When You Pray for a Heartbreak

March 18, 2012 | 34 comments

I heard the deep compassion in her voice, skimming through the phone.

“I know how tender your heart is, Jennifer, and I will pray that your heart doesn’t break too badly.”

I don’t know which of us was more surprised when these words tumbled out of my mouth: “Oh friend. Please pray that my heart does break. Pray that it hurts deep.”

Half of my two-faced heart winced when I spoke those words into the phone. Pray for a heartbreak? Really? Did I just say that out loud? But the spoken plea came from my heart’s better half, the part that knows this truth: radical obedience to Christ means risking a hurt heart.

One of my biggest fears in this life is that I’ll be content with lightweight Christianity that doesn’t require much of anything. If I get honest, it’s easy for me to stand up and shout, “I’m a believer!” Following Jesus? Count me in. Relatively speaking, my burdens are light, my freedoms are plentiful, my cupboards are crammed, my gas tank is full. Carry a cross? Yeah, sure. I can do that.

But let’s face it. If I want to avoid the pain of poverty, I can shut the door, turn off the TV, ignore the newscasts and never, ever abandon my own secure existence for the sake of my Savior. I can turn my back daily on Jesus. 

But what would it really mean to deny myself? Not just for a week in Haiti, but for a life?



It is just a week. But it’s still a week. And I want my heart to break for what breaks His in the next 168 hours. And then, I want it to break terminally after that. I want more of my two-faced heart given over to Jesus. I need to touch the poor, need to run my fingers along their bony shoulders, need to hold their swollen-bellied babies.

I need to see how Jesus poses daily as the poor. 

And then I need to NOT forget.


Sure, I’ve been immunized. I’m taking malaria pills every morning with toast, and I’ve felt the pinch of the shots in the flesh. But I don’t want to be cured of the pain crushing down on my fellow man. I don’t want to be immunized from that.

I am winging my way south for love. I know I’ll weep. But, I’ll laugh, too. And I’ll listen and I’ll learn. And I’ll love. Mother Teresa once said that the greatest poverty on earth is that of a person who feels unwanted and unloved. I want to get downright rich with love, when I’m Getting Down With Jesus in Haiti.

Dear God,

Help my self-focused heart beat more strongly like this:

Jesus … Jesus … Jesus.

My Savior died for me. And it seems I ought to do a little more dying every day.


I am heading to Haiti early Monday. I will arrive by 3 p.m., God-willing. Would you pray for us?

I am going with this group. You can read more of the story here, about how this trip came to pass (all God!!!).  We will be helping at-risk women who make jewelry. We will be visiting orphanages, and I have a suitcase full of bath towels and supplies … and a little baby lamb to deliver.


And we will be doing this: opening our own hearts to the deep, necessary soul-work in the name of a faith that isn’t built on our comfort, but on His sacrifice.

I do hope to blog about our trip this week, assuming the wireless connection works.  🙂  …

Thank you for your prayers. Like my husband said this weekend: “Be sure to tell your online friends what you are doing; they are prayer warriors, and you know they will pray for you.” And I know. I really do know.

We thank you. Thank you for “going” where I’m going. It’s a great comfort to us knowing you’ll be near, friends. In Jesus’ name, we thank ((you.))


by | March 18, 2012 | 34 comments


  1. Lyla Lindquist

    What Scott said.

    But you already knew that.

    With you, my friend. All the way.

  2. Elizabeth

    My heart echoes yours as we leave for Ghana in two weeks. I have been asking God to deal with the idol of self, and yet I resisted going and leaving my comfortable life.

    I am put to shame about my “lightweight Christianity” as news broke this morning of a teacher/missionary martyred in Yemen.

  3. S. Etole

    Prayers for your heart and the hearts of those you encounter. Travel light in His grace.

  4. Megan Willome

    We’ve got you! I am so happy that this has come together for you. Can’t wait to read about it. God will do a great thing.

  5. Jody Collins

    Jennifer, we sent a team to Haiti two years ago from our church. I know the women were changed forever. You can never prepare for what you will experience, really, but you have all the heart part done….now for the body and soul. Praying with and for you!

  6. Sheila Seiler Lagrand

    Stepping into the prayer circle, alongside Megan and Lyla and the rest.

    Nodding my head, agreeing in prayer. Me too.

  7. Chris

    As He breaks your heart for more and more of the things that break His, another Mother Teresa favorite will become a reality to you…”We can do no great things, just small things with great love.”
    Blessed to be a blessing. Go in peace, serve the Lord!

