Do You Pray for God to “Break” You?

broken_vaseSomeone was telling me about this a while back. Praying for God to break him.

“What do you mean by that?” I asked. “And where is it in the Bible?”

He was probably taken aback by my questions, and didn’t know the answer. He just prayed it because other people did.

Oh, please hear my heart on this one. I’m all for people asking God to work in their hearts, to turn their hearts more to Him. I do it all the time myself.

But I don’t believe anyone in the Bible asked God to break him or her, and I don’t believe we have any instruction to ask for that.

He is not the Breaker. In fact, HE is the one who was broken for you!

I told my friend, I believe if we ask that, we’re asking Him to do something that’s contrary to His nature.

Mark 14:3 is one Scripture people sometimes use to support the idea of our needing to be broken: “And while he was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he was reclining at table, a woman came with an alabaster flask of ointment of pure nard, very costly, and she broke the flask and poured it over his head.” But this ointment represents Christ Himself, the one who was broken for us, in our place.

good_shepherd1He is not the Breaker. He is the Rescuer, the Healer, the Restorer. Psalm 34:18 says, “The Lord is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

People are broken when they “turn every one to his own way,” as Isaiah 53:6 talks about, and they stumble in places they shouldn’t have been or even fall over cliffs. Isaiah 65:14 says, “My servants will sing out of the joy of their hearts, but you [the ones who do not follow Me] will cry out from anguish of heart and wail in brokenness of spirit.”

People are also broken by other people, by thoughtlessness, carelessness, neglect. Or by evil. (One friend wondered why she should ask God to break her when wicked men in her life had done just exactly that. I told her she shouldn’t—she should ask God to rescue her.)

If we say, “Break my heart for what breaks Yours,” then that’s using an idiom to ask for our longings to be aligned with the Lord. David’s heart was broken over his own sin, and God received him. Psalm 51:10 and 17 say, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.”

Even if they ask for their pride or their wills to be broken, that’s not so bad. But what seems strange to me is that people are saying we should ask God to break . . . not our hearts, not our pride or wills, but break us.

He just doesn’t do that.

I think when people ask God to break them, what they’re really asking for is a change in their hearts, a change in their wills, their desires, their emotions. Turning to the heart of God.

So I told my friend that instead of asking God to break him, he can ask God to change his desires to align with His will. One of the joys we can find in Christ is the joy of changed desires. We can come to Him confidently asking for this, and expecting it to be answered.

We can expect to grow in true holiness, which is more and more treasuring what God treasures and despising what God despises.

I talk about this aligning of desires a good bit more in Untwisting Scriptures,  in the section telling you not to give up your rights.

Our Savior has no interest in breaking you—He’s already been broken for all of us. I hope you’ll be able to hear that, especially if you’ve been abused.

Instead, He wants to heal you and restore you. He wants to hold you and keep you. He wants to turn your heart to Him.

This is sanctification . . . this is what it means to walk in the Spirit. As we look to Him in faith, He accomplishes the progressive turning of our desires to be more and more aligned with His. (Breaking might happen because of our own mis-aligned wills or the evil of others, but He won’t be the one doing it.)

The psalmist said, “One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple.”

That’s a joyful request all Christians can expect to be answered. He wants to restore our hearts to Him.

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lisa
lisa
6 years ago

great!!

Shary Hauber
6 years ago

Not only does God not break us he doesn’t even condemn us when we sin. He doesn’t bring terrible things into our lives to show us how bad we are. What he wants is for us to relax in his arms and learn how much he loves us. My Mother was an example of this. When a two year old threw a terrible temper tantrum she picked him up and held him close. He screamed and fought as she calmly held him. When he would pause in his screaming she would say I love you. She never told him to stop his tantrum she just held him. The beauty of seeing how her love won, as after awhile he turned and I said “I love Tanta”. That is how I see God treating me. His love is unconditional even in my tantrums.

Brenda Linn
Brenda Linn
5 years ago

Oh thank you so much for voicing these truths.

So many times, after suffering the terrorism of the abuse in my marriage, I would sit in church, hungry for gentleness, kindness and healing. Instead, I would hear sermons and songs talking about God breaking, crushing, consuming and burning me up.

I remember sobbing in ‘prayer’, “God, are YOU abusive too?! Is that how you treat me?!”

