Prayers that Changed the World: “May my Heart be Broken” by Bob Pierce

 By: Lemuel Sandoval

Have you ever wondered if there are things that break God’s heart?

Perhaps because of traditional theological education it is hard for us to think that God’s heart can be broken. In any case, we might think that the sin we commit breaks and saddens the heart of God. But is there something else that breaks the heart of God?

Bob Pierce (1914-1978)[1],  who, by the way, studied at Pasadena Nazarene College, was doing missionary work in Korea during the 1940s. There he discovered what it is that breaks the heart of God when he was immersed in poverty, suffering and orphanhood. On one occasion he came across an abused and abandoned little Chinese girl. Bob decided to donate his last five dollars to a missionary to take care of the girl, promising to send five dollars each month. On the flap of his Bible, Bob wrote a short but powerful prayer:

 “Let my heart be broken by the things that break the heart of God.”

The world is full of injustice and poverty, and they do not go unnoticed. Surely you know a neighborhood in your city where people suffer from hunger, illness, violence, and all kinds of deficiencies. That is not what God envisioned when He made Creation good, and very good.  In fact, in His laws He ordered that the foreigner, the widow and the orphan be taken care of (Deut. 10:17-19; 24:19-22). The prophets also accused the people of having sinned by not doing justice to those who needed it (Is. 1:17, Zec. 7:10). But the most powerful statement is when Jesus warns that what we do to care for the most needy and vulnerable we do to Himself (Mt. 25:40). What the Lord is doing is identifying Himself with those who suffer injustice. That is, Jesus breaks with those who are broken.

When we pray that our hearts “be broken for the things that break the heart of God,” we are really asking that we be sensitive to other people’s suffering, so sensitive that we act on their behalf. That broken heart caused Bob Pierce to found World Vision, where he served as president until 1967. Three years later, Pierce created Samaritan’s Purse, and both organizations have literally impacted hundreds of millions of people worldwide. To this day, many other men and women with broken hearts continue to sponsor children in extreme poverty and send humanitarian aid where it is needed.

As long as God’s heart is broken by the world’s evil and suffering, our hearts need to continue to be broken as well.

[1] [1]World Vision, Our History

Samaritan’s Purse (20209 ‘Let My Heart be Broken by the Things that Break the Heart of God’

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