Spiritual Journey

Examine Me and Know My Heart

Risky prayers. Can prayer really be risky? Is it supposed to be? Any conversation we have with an Almighty and holy God should never be business as usual. An encounter with God should be life-altering and soul-shaping. Most of the time our prayers are fairly casual and safe. “Help me.” “Bless me.” Protect me.” “Give me…”

Risky prayers have consequences. They stretch me and grow me. They change me and change my life. They align me with God’s purposes and bring the adventure, fullness, and results in my life thatGod intends for me. If you really pray these risky prayers, you and everyone your life touches will be impacted because you personally have taken the risky challenge and opportunity to meet with God.

Message Notes

Prayer is risky business.

Risky prayers have consequences.

Three Kinds of Risky Prayers:

  1. Confessional Prayers allow God to breathe into your life and reveal what is hindering your growth and usefulness.

  2. Transformational Prayers allow God to give us insights that shape and mold us.

  3. Missional Prayers align us with God’s purposes.

David prayed a risky, confessional prayer:

Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
Point out anything in me that offends you,
and lead me along the path of everlasting life.
Psalm 139:23-24

Search my heart. Show me what is not right.

Pray it. Listen for God to speak. God will draw near and will show you things that are not right—not to condemn you, but to draw you close.

Uncover my fears.

What I fear the most reveals where I trust God the least.

Expose my sins.

Show me anything that is inconsistent with your truth.

What have others been trying to tell me?

What have I rationalized for some time?

Where am I most defensive?

Lead me in the way of everlasting life.

A life that pleases you, builds others, gives me treasure that will not decay, and no regrets.

Bottom Line

The truth sets me free. My heart protects and deceives me; God tells the truth.

Next Steps:

  1. Find a quiet time to spend with God and pray this prayer. Write down what God says.

Dear God,

Examine me. I want to see in me what You see in me.
Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
Point out anything in me that offends you,
and lead me along the path of everlasting life.
Psalm 139:23-24

I need your grace. Help me find my identity in you.
Amen
— Risky Business Prayers - Examine Me

2. Acknowledge and confess the wrong things he shows you.

3. Ask the Holy Spirit to convict you immediately when you drift away so you can live a lifestyle of repentance.

Finding Freedom | Get Up and Go

No one was born to be a slave. Yet slavery takes many forms, and oppression has many flavors. We all have experienced it. It can take only a moment to set a slave free from a slave owner, but years to get the slavery out of the person. Turns out, freedom is a long term work, and it comes from the inside out. Jesus has created a way for us to be truly free. Outside and in. You can find freedom from all that enslaves you

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1

Moses and the people of Israel tried everything else first before they got the courage to head for freedom. We find ourselves in the same position. But our freedom depends on us wanting to be free deeply enough that we trust God to meet us as we go.

Message Notes

Moses and the people of Israel tried everything else first before they got the courage to head for freedom. We find ourselves in the same position. But our freedom depends on us wanting to be free deeply enough that we trust God to meet us as we go.

The strategy God chooses to use every single time he invites us to confront our bullies is whatever we have.

Then the Lord asked him, “What is that in your hand?” Exodus 4:2

Confrontation is key to freedom.

Afterward Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘Let my people go…’”Pharaoh said, “Who is the Lord, that I should obey him and let Israel go? I do not know the Lordand I will not let Israel go.” Exodus 5:1-2

You’ll be tempted to choose compromise over confrontation.

Exodus 5:19-23

Fear is the currency of oppression. If you participate in fear, you will either oppress or be oppressed.

Moses spoke to the people: “Don’t be afraid. Stand firm and watch God do his work of salvation for you today.” Exodus 14:13

The only thing that will drive out fear is perfect love.

Perfect love drives out fear. I John 4:18

You will only get up and go to freedom when you believe God will be with you.

God answered, “I will be with you.” Exodus 3:12

Bottom Line

Coming to the end of ourselves is the first step to freedom—don’t be afraid.

