The Secret Petitions of the Heart
Psalm 37 vs 4 carries a curious addition in the Amplified translation. It says, 'Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He will give you the desires and secret petitions of your heart.'
Over the last ten or more years, through personal experience, I have come to understand that ‘secret petitions’ exist on two levels. There are petitions of the heart that only God and you know about. Secrets you have never divulged to another, but beyond this there is a deeper level where petitions of the heart exist that you and I have not yet discovered. They are still a holy secret. Let me explain by way of a personal story.
It was 2009 and I was sat in church waiting for our evening service to begin. Music was playing over the speaker system in the sanctuary and I was sat alone, quietly singing along and praying in tongues and just generally entering into the presence of the Lord. It was during this time I felt the Spirit quickening a scripture reference in my spirit. I picked up my Bible and turned to Isaiah 38 and began to read the story of Hezekiah’s illness. I reached verse five and couldn’t go beyond. The Lord was saying, “I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears.”
Now at this time I had gone through a divorce and was beginning to rebuild my life. I had cried out to the Lord that I wanted another chance in marriage. I didn’t want to end my days with this failure hanging over me. I wanted an opportunity to prove to myself and to Him that I could live as a husband and love a wife as the Bible teaches. This became my main petition to Him, so when I heard this statement saying ‘I’ve heard your prayers’ I knew instinctively what He was referring to. What baffled me was the tears. So, I asked of Him a question that dramatically changed my heart and the direction of my life. ‘Lord, what tears?’ Instantly I was surrounded in church by four children and I knew who they were.
During the course of our marriage my wife terminated a pregnancy on medical advice. To this day I believe the doctors were wrong, but our Pastor at the time told me to stay out of it, and it was none of my business. My wife also miscarried twice. So, I was aware of three children, but in church there were four and yet I knew they were mine. They were of varying ages but in that moment I broke down and wept uncontrollably. Service was yet to start! Some people came and offered comfort and the sight of these children lifted but the brokenness and grief I went through stayed a while.
Throughout the worship and the service, the Holy Spirit ministered His comfort to me, and the Lord continued to speak from Isaiah 38 vs 5. It wasn’t an audible voice, but it was as clear as day in my Spirit that I heard the Lord make a promise to me, ‘I will add family to your life.’ A few days later I messaged my ex-wife and asked her about these children and how old they would be now if they were with us. The first would be such an age, the second such an age and the twins would be so old. It was at this point I discovered my wife lost twins. She had never disclosed that before and there was the confirmation of what I had experienced in that service.
This revelation changed my attitude and direction toward my walk with God. I was broken for a while but what emerged was a much deeper cry. In my own understanding I had petitioned God to be a husband, but He broke through on a deeper level that I would cry out to be a father too. I did ask Him why and again through scripture He said, ‘because like Abraham, you will teach your children after you.’
So why share this? Because you and I are no different. There may be areas in your life where you are crying out to God and yet it seems no answer is coming forth. We’ve all been there or are there now. It is commonplace amongst the body. I want to suggest that maybe, just maybe it isn’t answered yet because God needs a deeper cry for more from you. Maybe, there’s a petition He desires for you to cry but you don’t know it even exists. I didn’t! Children weren’t on my radar. Eleven years on they are a deeper cry than the cry for a wife. I’ve researched adopting children as a single parent because the desire sits deeper than anything else I’m aware of in my heart. Maybe there is something deeper in you that needs to be drawn out. Deep does call unto deep.
I also suggest if you are in a place of brokenness, grief or weeping that a deeper cry is emerging and if you can’t see the reason for it now, you will as healing comes. Our tears are collected and stored in heaven. They don’t escape our Father’s attention. He takes His artistic brush, dips it into them and paints a bigger canvas of beauty for our lives.
Wherever you are right now, I encourage you, stay in the process and delight yourself in the LORD. Only God is capable of filling a broken heart with His heart. You are His canvas, and His canvas is a work in progress. Let Him finish before you pass judgement on your situation.