A Prayer for the Brokenhearted
By Jessica Van Roekel
"The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit." – Psalm 34:18, ESV
You could hear her heart breaking. She tried to muffle her sobs, but her body shook. What she longed for had never been granted. Every day she prayed. Every month she hoped. Every year she begged. But her womb remained empty. Her arms ached to hold a tiny bundle of joy, but all she held was a broken heart.
One year on her annual visit to the temple, Hannah's wordless prayers caught the attention of Eli, the priest. He accused her of drunkenness, but when he discovered the reason for her anguish, he told her a child would be born to her. She had a son and fulfilled her promise to give him back to the Lord. God would be near her then as he was before.
Has a broken heart ever rendered you without a voice? Have you ever been so broken you had nothing but silence to give? In those moments it is easy to despair. Loneliness fools us into thinking we're the only one who has ever had a broken heart. But God draws near and brings us hope.
Hope is to trust, to wait for, and to endure. Our circumstances attempt to distract us into thinking hope is a change in circumstances. It's easy to think that if our circumstances change, then hope will return. But we find our hope in the personhood of God. He is everything we could ever hope for, and he promises us his presence.
Joseph was separated from his coat of many colors and his father's love by his jealous older brothers. He was sold as a slave, ran a household, thrown into prison where he ran that too, and finally was put in charge as second in command to Pharoah. What did he hope? In being remembered by a fellow prisoner for interpreting a dream? In his dad sending out a search and rescue team? No, his hope was in God alone.
Three times in Genesis 39 it is written "God was with him." It doesn't say Joseph turned his back on God or that he tried to fix his problems or that he hoped in a change in circumstances. God was with him even in his broken heart. Later in Genesis 45, we get a glimpse into the depths of his broken heart when we read how his sobs reverberated beyond the walls of the room. Through it all, Joseph remained faithful to God and God drew near to comfort him with his presence.
The disciples were another group of people who knew a broken heart. They watched Jesus die a horrific, painful death on the cross. They saw him struggle to push himself up the roughhewn log to gasp a breath only to sink down again bearing the weight of his body through nail pierced hands. They witnessed the world turned dark as night and felt the earth shake. They heard him commit his life to his father and their hearts shattered. Their hopes and dreams of an earthly kingdom lay broken at the base of the cross.
When Jesus rose from the dead three days later to defeat death, they remembered his promise to always be with them. In John 14, Jesus promised a Comforter to teach them and to be near them. At Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came, and thousands of people surrendered their lives to his Lordship. The disciples never again doubted Jesus' presence in their lives.
He is our Comforter today. It is through the ministry of the Holy Spirit that we can know God's comforting presence when our hearts lay shattered at our feet. We can know the power of God's presence just like Hannah, Joseph, and the Disciples knew the nearness of God in their most devastating moments. God is near the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. We do not have to remain broken but can hold our broken heart out as an offering to the One who was broken on our behalf. He draws near us and brings us comfort.
My heart is so broken I don't know that it can ever be made whole again. The pain makes me feel so alone and I don't know if I can face one more day. I know you hear my cries, even if it feels like you don't. Draw near me and let me feel your presence. Help me look beyond my broken heart and look for you. I'm grateful you are with me and for your promise to never leave or forsake me.
In Jesus' name, Amen
Photo credit: ©Getty Images/eternalcreative
Jessica Van Roekel loves the upside-down life of following Jesus as she journeys to wholeness through brokenness. As an author, speaker, and worship leader, she uses her gifts and experiences to share God's transformative power to rescue, restore, and renew. She longs for you to know that rejection doesn't have to define or determine your future when placed in God's healing hands. Find out more reframingrejectionbook.
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