Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.

Psalm 139:23 NIV

In Psalm 139:23, the psalmist invites God to do a full “search” of his heart. He longs for God’s searching eye to be on him.

Do we long for God to “search me and know me”? Or would we prefer to be overlooked and stay hidden?

Radical honesty to this question can change our lives.

How? By leading us to repentance!

Psalm 139:23

“Search Me and Know Me” as a Prayer of Repentance

Martin Luther wrote: “When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said ‘Repent,’ he intended that the entire life of believers should be repentance.”

When God searches us, finds our anxieties and sins, we have the chance to turn FROM them, and TO him.

By inviting God's gaze, we will experience his grace, because it's his kindness that leads us to repentance. Click To Tweet

Today’s Psalm gives us an incredible chance to pray this with our children. Because one of the best things we can teach our kids to do is repent. And if you’re like me, GOOD NEWS!!! You’ll get A LOT of opportunities to teach them.

One of the simplest ways to do this (other than modeling it to them with our lives) is in prayer (like in Psalm 139:23).

Here’s how we can get more consistent with this.

At nighttime prayer, we can help them confess sin and repent. Teach them to have soft hearts toward God by allowing our own hearts to be the softest.

So, instead of just asking for stuff (health, good dreams, etc), we can lay out our sin together before the Lord, turn, and run the other way.

Here are some questions we can ask in prayer alone, or with our kids:

  • God, I invite you to see every part of me. Will you please show me where I am running away from you?
  • Lord, what am I worried about (or scared of) because I’m not trusting you?
  • Father, where did I choose not to follow you today?

…and then hopefully have a night free from bad dreams about hyenas from the Lion King or the lava monster from Moanna…

That’d be just swell 🙂

Pray for God to search you and know you, then repent of the sin that’s revealed. And teach your kids to do the same!


Today’s devotion by Jordan Loftis, author of The Men With Bare Feet and host of The Bible Better Podcast.