Craig Groeschel - Break My Heart
The prayer that we're gonna look at today and I'm going to invite you if you have the courage to pray, to pray ever single day this week. Maybe the most dangerous prayer and I want to warn you, you probably won't like this prayer. Some of you, very likely, will refuse to pray this very dangerous prayer. It is not a common prayer. It is not an easy prayer. It doesn't match the normal safe prayers that many of us pray. It's not consistent with the, God should make your life easy version of Americanized, popularized Christianity. I like the easy prayers and it's okay to pray them.
I like the safe prayers, it's okay the pray them. God keep me safe, I wanna be safe. God bless me, I wanna be blessed. God help me have a nice and an easy day. I wanna have a nice and an easy day. Because the truth is, honestly, I don't wanna be inconvenienced. I don't wanna be interrupted. I don't wanna face any challenges. In other words, God if you really love me, give me a hassle free day with good food, green lights, nice people, well behaved kids, and no zits on the important days. God in the name of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit just don't let me have a zit on prom day whatever you do, if you love me, God. No zit on the front of my nose, right?
This prayer is not a safe prayer. It's one of the most dangerous prayers if you pray this prayer God will answer this prayer and you might feel frustrated. You will become more uncomfortable. Life may be harder. Chances are really good it won't be easier. I wanna invite you to join me in praying a dangerous prayer. Because following Jesus was never meant to be safe. The prayer that we're gonna pray this week is God, break my heart. Break my heart. Crush it, strip me of comfort, ease, and spiritual apathy.
I wanna warn you. If you pray this dangerous prayer God will answer it. And you may find yourself burdened and grieved and your heart aching over something that burdens the very heart of God. If you pray this prayer you might lose sleep. Your heart might start to burn with a righteous anger. You might find yourself doing things that other people don't really understand. And when you do, you might face spiritual resistance or opposition, or criticism, or even persecution. And in all your pain, and discomfort, and agony, you still can find joy when you will be blessed as your heart breaks over something that also breaks the heart of God. Oh, it's a dangerous prayer. Break my heart, oh God.
Today I wanna look, starting in the Old Testament, at the prophet Jeremiah. Jeremiah had a pretty unfortunate nickname. He's known as the weeping prophet. Please don't call me the weeping pastor. I don't wanna be the weeping athlete. I hope you don't wanna be the weeping teacher but he was the weeping prophet because his heart was breaking over the plight of the people as God's heart broke for them as well. To give you a little bit of the context of what was going on during the time of the life of the prophet Jeremiah. The people of Judah were rebelling against God. Rampant, complete rebellion. The leaders were abusing the widows. They were taking advantage of those who were poor. They would sacrifice, believe it or not, little children, babies, to the false God and God's heart was wrecked over the sinfulness of these people.
Jeremiah was aching on behalf of God. This isn't right, how can this happen? How can you claim to know and love God and still behave like this? Abusing people and mistreating those that are powerless. His heart was breaking and you can see it in Jeremiah chapter eight, verse 18 and 22. When the prophet says, my grief is beyond healing. There is no repair, it's so great. My grief is beyond healing. My heart is broken. He said, I hurt with the hurt of my people. I mourn and I'm overcome with grief. My heart is crushed. My heart is broken on behalf of the injustices of those who are abusing those who do not have the power to defend themselves to make things right. My grief is beyond healing, he says.
So Jeremiah did what he knew to do. And this guy preached some of the most fiery sermons in the history of the world. You can read them, when he preached, he preached fire. And he prayed, and he fasted, and he stood strong, he threatened, he did everything that he knew to do and things did not immediately change. And he said, my grief is unbearable. My heart is broken. Question, do you want that? Like, seriously. Because when I wake up I want the opposite. I just wanna go through the day and have no real big problems. I don't want anybody to flip me off. I don't want anybody to be rude. If I open the door for you, I want you to say thank you.
I mean, important stuff like that. I don't want any problems or heartaches, or grief. That's why it's a dangerous prayer. It's really a dangerous prayer. Break my heart. When I'm talking about something that breaks your heart I'm not talking about like, even a spiritual interest. Or kind of like a little thing that spiritually annoys you. Or a little, simple, good deed that you do every now and then to make yourself feel better. You know, like, I hate when I'm driving by and I see a homeless guy on the side of the road with a sign so, oh every time I see him I give him my loose change. I'm not talking about that. It's not a bad thing but I'm not talking about something at that level. I'm not talking about like, oh man I just hate when animals suffer.