God is NOT abusive. He is my Healer, my Defender.

He has used Jeremiah 29:11 hundreds of times to affirm His goodwill toward me.

Carmen Appleby
Carmen Appleby
8 months ago
Reply to  Rebecca Davis

I’m leaning that !

Carmen Appleby
Carmen Appleby
8 months ago
Reply to  Brenda Linn

This is how i felt too ! I perceived that I had been mistreated in some vague way as a child and had a lot of self pity about it…So am glad to learn God isn’t like those people who offended me or hurt my feelings. I guess it’s the same kind of thing!

I don’t yet feel able to repent of my part in !y childhood issues but I do like to embrace the idea that God just waits patiently for us to come to Him.

I’m a strong willed very proud woman and it would not suit me to be conde!ned or criticised my God

Because of my sinful hatred towards my own father in perceiving him as bad in what he did to !e I could not relate to God as a loving father

I rejected my own father as I hated loving father figure types and this caused me to be unable to see God as a loving father and to be full of fear and shame and terrified he would crush me like a bug! I

I know I haven’t turned from my sins yet as I’m not ready to repent of all that pride as self will and casting myself as the victim but I have been born again so I know He loves me

As a child I used to think He hated me. I could see His face scowling at me in anger and disgust as young as seven years old. He could see the filth in me but the faith I was brought up in was about salvation through keeping the Law.

So I’m learning to believe the dialectic that even with all !h sin which I have yet to overcome and be set free of He still loves me!

He loves you too! I know how hard it is for you as I have been there!

!much love!

Viviann Harvey
4 years ago

THANK you!
At age 70 I am still stuck in place arguing against this deadly teaching of penal substitution; less than most of my life, but still it is hard.
Good reasoning and teaching is SO helpful! <3 Thank you!

Ginette
Ginette
4 years ago

Hello!
I’m writing worship songs in my language (swiss german) and had a line about asking God to break my heart in it.
I asked a friend to look through the song and check it for theology and she pointed out this line to me. I googled it and found this article, which is very helpful.
In my language it’s not very common to ask God to break our hearts. But I think through the influence of English songs it made its way in my prayers and in my song without me really thinking about the words thoroughly. It’s exactly how you said: What we really want to ask, is for God to align our heart with his will.
I’ll try to find a different line for my song!
Thank you very much for this article!
ginette

Madeline Hill
Madeline Hill
3 years ago

Asking god to break us is the same thing as him healing us. “Create in me a clean heart” is a very popular psalm and I think that means in Order for God to do that, he has to break us first. He has to take away the things we find comfort in, the things we THOUGHT we were relying on him for. He has to take those things away, the sin, in order for him to create a clean heart and heal us. Brokenness is not a bad thing, though it may seem like it in the moment, it is a way in which we can learn to rely on God completely!!! So yes I DO think it is bibical and right to say God break me!!!

Richard
Richard
1 year ago
Reply to  Rebecca Davis

Is that sarcasm Rebecca ? I agree with Madeline : it is around asking God to gift us with true repentance because our deceitful hearts don’t go there easily. Read Psalm 51.17 : God looks for a broken spirit and a contrite heart heart. It is in scripture.

Patsy
Patsy
9 months ago
Reply to  Rebecca Davis

Rebecca, This post may be five years old, but the message in the Bible that you speak of is timeless. I just finished a devotion about asking God to break us, and He does not do that. Thank you for bringing this to light and nd challenging this false teaching.

Carmen Appleby
Carmen Appleby
8 months ago
Reply to  Rebecca Davis

My heart isn’t tender

Since the age of 7 I had a bitter angry heart I hated men hated God etc

When I was a 15 year old I went to a youth camp and there was this lovely woman there. She was so kind to me and actually spent time with me and seemed interested in me which was a new sensation .

She prayed for me that God would break my heart . She meant so well but I felt profoundly distressed when she prayed that because I had a problem with self pity and believed in some vague way I had been mistreated a lot in !y life. My mantra in life was “it’s not fair! I deserve better than that!” I hated my father and all men, not even consciously but like a very very deep rooted thing inside. For some reason I was a child who found it hard to trust love or gratitude. So I had this attitude I had been broken by my parents in some way! so I understand what Brenda means

I think I feared God would control me somehow if I submitted to Him.

