When you read of Jesus weeping over
Have you ever prayed “I’ve had it with them” prayers? When we stay in the presence of God long enough, we’ll begin to catch the heart of God for the difficult people in our lives, and soon we’ll be weeping for them instead of wanting vengeance. There is little hope of nursing a heart of vengeance if you are engaging in a viable prayer ministry. A heart for people is developed on your knees.
The secret of a heart of compassion is a secret prayer life that no one else knows about. What are you and God secretly doing together? Are you talking to Him regularly about all the people who are lost and without a Savior or could you care less? You don’t grow compassion in public; you grow it on your face before God in the secret place.
Not long ago I spent some time asking God to show me an area of my devotional life in which He wanted me to grow. Unmistakably the answer came back, I want you to care.
“But I do care, Lord,” I remonstrated. “I spend every living moment attending to your work.”
Where are the tears? He asked me quietly. I had no answer because I had no tears. It was time to let Him do His work in me in the secret places of my heart.
If there are no tears, I will not be putting my life on the line. I will not be taking risks, pushing boundaries, attaining heights, taking new initiatives, I will not be giving my life away for others. There will be no late-night candles burning at both ends because people are dying without Christ. Lamentations 3:22 says, “His compassions never fail.” It doesn’t say they “sometimes” fail but that they “never” fail!
Compassion moves you from the comparative safety of your own home into the marketplace of the world to shout out the message of hope from the housetops. Compassion gets you off the evangelical donkey and into the ditch or, if you like, into the trenches. If you are moved with compassion, you don’t ride past someone in trouble as the scribe or Pharisee did in Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan (Lk. 10:25-37). You get down from your high horse and attend to the one who has been robbed and beaten by thieves. We must not leave this sort of compassion to others. We all need to develop a heart for people.
The challenge for every one of us is to let God break our heart so that we begin to see the world as He does ─ and it begins with compassionate prayer.