Information on the small give-away I am doing in conjuction with this post is available toward the end (in bold print).
Did you know that while God always hears our prayers, there are things we may be doing or not doing that influence how attentive He is to our prayers?
Psalm 66:18 says,
“If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.”
In Evelyn Christenson’s book, “What Happens When Women Pray,” she shares about how her small prayer group began intercessory prayer one January, and it was April before they began seeing answers.
Then, they took Psalm 66:18 to heart. Not wanting anything to hinder their prayers, they began their weekly meeting by asking God to reveal any sin for which they needed to repent. One by one, God began bringing sins to their mind. The first meeting they did this, they spent the whole meeting in individual prayer of repentance, and the meeting after that, and for several more meetings. It took 6 weeks of repentance before they were released to pray for others.
Suddenly, they found that the answers didn’t take so long; not long at all.
One of the “big” things that damages our relationship with God, and hinders us from receiving answers we long for, is the matter of known un-confessed sin.
We all sin every day. There are many times we are not aware, and those are not the sins to which I am referring. If we all knew every sin we committed, we may be too overcome with sorrow. The Holy Spirit knows this, and God is gracious to tackle our issues as He sees fit.
No, it’s the sneaky sin we know is wrong and allow ourselves to fall into anyway. Or even the accidental sin that we recognize and find easier to ignore. Perhaps it is a sin we enjoy and don’t want to give up.
Whether or not anyone else knows what we’ve done, whether or not anyone else is harmed, God knows, and our sins come between us and Him.
If you’ve never called on the name of the Lord to be saved, please be assured that nothing could ever prevent God from hearing you call. It is His heart’s desire to remove your sin from you (as far as the east is from the west) if you will only repent and confess your sin, trusting Jesus to be your Savior. He died in your place. “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.” Romans 10:9,10
Once you are saved into a right relationship with God, he hears your intercessory prayers. However, those intentional, or tolerated sins come between us and Him.
Lets be honest. I love my kids, and I always take care of their needs, but if they are intentionally disobeying, exhibiting a poor attitude, leaving responsibilities undone, and the like. . . and then they come to me, asking for favors or special privileges that are not needs, I hear them, but am I likely to desire to give them what they’re asking for? Uh, no. I might shut them down mid-sentence. Fix your attitude. Apologize. Go do the thing you were supposed to do. Show me you are trustworthy. THEN, we’ll talk.
It’s the same with us and with God. He cares more about teaching us to have holy hearts, which will give us joy forever, than He cares for making us happy in the moment.
It takes humility, to be sure. Pride is one sin that will spiral into all others, but. . .
Ask God to reveal to your heart any sin that is coming between you and Him. Ask Him what He wants you to repent of. He is SO faithful. One at a time, he will bring all to mind.
No known un-confessed sins. It’s the first prerequisite for an effective, powerful prayer life. Lay it all out there. “God, I confess that I ________. I repent of this sin, and renounce it. Please forgive me, and enable me to __________ (whatever it is that you need to do to live holy for HIM). If you are a child of God, the same Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead lives within you. That’s power. . . certainly enough power to enable you to conquer whatever sin issue you have been dealing with. Praise God, He is faithful and just, when we confess our sin, to forgive our sin and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9.
“His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” 2 Peter 1:3
Seeing prayers answered doesn’t mean that God gives us everything we ask for. He gives us those things that compliment His plans, those things that He knows are good (and not bad) for us. Sometimes His answer is “wait”. We have to trust His timing is perfect. He is for us, and as we learn more how to pray (because there are more prerequisites for effective prayer), we will see more and more answers. It is so awesome to have the privilege.
Revive our Hearts sells a book mark which complements Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth’s book, “Brokenness: The Heart God Revives.” (a wonderful book) Front and back, the book mark lists characteristics of prideful people verses broken, or humble people. Our ladies group found the list to be useful to pray over, as God can use it to point out areas of sin. Confession is so healing. I have 5 of these book marks to give away. If you would like one, please tell me so in the comments. The first 5 commenters to ask, will receive! 😉
If there are any Pointway Church ladies who have not received a copy, and would like to, please let me know via facebook or text and I will get one to you.