A couple of months ago my friend from church read Ezekiel 11:19 at our weekly prayer time. I found the wording in the New Living Translation to be especially impactful. When I got home, I added it to my list of verses that I have turned into prayers that I use during my devotional time. "Father, I ask for myself and my loved ones that we will not have stony and stubborn hearts but that our hearts will be tender and responsive to You, Your Word and Your Spirit. In Jesus' Name. Amen" It occurred to me that if our hearts are tender and responsive to God, then all the other things we may pray for a person, that they would be saved, that they would walk in obedience to God, that they would walk in God's will, would happen naturally. A heart that is tender and responsive to God is naturally yielded and obedient to Him and His ways.
Since then, day after day I have been praying this simple prayer, praying it over myself, our family and loved ones, and our church family. What surprised me was how God began to work in my own heart in such a tangible way. I can only describe it by saying that I can feel myself being tenderized. In my morning quiet times I have been feeling God's presence especially near and sweet. I've been sensing His leading as I pray, and feeling His heart for those I am praying for. He has taken me to a new level of forgiving others and praying for those who have hurt me. My time with God has been richer and sweeter, and I am sensing that same tenderness spilling over into my relationships with others.
When I first started praying that verse, to be honest, I was thinking more about the benefit of praying it for others. But God, in His goodness and lovingkindness, knew just what my own stony, stubborn heart needed.