Everyone has a morning routine to jumpstart their day. A good prayer to pray every morning is Psalm 139:23-24. “Search me, God, and know my heart. Test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Praying Scripture is a sure way to know and do God’s will for your life. Let’s look at that Scripture and break each part down so it can be applied.
First, look how this verse says “me” or “my” not “them” or “her/him”. It brings the focus back to personal spiritual growth and responsibility. It is so easy to read Scripture on someone else’s behalf. “Search them, God. Test them. Change their offensive ways and lead them in Your way.” The best place to start prayer is by asking God to change you. Notice also this Scripture asks God to do the searching, knowing, testing, and leading. Only He knows everything and can truly guide your life. Sure, others will attempt to be all-knowing towards your life but God alone is the One from whom we should seek counsel and wisdom.
The verse begins with “Search me and know me.” It is interesting that the first verse of Psalm 139 already says, “You have searched me and you know me.” God already knows everything about you as evidenced by the rest of this chapter. He knows when you are awake, asleep, what you say, what you think, where you are. He even knew you while you were in your mother’s womb (v. 13). So if He knows you already, why are you asking him to do something He already has done? He knows everything about you, but you don’t. He knows the plans he has for us so we need Him to search us and see if we are on the right track. He knows our weaknesses and the motives of our hearts. We need God to show us where we are off and where we are right on.
Ask God to search your heart. Proverbs 4:23 says it is the well spring of life. Why search the heart? Jeremiah 17:9 says it is deceitful and desperately wicked. We may think we are doing the right thing but God always knows what’s in our hearts (Proverbs 21:2) and will bring our motives, intentions, passions, and sin to light. The word “heart” is used over 750 times in Scripture. God knows that’s where everything begins with us. Change our heart and it will change our actions, thoughts, and lives. God can give you a new heart (Ezekiel 36:26). The prayer moves from asking about the heart to one’s thoughts. We should not be anxious about anything but pray about everything (Philippians 4:6). This brings peace from God that will guard our hearts and minds (Philippians 4:7). We should think about whatever is true, noble, right, lovely, admirable, praiseworthy, and excellent (Philippians 4:8).
Next, we should, “See if there is any offensive way in me”. What a prayer! I sometimes don’t like the word “any” in this verse. It means all. “Offensive way” doesn’t just mean offensive to people. It really means asking God what is offensive to Him. What does He call sin? What would please Him first before I think about pleasing others? Lastly, the verse asks God to, “Lead me in the way everlasting.” Why is this last? You’ll never follow God or His commands with a wrong heart. Even if He told you, you would do it. You’ll always be defensive and have tons of excuses. Humility and submission to God is necessary to follow Him. God’s way is always best but we can’t see it sometimes because we don’t ask Him, sin is blocking Him, or we are too distracted with our own agendas. Trust God to lead you. Like Isaiah 58:11 says, “The Lord will guide you always. He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.”
Stephen and his wife Haley have called Arkansas home all of their lives. Stephen has served in several ministry roles over the last 25 years and as a lead pastor for the last 8 years. Stephen attended Williams Baptist College and earned a BA in Biblical Studies from Ouachita Baptist University, an MA, MDiv, and DMin in Christian Leadership and Pastoral Ministries from Liberty University. When not pastoring, Stephen enjoys running, cycling, reading, writing, camping, fishing, and spending time with his family.