“Give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name” (Psalm 86:11).

The translators are divided on how to translate this phrase. For instance, the NASB says, "Unite my heart to fear your name." The CEB gives a more general sense, "Make my heart focused only on honoring your name.” Then we have this paraphrase from the ERV, “Help me make worshiping your name the most important thing in my life." Eugene Peterson (MSG) gives us this colorful rendering:

“Put me together, one heart and mind;
    then, undivided, I’ll worship in joyful fear.”

I like that because it sounds like the way I often pray: “Put me together, Lord, because right now my life is scattered in a thousand directions.” Most days my heart doesn’t seem “undivided,” and it certainly feels like it needs some kind of “uniting."So I like this phrase both ways:

“Unite my heart to fear your name.”
"Give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.”

The first speaks of my need.
The second speaks of my desire.

Because my heart is so often divided, I need the Lord to unite it somehow so that I might worship him with nothing held back. That is the situation many of us face right now. Our hearts are fragmented because we are pulled in so many directions at once.

The world around us is no help. Last Sunday our pastor preached on “Trash, Trinkets and Treasures,” in which he commented that sometimes we are enticed by things that turn out to be trash, and sometimes we are distracted by things that are not bad in themselves, but when pursued as the goal of life end up being trinkets, little gaudy baubles that amount to nothing much when you look at them closely.

How hard it is to focus on the treasures of life!
How easy to mistake the trinkets for treasures!

In order to get some practical help in this area, let’s start with a very basic question. What are the marks of a divided heart?

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