family room (just to let you know where I am) I don’t feel 100%.  All I have to do is think about it and it seems as though I can feel my heart beat up and pause all over again.

The heart beat: the pulse of our very lives, monitored with two fingers on the wrist or neck.  Ninety percent of the time we pay no attention to the beating of our own hearts.  Most of us don’t pay attention until the beating gets louder or starts to fade.  My heart had my attention in very short order.

How very quickly my thought turned to “What if I die?”  There’s no question in my mind; I have satisfaction and peace that comes from knowing Christ.  I understand what the Apostle Paul meant when he said: “For me, living is Christ and dying is gain.” (Philippians 1:21 HCSB)  If I stay here, if I see my kids grow up and have kids of their own; if Kelly and I get to buy that house on the beach and watch sunrises and sunsets together for many years to come; if I am useful for His Kingdom here on earth, if all that takes places and God allows it then all will be for the cause of Christ.

If I die, well, that’s easy…I go home.  I will be whole.  I will be at peace.  I will be at rest.  That’s “gain” for me.

In today’s culture we are obsessed with eating health and exercise.  I’m sure that there will be necessary changes ahead for me, but my health does not come from a lack of exercise or eating good food.  This is my heart saying something is not right.

All of this had me thinking: what is the condition of my heart of hearts?  What does God say about the heart of man.  Here are a few of His thoughts:

The heart is more deceitful than anything else, and incurable-who can understand it? 
I, the Lord, examine the mind, I test the heart to give to each according to his way, according to what his actions deserve. 
(Jeremiah 17:9-10, HCSB)

Folks, this is God talking.  These are His words.  “The heart is more deceitful than anything else, and incurable…”  Wow.  Furthermore, God tests the heart and gives according to the heart of man.

How is your heart now?

Pressing forward…God spoke through King Solomon to pen these important words

My son, pay attention to my words; listen closely to my sayings. 
Don’t lose sight of them; keep them within your heart.
For they are life to those who find them, and health to one’s whole body.
Guard your heart above all else, for it is the source of life.
Don’t let your mouth speak dishonestly, and don’t let your lips talk deviously.
Let your eyes look forward; fix your gaze straight ahead.
Carefully consider the path for your feet, and all your ways will be established.
   (Proverbs 4:20-26)

The words of wisdom King Solomon was handing down to his son and, ultimately, all of us, have much to say. If we keep the words of wisdom from King Solomon they can be a source of health for our whole body.  A healthy heart is necessary to stay alive.  The heart is the source of life for the entire body.  No pumping heart, no living body.  The rest of the body is dependent upon the heart moving the blood to keep life moving.  Words of wisdom are healthy to a heart because stress can kill.  Words that build up are better for a heart, rather than words that tear down.

Why does Solomon throw in speaking our own words?  Jesus clears that up:

A good man produces good out of the good storeroom of his heart. An evil man produces evil out of the evil storeroom, for his mouth speaks from the overflow of the heart.  (Luke 6:45, HCSB)

Do you, dear reader, see how the two are tied together?  I explain this concept to my kids in this way: What we want to say or do starts in the heart, or the soul, and then goes to the brain which, in turn, instructs the mouth what to say or the body what to do.

Are you tearing down or building up?  Are you being torn down or are you building up?  As Jake Hess asked in the old hymn, “How about your heart?  Is it right with God?  That’s the thing that counts today.”  (Words by Bennie S. Triplett, 1954)

My physical heart needs some help.  My spiritual heart needs more and more of God and His mercy.

Right now we don’t know why my physical heart is acting up.  The doctors are doing their thing and I’m trying to take it easy.  My spiritual heart is getting equal attention.  What wisdom can I apply to my spiritual heart so that it is healthy and ready to serve when called upon by God in a given situation?

While I’m physically not able to go to work, I can take time to work on my spiritual heart so that my soul is at rest with God.  This will take some stress off of my physical heart.

How can we pray?  I believe by praying the Scriptures and making them words that we believe.

Join me as I pray:

“Father God, you have searched me and you know my heart.  You have examined my mind and you have tested my heart.  Lead me to have a heart and mind that runs after you.  May my heart be a storeroom of good, and may I speak words that build up.  Let your wisdom instruct me so that I may live a life according to Your purpose for me, that I may live long and run the race well.  For Your beautiful name I pray, amen.”

Copyright David Shelton 2012  All rights reserved