A Guided Meditation to Keep Your Heart from Wandering

A Guided Meditation to Keep Your Heart from Wandering

Do you ever wonder why you can recall banal song lyrics from your youth, but can’t remember why you’ve walked into the family room? I’m learning from this affliction that if I want to commit something to memory or form some sticky habit that’s important to me, I really have to work at it.

I woke up Sunday morning with a song from the 70s cycling through my brain. The Carpenters’ close harmony carried the lyrics, and it was “yesterday once more,” quite literally, because Saturday, my husband and I had been listening to oldies in the car.

Meanwhile, my recent reading (and review) of Richard Foster’s new book, Learning Humility, planted a brief but meaningful prayer in my brain–and I wanted it to STAY there:

Purify my heart,
Renew my mind,
Sanctify my imagination, and
Enlarge my soul.

Learning Humility, 143

I wanted to be able to call the prayer to mind for lingering over with a cup of Typhoo, the words an anchor to guidance or repentance, a tether to truth to keep my heart from wandering. Certainly, there’s no “magic” to getting these words right, any more than Jesus intended for us to be shackled to the words of his model prayer. However, I wanted to use them as an outline for my own, individual expression to God.

And the words just would not stick…

Do you ever wonder why you can recall banal song lyrics from your youth but can’t remember why you’ve walked into the family room? If I want to learn something or form a sticky habit that’s important to me, I really have to work at it.

Learning Humility Cooperating with God

A Guided Meditation for You… and for Me!

I’ve scribbled the four parts of this prayer for humility onto a bright yellow Post-it, and have carried it around in my planner. I’ve popped into my blog post for a look at the peaceful image of the teacup and the prayer just to refresh my memory. And now I’m going to pull in some related Scripture passages and spend some time with you in prayerful contemplation, using this short prayer as an outline for a guided meditation.

In case it would be helpful to you, I will make this guided meditation available in printable form at the end of the post.

Will you join me in this prayer for humility?

Lord Jesus, I invite you to…

Purify my heart

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.”

Psalm 51:10 ESV

You know, Lord, that my motives are always mixed at best and pride lurks around every corner. Even so, I know that you can plant seeds in me that produce the peaceable fruit of righteousness. I’m trusting you to do your work in my heart so that I look for the good in others, serve you with right motives, and kick myself, by grace, out of the center of the universe.

Renew my mind

Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.”

Colossians 3:2 ESV

Lord, help me to attend to “things that are above” with the same ferocity and focus that I invest in worrying and perseverating over the “things that are on the earth.” Remind me of your faithfulness and enable me to make good choices about where my thoughts go, because I know that faith itself is an extension of knowledge. Teach me how to live each day with my heart anchored in what I know about your record of faithfulness–in Scripture and in my own story.

Sanctify my imagination

For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

Hebrews 4:12 ESV

I need your true Words, Lord, to purify my own. I need solid truth to winnow out the fluff that sneaks into my brain from the context of culture. You know how I have defined “goodness” in terms of productivity and “flourishing” in terms of a life without obstacles, but I invite you to change the labels in my brain. Help me to imagine holiness as the ultimate good and to value whatever process you choose in bringing that about in my own life and the lives of the people I love.

Enlarge my soul

Your steadfast love, O Lord, is as great as all the heavens. Your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds. Your justice is as solid as God’s mountains. Your decisions are as full of wisdom as the oceans are with water. You are concerned for men and animals alike.”

Psalm 36:5-6 TLB

It’s cramped in here sometimes, Lord. I’ve got room for me and my people–and most of the time, room for you, but I’ve drawn my boundaries small and safe. You’ve drawn yours with all the wide spaciousness of grace. All of creation attests to the vastness of your provision, the depth of your forgiveness, and the faithfulness of your love. Show me how to live in such a way that the bookends of “already” and “not yet” inch a bit closer here on earth, as it is in heaven.

And we pray, as always, in the name of Jesus,


If this meditation has been helpful to you and you’d like to save it to your device as a PDF, print it for use later, or share it with others, simply click on Download or the Printer Icon in the image.

Holding you in the Light,

“Lord Jesus, I invite you to purify my heart, renew my mind, sanctify my imagination, and enlarge my soul. Amen.” #LearningHumility #RichardFoster @ivpress @renovare

How Will You Come Close to God in the Days Leading up to Easter? (Here’s a FREE Resource to Help…)

February 22 is Ash Wednesday, the day on the church calendar that ushers us into Lent and our pondering of Christ’s great work on the cross. Every year, I appreciate this work of the heart that prepares me for a true celebration of resurrection on Easter Sunday.

As a gift to my newsletter subscribers, I’ve created a collection of 20 devotional readings called Come Close to the Story. If you’re already a subscriber, just sit tight and it will land in your email inbox on February 16, the Third Thursday of the month.

If you’re not already a subscriber, this Lenten season I invite you to join me for a daily pause—most readings should take five minutes or less—to come close to the story. In your busy life, remember that Easter is on its way. Affirm your belief in resurrection power, and then admit that without a death, there would be no resurrection.

Every month I send a newsletter with biblical encouragement straight to my subscribers’ email inboxes. Frequently, I share free resources, and the newsletter is where everything lands first. I’m committed to the truth that women can become confident followers of God and students of his Word, and it’s my goal to help you along that path.

To add this free resource to your pursuit of biblical literacy and receive access to Come Close to the Story in time for your Lenten observance, simply enter your email and then click on the button below…

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Ash Wednesday is a day to grow in our understanding of where to take our struggle with sin.

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4 thoughts on “A Guided Meditation to Keep Your Heart from Wandering”

  1. Yes! I love this, and thank you so much for letting the Lord use both your writing skills and His work in your own life/family to help us out here.

    Today I am 59 & 364/365. Tomorrow I celebrate the Lord’s faithfulness to bring me to 60 and that much closer to Heaven. I don’t think I’ve ever been this thankful for a birthday. “Thus far the Lord has helped us” and He will continue. The outward man is perishing; the knees are bad, the back is wonky, the face is wrinkled, the veins need repairing . . . But the inward man is being renewed day by day. Your writing is a part of that renewing. Thank you again!

    Love & prayers, Judy



  2. My youngest son and I have been learning about these memory gaps through this psychology books these past couple of month and while I don’t always agree 100% with the experts I do find it so utterly fascinating how our brains work and how we both process and remember bits of information.


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