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  • Writer's pictureRev. Susan Eaton

This Captive Heart - An Advent Prayer

I remember well the morning I wrote these words one year ago.

Some days, the words just flow out. And flow they did, from a place of deep grief, sadness, pain... and shame. Without giving details, I had been struggling for several months at this point with some deeply personal pain. Then the day came when all that pain and brokenness I thought I was covering up came flying out of my mouth, on the phone, at work to a rude customer service woman. Granted, she was out of line, but that incident revealed to me how not okay I was and that I needed healing from my own sin and brokenness as well as comfort and strength to continue pressing on in grace and strength with what our family was dealing with.

I am thankful now for the jolt—that moment of awakening to my own sin and need for grace that that incident provided. Sometimes it's the most embarrassing moments that serve us best by bringing us to our knees in humility before our Savior.

In what way are you experiencing captivity today? From what do you need to be rescued? In what way do you need the Lord to meet you with his grace?



I’ve become imprisoned, once again,

to captors I thought I’d left behind,

willingly walking back into old

familiar prisons of my past—

Giving in to emotions and whims

that have never, not once,

told me what’s true—

Letting them drag me in—

desiring their oh so temporary

satisfaction that leaves me

emptier and more helpless

than I was before.

Will you look down on this captive

who put the chains on herself

and set this guilty one free?

Or is your grace only for those who

have been imprisoned by forces

beyond their control?


Ransom your captive child

who has been imprisoned

by the very things

you have saved me from

time and time again.

Ransom me from

my weakness,

my frailty,

my sins,

my shame.

How dare I ask such a thing?

How dare I ask you to come to such

a loathsome place?

How dare I make such a bold request?

I dare because I believe.

I dare because you said you will come.

I dare because you have already done it

and will do it again and again.


Your grace doesn’t rebuke.

Your grace doesn’t make lists

of “good enough.”

Your grace is not earned.

Your grace pursues.

Your grace sets free.

Your grace redeems.

In the darkest of dark,

In the most shameful of places,

In the place where we despair of hope.

Ransom my captive heart so I can once again

stand in your presence and desire

nothing but you.

O Come, O Come Emmanuel.

Ransom captive Israel.

*Close your eyes and take in this hauntingly beautiful arrangement of "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel." Be blessed, my friends. Your Savior has come and He will always come for you.

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