It’s fine to pray for safety and blessings, but what if you want more? What if you desire power from the Holy Spirit, strength from heaven, unshakable faith, genuine intimacy with your Father?
Instead of just asking God to keep you safe, give you more, and protect your life, you may have to ask God to break you.
When I think about praying this prayer, “Lord, break me,” I think about the experience Amy and I once had in our small group. On a blustery, cold Wednesday night in January, we sat around a warm and cozy room with seven or eight other couples talking about this exact dangerous prayer.
We agreed we all wanted to pray it—and mean it—but couldn’t deny being afraid of the consequences. The first woman who spoke took the possibility seriously but acknowledged her struggle. A loving wife and mother of four, she had followed Jesus faithfully since she was a sophomore in high school. She served in the kids’ ministry at church, tithed faithfully, helped foster children, attended a weekly Bible study, and often volunteered to pray out loud in groups.
But when confronted with the option of asking God to break her, she refused. “Sorry, but I’ve got to be honest,” she said. “I don’t want to ask God to break me. I’m afraid of what will happen. I’m a mom with four kids. I love them too much. Asking God to break me is simply too scary for me to ever pray. What if I get sick or depressed or pulled away from my family?”
Most other people in the small group nodded in agreement.
But my question then remains the same for all of us today: what are we losing by clinging to our comfort?
What are we missing out on because we’re so committed to avoiding pain and discomfort?
Jesus said, “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it” (Matt. 16:25). Jesus isn’t inviting us to a life of comfort and ease, but one of surrender and sacrifice. Our highest desire shouldn’t be for our will to be done, but for his will to be done. And Jesus is inviting us to die to our own lives, so we can live moment by moment, day by day—for him. To leave our cozy living rooms and safe prayers in order to know what it means to be broken for the sake of others.
By playing it safe, we risk missing something far more precious than our security and comfort. We don’t realize what blessings might be on the other side of God’s breaking.
Luke said, “And [Jesus] took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me’” (Luke 22:19). Almost all Bible scholars agree that Jesus’ instruction to “do this” provides believers a way to remember, honor, and celebrate his death and resurrection. But some believe that Jesus’ “do this” also refers to how we are to live. What if Jesus wasn’t just talking about a ritual that we do occasionally at church? What if he was also inviting us to be broken and poured out daily? What if we had the courage, the audacity, the faith to pray, “God, break me”?
We don’t just remember Jesus during Holy Communion at church. We remember him in how we live our lives daily. Because Jesus’ body was broken, because his blood was poured out for us, we too should live daily for him, broken and poured out.
This may not sound appealing at first glance. Who wants to be “broken” and “poured out”? That sounds painful at best, and miserable at worst. But it’s in the giving of our lives that we find true joy. Rather than pursuing our will, we surrender to his. Instead of trying to fill our lives with all that we want, we empty our lives to make a difference in the lives of others.
True brokenness before God isn’t a one-time event; it’s a daily decision. Paul said, “I die daily” (1 Cor. 15:31). What does that mean? Every day, he chose to crucify his own desires so he could live fully for God’s. If you have the courage to pray this prayer, get ready. Get ready to know God, and be known by God, in a way you’ve not experienced before.
You can play it safe. But my gut is you want more than that. I choose different. I am a faith-filled, bet-the-farm risk-taker. I will never insult God with small thinking or safe living. If there are blessings on the other side of brokenness, then break me.
And that’s the memo.
By Craig Groeschel