Message Magazine’s Online Devotional for Wednesday, February 17, 2016
This Week’s Devotional Focus is, “Prayer.”
“If I had not confessed the sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened. But God did listen! He paid attention to my prayer. Praise God, who did not ignore my prayer or withdraw his unfailing love from me.” (Psalm 66:18–20, NLT)
Yesterday we talked about the fact that we should have confidence that our heavenly Father is all ears when we pray. He loves to hear and attend to our prayers. I am thankful for the confidence boost He communicated through His Word.
I would be remiss were I to neglect a critical requirement for having God’s undivided attention in prayer. I know it is human nature to recoil when requirements are mentioned, but do not let that deter you.
Good relationships are predicated upon certain basic principles: communication, mutual respect, valuing one another, quality time investment, etc. How effective would any of these be if one of the persons in the relationship was at consistent odds with the other. What if one had a habit of offending the other without apology or amending his/her ways? You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to know that would not foster good relationship. Yet, we often sin with impunity and expect God to support all of our desires and pursuits even when we have no intention of turning away from our darling sins. This is not good. While it is true that all have sinned, it is also true that all can confess and forsake our sins through the power of God.
In our theme text, David shared a gem of truth from his experience. If we hope to have God listen to our prayers, we need to level with Him if we sin. We need to confess that we have sinned against Him. We need to ask for clean hearts and be submissive enough to turn our backs on all that displeases Him. Here are three more verses of Scripture to underscore the thought: “He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, Even his prayer shall be abomination.” (Proverbs 28:9). “Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; Neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, And your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.” (Isaiah 59:1–2). “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: But whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.” (Proverbs 28:13).
Let’s be clear here. Jesus came to save sinners; however, the simple fact is that God cannot be a party to our unrepentant sin. He has given us all of the power of the universe to be victorious and align our wills with His. Therefore, in order to keep God’s attention we need simply to remain in agreement with Him in the event we should fall into temptation and make no plans to continue doing that which displeases Him. He longs to hear our prayers we should long to have good relationship with Him.