So like, seven years ago we saw the most adorable little stray puppy and we took him home and oh he's so wonderful. I'm not talking about that. Good for your dog. Good for you that you like your dog but I'm not talking about something like that. Just a little annoyance. What I'm talking about is a gut wrenching burden that consumes your thoughts. That doesn't just let up. And it doesn't go away. It eats at you, gnaws at you, consumes you until you simply cannot not act. You have to do something because the pain just burns inside of your heart.
And honestly, when you get to this place the feeling that you have on behalf of God is the opposite of everything that popular culture programs you to want. It's the very opposite of the feel good version of Christianity that says, God exists for you. God exists to make your life better. To take away the pain to fill you with blessings and ease and prosperity and comfort. It's the opposite of, this is the year of abundance! It's time to multiply, increase, you're gonna accelerate! If you can see it you can be it! If you can name it! It's time for you to be blessed. I don't even know how to do it, but work with me. Give me some time, the weekend's still young by the end.
Okay. God wants ya blessed. Blessed coming in and blessed going out. What if, God's greatest blessings come from God's greatest breakings? What if? What if the very, most special blessings from God come on the other side of the pain that moves you out of self to care about people on his behalf? What if the greatest blessings are actually on the other side of the greatest breakings? What would happen if God really broke your heart for the things that break his? What if God blessed you with a heavenly burden, a divine burden, a holy hurt?
I don't know about you, I like comfort. I like luxury, I really do. I like a nice hotel room while you like camping. I don't understand camping. I really don't. I like shampoo that smells good. I like soft wash clothes. I like someone to change my bed. I like a nice swimming pool, I like a sauna. I like comfort, a lot. The problem is, comfort never once moved me to action. I never became so comfortable that I thought, let's go change the world. Comfort just seems to beget more comfort. Bring me room service, baby because my hair smells so good right now. I like luxury, I really do. But more luxury in life never shook me to care more about those who were suffering.
I don't like pain. Oh, I don't like pain. My feet hurt all the time. I got the most whacked up feet. If you looked over at me before I preach I'm in my socks. I put my shoes on right before I go out because I don't like pain. I don't know why I told you that. If you see me in my socks, that's why. I like pain free days, but pain free days never made me more like Christ. What does pain do? Pain purifies. Suffering strengthens. Trials actually make you more like Jesus and teach you to depend on God. Break my heart, oh God. It's a dangerous prayer. It snaps us out of our self centered pursuit of comfort and ease. It's a dangerous prayer. You can see those who's hearts were broken all over scripture.
Moses, he watched again and again as a young boy as the Egyptians cruelly beat his people. Until one time he just snapped and he carried that burden in his heart for decades until years later God called him to stand before the most powerful man in the world and with a heart breaking from the pain of the plight of his people he said, let my people go. David, little shepherd boy. The whole nation's at war. And his dad says, take some crackers and cheese to the real men on the front battle lines.
David walks up and sees the war's at a standstill because a great big giant named Goliath seems too big to defeat. But Goliath made a big mistake. He was making fun of God and the people of God. David couldn't stand that. Something broke in his heart and he stood up and said, who are you to come against the armies of the living God? Everyone else thinks you're too big to defeat I say you're too big to miss. Somebody give me a sling and some stones.
Nehemiah had a relatively comfortable life with a slightly high risk job. He lived in the palace and all he had to do was taste the wine and make sure it wasn't poison. Anytime it wasn't poison it was a good day. And he heard some bad news about his extended family, his people. The walls were broken down. They were vulnerable to any sort of attack. They had no support system, no identity, no sense of self worth. They were vulnerable every moment of the day and it crushed him to the point where he couldn't physically stand. And he fell to the ground and he cried, and he prayed. And he put his own life at risk and begged the king, may I go?
And he went back. Not a builder, no experience in construction and somehow figured out to arrange a most miraculous sense of construction and stood before the people and said, fight for your families. Fight for your homes. Fight for your wives, fight for your husbands, fight for your sons, fight for your daughters because his heart was broken. It moved him out of comfort. Jesus wept over Jerusalem. They don't know my peace that's available to them. It broke his heart. There's the New Testament theologian, Popeye. Popeye the sailor man. Who lives in a garbage can. Who fights to the finish because he eats his spinach.
He's Popeye the sailor man. Popeye had a babe of girlfriend. She's a traffic stopper. Olive Oyl. Anytime Brutus would mess with Olive Oyl, what'd he do? He'd say, that's all I can stands. I can't stands no more. Some of you, you're gonna get to that point. When you pray it, and I dare you to, break my heart. God will break your heart. He will shake you out of your continual pursuit of comfort. He will stir you with a divine burden that you simply can't ignore. And when you're heart breaks one day, you won't be able to hold back. That's all I can stand.