I do find the bible difficult . I was born again in my 20s but in my 40s I have trouble with the concept of God being someone who expects so much. The other day someone was telling me about self care and self compassion being a sin and to always put others first and I really felt my flesh rising up in rebellion . I do wonder why God punishes cowards in hell, too because I always was a coward. I had night terrors, OCD, anxiety attacks since age 7 as well as separation anxiety. I didn’t ask to have those things but it see!ed like God would punish me for them

I already felt mistreated and punished and hated discipline as it see me to do with fear and shame . And I hate anyone shaming me ! I am v proud , and shame is like kryptonite to me.

I re!ember Sunday school and children singing about Jesus love and realising i wasn’t loveable. I had an angry and bitter heart and was a v resentful self pitying little girl. Why would someone clean and lovely want me? I wasn’t one of those innocent kids. I knew things I shouldn’t have at that age and knew I was dirty . In was 7 and already full of rage and hate for the world . I even hated my own father and he was a committed Christian .

I a m struggling to repent of my s in of self pity and I am weeping as I type this

I a m constantly praying for the holy spirit to work a miracle in my heart but I just don’t feel ready to give up my tears just yet because the grief feels so real to me. I find it hard to accept my own role in my issues as a child and teenager and in.my present life

I think a lot of !y anger is the bible’s representation of women and how a wide must submit to her husband! I didn’t want to be like my mum who ended up a drudge always walking on eggshells to keep from getting harmed

I did see a deliverance minister who told me I needed to repent of my victim mentality and to stop seeking psychotherapy for my CPTSD and BPD because these things are demons. He warned me that if I didn’t do that then demons would destroy my brain with Alzheimer’s and my body osteoarthritis and stomach issues.

I did try and repent o f those things but have not yet succeedes!

Another minister told me the devil was lying to me about my childhood and putting false memories on there of abuse and I needed to repent

I tried but I don’t know how het!

I’m born again and have repented of other sins and was baptised in water and with holy ghost. I know I have the holy spirit inside me and can do anything but this wicked spirit of rebellion and pride in me just won’t leave me!

Patsy
Patsy
9 months ago
Reply to  Richard

Yes, meaning that our hearts are broken because of our sin. We are crushed with disappointment in ourselves. And He lovingly comforts us and woos us back to Him.

Joe hernandez
2 years ago

So many people are pushing the prayer for God to break them, Even some constantly crying in abnormal rite. So I did a search on the prayer. The only verse they use is the one you clarified: a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” Then they say, “See God will not despise us and He will not cast us out if we pray to be broken.” This is universal, generational, irrevocably the truth. But He does say it any where to pray that the Father wouldn’t despise us or pray that He wouldn’t cast us out. Or pray that we would be broken so that we could be accepted and I despised. On the one hand, It’s best to be quiet around defenders of this practice. They will become extremely angry and offended.

On the other hand, after a lengthy study on the beatitudes I’m convinced that the blessing, good and adventurous life belongs to the poor in spirit. But what this means is you and I are submitted and ever yielding to the Holy Spirit and the service of the local church.

Finally, a horse that is broken is worth more. And a children of the Father who are forever yielding and humbly submitted are more useful

becca
2 years ago
Reply to  Joe hernandez

Broken in referring to a horse means a horse that has lined up its will with its trainer’s will. Good trainers never “break” a horse to the point that they have to put it back together. A horse submits its will.

Val
Val
2 years ago

I always thought that when you ask God to break your heart for what breaks yours means he will give you a heart after the lost, or ill, or suffering for their faith etc and it moves you to pray for those people and practically help too?

becca
2 years ago

Thank you for sharing this!

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[…] About suffering in an abusive marriage . . . I recommend three of my posts: “In which I have a small argument with a Puritan about suffering,” and “Does God crush you like a rose to make perfume?” and “Do you pray for God to ‘break’ you?” […]

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Pat
Pat
8 months ago

Thank you, Rebecca! For years, after I was saved, the Christians that surrounded me were obsessed with their need to be broken by God, so that they could be mightily used of God. I always thought was, and, is,a cruel and nasty view of God. God saved me, healed me, and loved me.

Joshua Black
Joshua Black
8 months ago

Wow. I really swallowed the kool-aid! Thanks for exposing these lies!

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