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Have a Heart of Compassion

The definition for compassion? Dictionary.com says this:

“Compassion: A feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering [make the suffering go away]”.

If we put this definition in simpler terms it becomes this:

“Being so overwhelmed with love for others that their suffering breaks your heart and moves you to act on their behalf in some way.”

In the Bible, compassion is also called “pity” or “mercy”. In Luke 6:11-17 there is a story that illustrates compassion so well. There was a widow in a city called Nain that Jesus and the disciples visited when the widow’s only son had just died: “When the Lord saw her, He felt compassion for her”. Jesus tells her to stop weeping and then raises her son to life again.

Because of His overwhelming love for people, the Lord was filled with compassion for the sadness and suffering of this poor woman who had just lost her son and His compassion moved Him to act on her behalf. Maybe you don’t know anyone who has recently lost someone they love, but I bet you know someone who is being bullied. I bet you know someone who has a particularly tough life at home. I bet you know someone who just feels very lonely.

Does their suffering move you to compassion? Does their situation break your heart and move you to action? You don’t have to raise people from the dead to act on your compassion. Acting on your compassion could mean inviting a lonely person to hang out with you at lunch or after school. It could mean taking time away from what you’re doing to sit, listen and offer encouragement to someone with a difficult home life. It could also mean standing up for someone being bullied.

Today I would like to offer you a simple prayer to increase your capacity for compassion. I pray this prayer myself several times a week. If this is your honest desire, then God is faithful and will provide you what you seek.

Lord, I want to have a heart of compassion like Jesus. I want the situations and suffering of others to break my heart and cause me to act. Lord would you please break my heart for the people and situations that break your heart so that they can know the love of Jesus by my actions? Amen.

Psalm 116:5-6 – Gracious is the Lord, and righteous; Yes, our God is compassionate. The Lord preserves the simple; I was brought low, and he saved me.

Image: iStockphoto


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  1. Posted by on August 8, 2011 at 17:05

    Hey! This helped me a lot! I have a prayer request, if you could pray for it! -I just came back from a youth conference and i’m completely on fire for God!!! I started texting my friends and asked them kindly if they would tell me if they’ve accepted Christ and if so, if they truly meant it..Trinity got mad about it. And stopped texting me about it. I told her I’m praying for her and not trying to be mean. But she told me we’re not adults, and that we’re teens. I replied, it doesnt matter if we’re teens. And that a relationship with Jesus is very important! I told her I’m going to make a difference in highschool and she replied ‘good 4 u. stop houding me about it. now bye.’ and I told her byeeee(: and that Jesus loves her more than she will EVER know! she’s not texted me back since and I’m afraid she’s not my friend anymore.-

    • Posted by Nicole on August 16, 2011 at 14:32

      I am praying for you that you lead her to God! Keep trying!

  2. Posted by on July 21, 2011 at 10:58

    This is a great article. I knoq I can definitely love others more. And I know when I am compassionate for others, others will be compassionate for me when I am down. Thank you and I’ll be praying for your friends, Kayla!I know what it’s like to lose a loved one.

  3. Posted by on July 20, 2011 at 16:12

    There’s a song by Matthew West called “My Own Little World.” I think it goes exactly with what you’re saying, because part of the lyrics goes, “Father break my heart for what breaks yours. Give me open hands and open doors, put your light in my eyes and let me see that my own little world is not about me.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QOz2bpo-kYM&feature=related

  4. Posted by on July 20, 2011 at 05:18

    Great article! 😀 This is a really inspiring article! 😀

  5. Posted by on July 19, 2011 at 17:50

    This is a good thing for everyone to learn and to have within themselves because when you go through something in life you would want someone to help you.

  6. Posted by on July 19, 2011 at 14:28

    Wonderful article,as christians we should always have a heart of compassion. I prayed this prayer and God heard me.

  7. Posted by on July 19, 2011 at 13:16

    Two of my best friends just lost their father on Saturday. The moment I knew, I began to pray. I texted them and told them I was here if they needed anything and let them know I love them very much. God has told me everything will be okay, and He will help them heal, but of course it will take time. Please keep my friends Natalie and Jenny in your prayers– they are struggling and hurting so very much right now.

    • Posted by Nicole on July 20, 2011 at 15:19

      I will- that is so tragic. I am so sorry for their loss- I will keep them in my prayers.