  8. Diane bailey

    Sweet sister you are in my prayers. And, may your heart break for the things that break the Father’s heart. But may you also see the beauty in what the world calls ashes.

  9. Amy @ themessymiddle

    And to learn to speak new dialects of faith — ones that can only be learned when we are exposed to a different tongue! This post is a great way to think about it. Thanks. Amy http://wp.me/p1Ut5W-b1

  10. Shanda Oakley

    Have a wonderful trip. I pray with you that your heart will break by that which breaks his. I can’t wait to hear of your trip

  11. Diana Trautwein

    Count me in, Jennifer. And yes, your heart will be broken by much of what you see. But your heart will also be lifted right out of your body as you experience the joyful faith of many, even in the midst of loss/less/struggle/pain. We have so much to learn of Jesus from followers who are faithful in the midst of such a place, at such a time. Hopefully, we come home from these rich experiences better able to see that the ‘muchness’ we ALL have in this country is indeed doubled, even tripled when we hold it with open hands and hearts, ready to share and give and steward well. It is also good if we come home more willing to humbly say, “I surely don’t know all there is to know of life, of love, of Jesus. These new friends teach ME of that.” So go with Jesus, friend. Go and be broken, blessed and taught. We eagerly await hearing about what you find and learn. We’ve got you covered in prayer and love and God’s got you covered with blessing untold.

  12. Jennifer@Adam's Rib

    That is one of my greatest fears as well–having the fire for Him turn to mere embers. May it never be! (Good to see your little girl loves Strawberry Shortcake, too! I’m sure Haiti will love a little Vanilla icing.)

    I will remember to pray for you throughout the week. I’ve already asked God to keep putting your name on my heart.

  13. Dea

    The Lord is near to heart broken (Ps. 34). Praying …you know I am praying…

  14. Denise

    Bondye Bon!

    Be prepared to leave a part of you there … I have. May you see God in every face and heart you encounter and may they see Him in you.

  15. Shelly Miller

    So excited for you and praying too. Can’t wait to hear about what you experience!

  16. Radical Believer

    Going to be putting in serious knee time for you Jennifer.

  17. Paula

    Jennifer! Thank you for sharing your heart through this post. It helps place words where I was having trouble explain. We are leading a group to the Dominican Republic in Nov. Incredible ” all God” things as well. Can’t wait to hear how God moves you and uses you and changes you through this trip. I’m praying for you!!!

  18. kd sullivan

    I am praying for your breaking heart.

  19. Deborahjoy

    dear Jennifer, when our hearts break, they break – open. And that is what the Lord wants for us – to be open-hearted. Praying for you and for a safe trip.

  20. Monica Sharman

    Yes yes yes, praying…

    (And that last photo! She still has her baby teeth, I noticed. My youngest has his two (permanent) front teeth in now. He seems so…old.

  21. Linda Thomas

    God will answer that prayer. He will. Your life will never be the same. This is the beginning of a new chapter of your life. God bless you as you go.

    Linda Thomas

  22. Mimi

    Praying for a safe trip! And I couldn’t agree with you more about God showing us much when we go to Him with a broken heart…some of the closest moments i’ve had with Him are when I go to Him broken. Blessings!

  23. Dolly

    have been and will continue to pray for you, Jennifer, and the lives of all that you meet..hugs 🙂

  24. Linda

    Praying fervently Jennifer. My heart ached with the words, “I need to see how Jesus poses daily as the poor.” You will make a difference my sweet friend. You will be His hands and His heart.

  25. Lynn Mosher

    You will see. Your heart will break. You will cry. You will pray. God will work and others will be blessed. Standing in agreement with the desire of your heart. May the Lord bless your efforts.

  26. Lori

    Praying for you already. As always, so blessed by your words here on the page, and I know that both you and those with whom you work will be blessed by your visit. Peace.

  27. Dawn

    I’m a little late here, but God knows his timing. Praying for you and all those whose lives you touch. Doesn’t it feel like holy work?

  28. Cheryl Smith

    Oh, just reading this now, but have been praying. And will continue to do so. Trusting that God is up to something bigger than you can even imagine.

    Can’t wait to read about it, watch one of your stellar videos, and then, see it on your face and hear it in your voice – in person.

    Love you, dear friend!

  29. Missy

    What an incredible and amazing opportunity. I can’t wait to read more.


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