By: Andrew Gilhooley
Thomas Aquinas—the great thirteenth century theologian and perhaps the most brilliant Christian who has lived—beseeched the Lord thus in a prayer he prayed daily:
Grant unto me, my God,
that I may direct my heart to Thee
and that in my failures
I may ever feel remorse for my sins
and never lose the resolve to change.
In this excerpt from his prayer, Aquinas implores two things from God: (1) that God would aide him in directing his heart to Him and (2) that God would make him a man of continuous repentance. In my estimation, these are two petitions which are virtually absent from the daily lives of many believers.
God is not a being void of emotion; nay, for the Scriptures teach that He is the antithesis of such a being. God is love (1 Jn. 4:8); and He loved us to such a degree that He was willing to send His only begotten Son from the glorious heavens to become incarnate in a sinful world, undergo humiliation, and suffer and die to make atonement for us His people, in order that we may dwell for eternity in His presence. Jesus, the King of kings, became for a time the Servant of servants (Jn. 13:5-11) so that He may demonstrate to us the breadth and length and height and depth of the love which He has for us His people.
Knowing this should rouse us to strive with all our might to unremittingly direct our hearts to God; knowing this should make us men of continuous repentance; and yet knowing this often does not stimulate us to love and repentance as it ought to. We were created and redeemed to love God, and by doing so glorify and enjoy Him. That is our chief end. We confess and know these truths; and yet we fail to take what we believe in our minds and transfer it to our hearts. Wretched men are we!
Therefore beloved, I exhort thee to daily pray the petition of Aquinas: that the Lord would aide thee in directing thy heart to Him and that He would make thee a man of continuous repentance. God delights in such requests and by no means will reject it.