Action Steps

  1. Are you in a situation where there is seemingly no good way out of the mess? Are you stuck? Are you working outside your ability to pull off goals and control situations? Name them.

  2. What do you fear? Name it.

  3. Get up and GO. Actually give an invitation.

Finding Freedom | It Gets Worse Before It Gets Better

No one was born to be a slave. Yet slavery takes many forms, and oppression has many flavors. We all have experienced it. It can take only a moment to set a slave free from a slave owner, but years to get the slavery out of the person. Turns out, freedom is a long term work, and it comes from the inside out. Jesus has created a way for us to be truly free. Outside and in. You can find freedom from all that enslaves you

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1


It’s amazing what pain can do—pain wakes us up to our slavery and can make us willing to unlearn the ways of Egypt (our slavery) and agree with God about who we are. But the grip of Egypt is not easily released. Freedom has to come from the inside first. 

Message Notes

Exodus 2:1-10

The pain of slavery is deep within us all.
But we have grown up learning to mask our symptoms.

Pain is intended to wake up us to our situation and to God’s love.
Pain is intended to be redemptive.

Exodus 2:11-21

Moses tried to bring freedom his own way, and he failed miserably.

Before Moses could become the deliverer, he had to unlearn Egypt.

It took a whole lot of pain, desert, and empty for him to unlearn the ways of slavery.

Years passed, and the king of Egypt died. But the Israelites continued to groan under their burden of slavery. They cried out for help, and their cry rose up to God.God heard their groaning, and he remembered his covenant promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He looked down on the people of Israel and knew it was time to act.
Exodus 2:23

The God of Abraham invites us to empty ourselves, and learn the way of freedom.

Bottom Line

It’s amazing what pain can do—and it always get worse before it gets better.

Action Step

  1. Identify areas of pain in your life where God might be trying to wake you up.

  2. Identify what you need to “unlearn” in order to leave slavery behind you?

  3. Say the prayer from your heart several times a day:

    “God,
    help me set aside everything I think I know
    about myself, my brokenness,
    my spiritual path, and especially You,
    so I may have an open mind
    and a new experience of freedom.
    Please let me know the truth.
    May it set me free.
    Your will be done.
    Amen.”

Finding Freedom | The Ultimate Exodus

No one was born to be a slave. Yet slavery takes many forms, and oppression has many flavors. We all have experienced it. It can take only a moment to set a slave free from a slave owner, but years to get the slavery out of the person. Turns out, freedom is a long term work, and it comes from the inside out. Jesus has created a way for us to be truly free. Outside and in. You can find freedom from all that enslaves you.

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1

The Israelites forgot who they were and settled in, exchanging their values slowly but surely for the values of Egypt. For years they thought this was life, and didn’t realize they had become slaves. This is the story of our lives as well. We were created for freedom, but we will always return to slavery unless we remember and hold onto our identity.

Message Notes

How slavery starts

The story of the Exodus (“the going out”) is covered starting in Genesis 47 through the first five books of the Bible.

Slavery is a tricky business. Many people who are trapped in its grip don’t even know it.

“Meanwhile, the people of Israel settled in the region of Goshen in Egypt. There they acquired property, and they were fruitful, and their population grew rapidly.” Genesis 47:27

We were created for freedom, but we will always return to slavery unless we remember and hold onto our identity.

Freedom is a long-term, inside out work.

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1

Guard who you are in Christ.

Watch your values.
Stand firm.

Action Steps

  1. Consider your values over the past years.
    How have you seen values change around you?
    Have you slowly bought into something you should not have?
    Where are you tempted to trade in your identity and “settle in?”

  2. Take a “Who I Am In Christ” card, and affirm it daily (or follow the link below). Let it shape your lifestyle.

Bottom Line

We were created for freedom, but we will always return to slavery unless we remember and hold on to our identity.