My bride and best friend, Amy, is in this service and I remember when she started praying a similar prayer. Break my heart. And God did. Suddenly Amy just was consumed with thoughts about women coming out of brokenness. Women escaping addictive lifestyles. Those being released from incarceration. Those who've been victimized, abused, in human trafficking. Not knowing who they were. Coming out of all different types of abuse. The burden became too much. So prompted by God she started a ministry called, Branch15 which has now grown into multiple homes across the state of Oklahoma. If you can imagine. Seven staff members of the Most Highly capable leaders. Now rescuing women, helping them rebuild their lives, become reconnected with their children.
What if God's greatest blessings were on the other side of our greatest breakings? Some of you may say, ah this is awesome! I can be like Amy. I've kind of got this burden so I'm gonna go start a 501-C3. I'm gonna have a website, it's gonna go great, I'm gonna be an influencer! Hashtag blessed, okay. Let me tell you about her journey. It was months of aching without clarity. Heart being crushed without clear direction. Praying, fasting, investigating, asking questions, going one way, trying another and then after time there was clarity. God's calling us to open up a home. Problem, we can't find a home. Couldn't find the right one. Months of this is it, no it's not. This is it, no it's not. Finally God opened the door. Who's gonna lead it? Is it this person or that person?
The first few years were filled with great expectations followed by crushing disappointments. A couple steps forward, three steps back. Mistakes, hurt people. Women who found sobriety and got sucked back into the lifestyle they were trying to escape. The right leader, remove that leader. Replace that leader. It's been full of ups and downs, highs and lows. Times to rejoice and time to cry. And the realization we're helping maybe 40 or 50 women at a time right now. And the heart wrenching reality that there are tens of thousands that we cannot reach. Break my heart, oh God.
Listen to me, when you pray this prayer get ready to ache, get ready to hurt. I don't know what will break your heart. It might be the plight of the unborn. It might be for little children in your community that can't read. It might be for the racial injustices that haunt so many people. It might be to get clean drinking water to some parts of the world where there are dozens of children that will die in a village today. It might be for those who are trapped everyday in financial bondage. It might be for children in our state that don't have a loving home.
It might be for those who are suffering from mental illness or those who trapped in addictions and don't know how to get out or those who are recovering from infidelity and unfaithfulness in marriages and don't ever know if they can love or trust again. It might be for teens that are cutting or live daily depressed or don't have good parental influences or those who are addicted to pornography. It could be that you serve every single week at Switch because your heart breaks for those teens who need life in Christ.
When you pray this prayer your heart will break. And when it does I want you to thank God your heart is breaking. I want you to thank God in heaven that on behalf of him you care for those he cares about because most people think it's easier not to care. It's better not to hurt. It's better not to get involved. I hope you'll understand, that it's better to hurt with a purpose than it is to exist without one. You thank God when he moves you. You thank God when he calls you. You thank God when he breaks you on behalf of him.
The Apostle Paul was like this in the New Testament. Oh, he was kinda what you might call a false convert. He was religious but he didn't know Christ. He didn't have a personal relationship. So he bragged on his experiences. He bragged on his religious attributes. He said, in Philippians three, he said I was circumcised on the eighth day. I was of the people of tribe of Benjamin. I'm a Hebrew of all Hebrews. I followed the pharisaical laws, 613. I led a very righteous life. When he came to know Christ, not religion, not rules, but when he had a relationship what he said is, I consider all of that loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ. It's a loss, it's nothing, it's garbage.
In fact, little secret, can you handle this? Don't think like a fourth grade boy because what I'm about to tell you, you may laugh at if you have fourth grade boy in your mind. When he said, I considered all loss. The Greek word actually means like, dung, D-U-N-G. Poo-poo, that's what he said. I consider it all crap. Compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing the freedom of life in Christ. And that's why. Paul said this in Romans nine. Watch as he wants you to know. Believe just how much he cares about what he's about to declare. He says, with Christ as my witness I speak with utter truthfulness. My conscience and the Holy Spirit confirm it. In other words, if you don't believe me, Christ is my witness. I speak from the heart with truth. My conscience and the Holy Spirit tell you this is true.
Then he says, my heart is filled with bitter sorrow and unending grief for my people. My heart is breaking for the very things that break the heart of God. My heart is filled with bitter sorrow and unending grief for my people, my Jewish brothers and sisters. He says, I would willingly be cursed, cut off from Christ if that would save them. This is how much I love them. Christ is everything to me, but if I had to spend eternity without him just to help those that I love know him I would be forever cursed. Listen, it is a dangerous prayer. When you pray it your heart will break. You may hurt and you may hurt alone.
