King David was “a man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14; Acts 13:22). But later in life, he learned that he could not trust his own heart. He knew from painful failure that even though things may appear healthy on the outside, there can be disease within. So, David did three important things:
1. He asked the Lord to examine his heart.
Psalm 139:23-24 Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting .
It takes courage to open our lives to the scrutiny of the “Heart Surgeon.” But it is worth it as it leads to our hearts being cleansed, healed, liberated, comforted, and changed.
· I wonder, have you ever had the courage to invite God to examine your heart?
· How long has it been since you allowed God to perform heart surgery?
· When was the last time you asked God to reveal where bitterness has taken root, or where selfishness and pride have begun to block the life of God from flowing through you?
· When did you last ask God to search your heart of rebellion, anxiety, fear, greed, envy, lust, or worldliness?
2. He confessed his sins to God.
Psalm 51:1-2 Have mercy on me, O God, according to Your unfailing love; according to Your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.
Sin is unconquered until it is uncovered. Heart cleansing prayer is refusing to deny your sin before God. It is uncovering your sin and confessing it so that God may grant you mercy and give you victory over it.
3. He accepted forgiveness
The goal is not to be crushed by guilt. It is to help you experience a deeper level of joy (Psalm 51:8,12) and a higher level of passion (Ps. 51:10,12).
After we confess our sins, God “is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). When we “confess and renounce” our sins, we “find mercy.” (Proverbs 28:13). Psalm 51 tells us that when we confess our sin, we can experience “the joy of our salvation.”
It is not enough to ask God to examine your heart and point out sin. It is not enough to confess that sin. We must also accept God’s forgiveness of that sin. The word “forgive” essentially means “to cancel a debt, delete an offense, and to wipe the record clean.”
God is merciful. He wants to forgive us. God is also just. He must punish sin. But He is able to forgive us because of the sinless blood of Jesus paid for our sins. (1 Peter 1:18-19).
When we sincerely confess our sins, God looks at the price Jesus paid so we can be forgiven, and says it was more than good enough. He declares that we no longer guilty.
I want to encourage you to get alone with God and ask the Holy Spirit to search your heart for potentially cancerous sins. Confess those sins to God. Accept His forgiveness.
Adapted from 28 Days to Powerful Prayer, Barbour Publishing, 2019