Summary: Praying for Spiritual Awareness means praying to have a tender heart that is ready to respond to God immediately. How can we Cultivating a Tender Heart Toward God?
PRAY FOR A TENDER HEART
The times of the Bible Kings were times of heard heartedness toward God - often filled with immorality, idol worship, rebellion.Manassah - For 55 years ruled harshly over Judah – a reign of evil and terror (2 Kings 21). During his reign the streets of the capital were awash with blood from one end to the other. Amon - When Manassah died, his son became King at age 22. His ways were evil in even greater proportions (2 Chro 33). In just two short years Amon was so hated and despised that his own servants plotted to murder him in the palace. Amon’s untimely death at the hands of his servants created a circumstance where his 8 year old son became king. His name was Josiah.
Josiah was much different from his father and grandfather.
2 Kings 22:2 He did what was right in the Lord’s sight and walked in all the ways of his ancestor David; he did not turn to the right or the left.
Josiah had great leadership qualities. He had interest in repairing the Lord’s temple. He was interested in seeking the Lord at 16 years. (2 Ch 34). In his 20s he began to act upon his spiritual interests. He had people working for him that he trusted - and who were faithful to him. During the repair of the temple, Hilkiah the high priest discovered the book of law. How far did Judah have to fall that the law of God was discarded and hidden; a lost relic!
When the book was read in the presence of the king, it sparked an immediate response. The king tore his clothes and sent an message to a prophetess named Huldah who lived in Jerusalem. Huldah informed them that their land was on the brink of disaster because of idolatry. She also sent a message of grace to the king:
“Because your heart was tender and you humbled yourself before the Lord when you heard …and because you have torn your clothes and wept before me, I myself have heard … I will indeed gather you to your fathers, and you will be
gathered to your grave in peace. Your eyes will not see all the disaster that I am bringing on this place.” 2 KI 22:19-20
Josiah made a commitment to keep the commands of the Lord with “all his heart and with all his soul”. The people he led agreed to follow his lead. Josiah goes about demolishing all indications of idolatry and observing the Lord’s Passover for the first time in many years.
2 Kings 23:25 Before him there was no king like him who turned to the Lord with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his strength according to all the law of Moses, and no one like him arose after him.
Praying for Spiritual Awareness means praying to have a tender heart that is ready to respond to God immediately. How can we Cultivating a Tender Heart Toward God?
1. A Tender Heart Receives the Word of God
Josiah received the Word of God when he heard it. Judah had neglected God’s Word so completely that it was buried under the rubble in a neglected temple. Josiah opened up his heart to hear and receive what was read in his presence. He sent to a prophetess to explain and give him the information he needed to follow God’s path.
Other leaders who encountered God turned away. Exodus 5:2 Pharaoh responded, “Who is the Lord that I should obey him by letting Israel go? I don’t know the Lord, and besides, I will not let Israel go.” How many in our world respond to God’s Word in that way? What about in the church? What about us?
If we are to keep a tender heart toward God we must not just read / hear but receive the word.
James 1:21 Therefore, ridding yourselves of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent, humbly receive the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.
2. A Tender Heart Resolves to be Humble Before God.
Josiah tore his clothes and cried out to God - not a very regal action for a King. At that moment he recognized two things: He recognized his status before the King of the Universe. He recognized his sin before a Righteous God. Humility requires us to see those same two things. Humility says God is Greater and I am Dependent. We like to be independent and overlook our sin. Only when we recognize our dependence and the reality of our fallenness before God can we know the power of humility.
Psalm 51:17 The sacrifice pleasing to God is a broken spirit. You will not despise a broken and humbled heart, God.