Sometimes people look on from the outside and say, man, you got a great life. I do have a lot of great things in my life. I've got a great marriage and we kiss a lot. I love my kids and they love Jesus. I've got great friends, a great support network. But I am miserable all the time. All the time, like, all the time, like all the time. It doesn't go away. I hurt for those of you who think you have life in Christ just because you attend church every now and then. But all you have is a head understanding and your heart's never really been transformed. I grieve for those who are far from God. Longing for something to fill the void from things that can never fill the depth of the spiritual void that only Christ can fill.
I hate when Christians are bound up in legalism and rules and laws that make them mean and critical of other people. And miss the beauty of the grace and the love of God. My heart breaks for those who are in bondage to the addictions that I've seen crush families, even my own before the power of Christ set people free. I hate when you think real meaning in life comes from the emptiness of the things of this world and you never really discover that the gifts that you've been given have been given to you by God to be used for his glory in the church and as the church in this world. Break my heart, break my heart, break my heart, God for what breaks yours.
And when he does, tell him you're thankful for that pain. Because everyday you'll be driven by a higher calling. By a heavenly purpose. Not just to pursue your own selfish lust and desires but to reflect the glory of a God who's heart broke for you so much. That he gave his own son that you could experience his grace, his goodness, his forgiveness, and his life. When he breaks your heart, thank him, thank him. That your heart breaks on behalf of something that breaks his. Because when you pray this dangerous prayer, and it is, it's dangerous. He'll wreck you, but I promise you, it is so much better to hurt with a purpose than to exist without one. It's a dangerous prayer, but following Jesus was never meant to be safe.
So father we ask that by the power of your spirit you would just do some wrecking, God. Wreck our hearts. God, break us out of our comfort, our pursuit of ease, our spiritual apathy, God. God I know that there are a lot that will be unwilling to pray this prayer. For those who do, God, I thank you in advance that on the other side of the greatest breakings, God, they very likely will experience the greatest blessings of hurting on behalf of what hurts you. And making a difference in this world reflecting the goodness, the grace, the power, the love, the mercy, of your son Jesus.
At all of our churches today, I don't wanna see every hand up because I know not everyone will mean it. If you're serious, I can't stress it enough, it is dangerous, I promise you. I hurt every day. It's a dangerous prayer. At all of our churches those who say, yeah, break my heart. I want my heart to break on behalf of something that breaks yours. Would you lift up your hands courageously right now?
God thank you for faith filled followers of Jesus. Ready to abandon a life of comfort to follow you in faith. God I pray for grace to sustain them. Because God, I know they're gonna hurt. God, I pray for patience as they attempt to represent you and are faced with opposition. God I pray for the mercy to carry them when they do something and it fails. When they're misunderstood. When they take two steps forward and get pushed back three. God, I pray that in their weakness, when they recognize they can't do it on their own and they feel like they never, ever will that your strength will be enough for them. God, I pray for the wisdom not to try to attempt to solve world problems on our own. But to join those who are already doing what you're calling us to do. To partner together. Lifting up the name of Jesus. Reflecting the burden that you put on our heart to truly make a difference in this world. God, break our hearts please. Break our hearts, God, for the very things that break yours.
As you keep praying today here's what I want you to know. For some of you, God's heart is breaking over you right now, you. Because he loves you, he loves you. And you don't yet know him. His heart was so broken that he sent Jesus. Who is Jesus? He is the Son of God who never, ever sinned. He was perfect in everyway. He loved those that religion rejected. Jesus was faithful all the way to the cross and became sin, in our place, died, and our God raised him from the dead so that anyone, and this includes you. No matter what you've done, it doesn't matter how bad your life has been, anyone who calls on his name would be saved. Saved from your sins, saved from your mistakes but not just saved from but also saved for. Saved for a life of joy, a life of godliness, a life of ministry, a life reflecting the love of God.
At all of our churches today those who say, yes, I need that, I want that, I turn from my sins. I turn toward Jesus. I don't wanna pursue my own desires, I wanna follow him. Jesus, I want you to be my lord. I surrender to you. Today I turn from my sins, I turn toward you, Jesus. I give you my life as your prayer. Lift your hands high now, all over the place and say, yes Jesus. I surrender right back up here, praise God for you. Others of you today say, yes Jesus, I surrender. Lift up your hands and say, I give my life completely to you. Up here, praise God for you. Others today, I surrender, Jesus, be my lord. Search online, you click right below me. If you would today, at all of our churches, just stand to your feet in honor of those today calling on Jesus as savior. Would you pray aloud with those around you. Pray:
Heavenly Father, forgive all of my sins. Jesus save me, fill me with your Spirit, so I can serve you in all that I do. Break my heart by what breaks yours. Show your love through me in this world. My life is not my own, I give it all to you. Thank you for new life. Now you have mine. In Jesus' name I pray.