“God puts a great price on humility of heart. It is good to be clothed with humility as with a garment. It is written, ‘God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble’ (James 4:6). That which brings the praying soul near to God is humility of heart. That which gives wings to prayer is lowliness of mind. Pride, self-esteem, and self-praise effectually shut the door of prayer. He who would come to God must approach the Lord with self hidden from his eyes. Humility is a rare Christian grace of great price in the courts of heaven, entering into and being an inseparable condition of effectual praying. It gives access to God when other qualities fail. Its full portrait is found only in the Lord Jesus. Our prayers must be set low before they can ever rise high.” E. M. Bounds
Walking in humility is essential for those who want to touch the world through prayer. While traveling in India, I was touched very deeply by the humility I saw in the Christians. They were clothed in humility with a remarkable beauty. Now God is reminding me over and over again to pray, “Lord, give me a humble heart.” None of us can change the world unless we have a humble heart and unless we walk in the very humility in which Jesus walked in. He became nothing and emptied Himself.
Jesus, we don’t really understand the depths of humility you walked in while here on earth. Am I willing for that? He died an agonizing death for you and me. Am I willing to go through pain, misunderstanding and brokenness for Him as He for us? I was so challenged by the poor in spirit that my outlook on life has been radically affected. I want that spirit of humility that I see in them. May God give us a revelation of how very important humility is for effective intercession.
“For this is what the High and lofty One says, He who lives forever, whose name is holy; ’I live in a high and holy place, but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite'” (Isaiah 57:14-15).
“For everyone that exalts himself shall be humbled, and he that humbles himself shall be exalted” (Luke 18:14). Pride is the big “I” of self. What is brokenness and humility? It is the painful, humiliating, “Not I but Christ,” “not my will, but Yours be done.” You and I can choose to walk in this most wonderful spirit. We only have to ask and pray, “Lord, give me a humble heart that I might fear Your name. Clothe me in Your robe of humility, and take away all that does not please You.” Let God touch your heart deeply as an intercessor, so that Jesus may clothe you with this beautiful gift of humility and that through that humility, He may release powerful prayer for all the downcast, poor and broken-hearted around the world. We must lay hold of this key.
The Beauty of Humility
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death, even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2:3-8)
The Path to brokenness – What does God do to break us?
- Brokenness comes when we are confronted with the living word of God – Jesus is a stone to make men stumble. He who falls on this stone will be broken. “He who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces, but he on whom it falls will be crushed.” (Matthew 21:44)
- Brokenness comes through pain and suffering, but brings forth character – Paul’s thorn in the flesh is a good example of this. “Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance, character; and character, hope.” (Romans 5:3)
- Brokenness comes when we see where our own way has taken us – “I know my transgression and my sin is always before me” (Psalm 51:3-5). “My sins are more than the hairs of my head. My heart fails within me.” (Psalm 40)
The Wise Actions of Brokenness – What does a broken person look like?
- He doesn’t defend Himself – He trusts God to defend. “Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord. On the contrary: ‘If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.'” (Romans 12:19-20a)
- He is ready to be honest about himself – “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (I John 1:8-9)
- He quickly admits that he has sinned – Pride will deny that there is the possibility to sin (the Pharisee and publican). “Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight.” (Psalm 51:4a)
- He is ready to make restitution – “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.” (Matthew 5:23-24)
- He is convinced of his inability to serve God on his own – He realizes his dependence on prayer and seeking God’s face. He knows that he can do nothing without God. “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:8)
The Blessings of Brokenness – What does brokenness produce in us?
- It manifests true humility – “You do not delight in sacrifice or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” (Psalm 51: 16-17)
- It brings spiritual fruit – “I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.” (John 12:24)
- It brings healing – “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” (Psalm 147:3)
- It brings us closer to God – “The Lord is close to the broken-hearted and saves those what are crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34:18)
“In humility there is the total absence of pride, and it is at the very farthest distance from anything like self-conceit. There is no self-praise in humility. Rather, it has the disposition to praise others. ‘In honor preferring one another’ (Romans 12:10). It is not given to self-exaltation. Humility does not love the uppermost seat or aspire to the high places. It is willing to take the lowliest seat and prefers those places where it will be unnoticed. Humility does not have its eye on self, but rather on God and others. It is poor in spirit, meek in behavior, lowly in heart.” E. M. Bound