For several months now, I've had a growing desire to focus my mind and heart in deeper ways on ... prayer. Over the years, I have collected many verses on prayer, choosing to call them my HEART CONNECT verses. For that is what I think prayer is ... connecting our hearts to His, in response to His heart of love for us.
And there is so so much to learn and grow in. I have especially been longing for ways to connect more deeply to His heart in praying for others ... for our growing family, and then also for others, and for our hurting world. Do you grow weary sometimes, as I do? I find it hard to keep my heart and mind focused. Each of us operates in our own unique ways, even as we pray. And I am learning of some new ideas that are helping me.
Since I have a collection of verses on prayer already, I am choosing to go a bit deeper with these verses. One way to do that is to do a WORD STUDY with each verse. I came across a source that is very helpful with this process. This source explains about Bible Verse Mapping, or WORD STUDY as I refer to it. I've learned from this helpful source, ordered their Digital Verse Mapping Journal, am using the main ideas, and also adapting these ideas for my own use.
As I was focusing on a verse from my collection, Psalm 17:6-7a (pictured above), two of the words I chose to look into deeper were "unfailing love". For as we talk with Him, pour out our hearts to Him, we are communicating with Someone whose love is unfailing, never-changing. Looking deeper into these words, I discovered the Hebrew word from which "unfailing love" derives from ... hesed.
Can we even imagine all that this word encompasses? "Hesed is not merely an emotion or feeling but involves action on behalf of someone who is in need. Hesed describes a sense of love and loyalty that inspires merciful and compassionate behavior toward another person." (online source)
Hesed is 'wrapping up in itself all the positive attributes of God: love, covenant faithfulness, mercy, grace, kindness, loyalty - in short, acts of devotion and loving-kindness that go beyond the requirements of duty'. Hesed is translated in a number of different ways: steadfast love, mercy, kindness, and goodness. (online source)
As we pray,
as we pour out our hearts to Him,
this is the God who hears us.
This describes our God, this is who He is, what His character is ... He is bound to us with unfailing love, mercy, compassion, kindness, goodness, loyal, and not in word only but acting on our behalf. Always.
"Used nearly 250 times in Scripture, in such a powerful manner that some theologians have suggested it may be the most important word in Scripture, hesed is the forever covenantal, always unconditionally, unwaveringly loyal, kind love of inseparable bonding, of divine family, of eternal attachment. That's what hesed-love is: Hesed is attachment love." (Ann Voskamp, in Waymaker)
This is the God who hears our prayers, our cries for help, and listens to and holds the deepest longings of our hearts. I, personally, can hardly even grasp the realities of this; our greatest gift, to be loved so deeply by our Creator, our God. And I am drawn in, pulled close, desiring to be in continual communication with this God.
To read more of my 'Heart Connect' posts: