Prayer on the Move. Day three...
If I know God is listening for my voice… if I know God wants to hear from me… if I know He is not going to cut me off when I am less than perfect… doesn't that change things? You bet it does.
I'm not sure why we get into silly arguments over whose prayers God hears and whose He doesn't. It's almost as if we are trying to establish some kind of pecking order, with each of us wanting to be a little closer to the “top chicken” than the next guy.
But we forget the basic nature of God:
Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. (1 John 4:8 NIV)
God is not trying to find some reason to disqualify your prayer. He wants to help you. But He's not going to help you destroy yourself. He will leave you alone to self‐destruct, if you insist. But He's not going to help you destroy yourself.
Since they thought it foolish to acknowledge God, he
abandoned them to their foolish thinking and let them do things that
never be done.
Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, quarreling, deception, malicious behavior, and gossip.
They are backstabbers, haters of God, insolent, proud, and boastful. They invent new ways of sinning, and they disobey their parents.
They refuse to understand, break their promises, are heartless, and have no mercy.
They know God's justice requires that those who do these things deserve to die, yet they do them anyway. Worse yet, they encourage others to do them, too. (Romans 1:28–32 NLT)
Yes, God must judge whatever we do, but He's not causing it. He's not enabling it. He's not encouraging it.
He won't help us destroy ourselves by answering destructive prayers. But He will, if we continue to refuse Jesus, have to judge the destruction we have brought on ourselves. And He takes no pleasure in it.
Say to them, As I live, declares the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways, for why will you die, O house of Israel? (Ezekiel 33:11 ESV)
Even for Christians, if we choose to live like hell in this life, He will let us. That doesn't mean we will miss out on Heaven and have to spend eternity in hell. But this life, here on this earth, will certainly look a lot more like hell than it does Heaven.
If you're having trouble getting answers to your prayers, please don't assume God is refusing to hear you. He definitely hears you. But if He's not answering, He's not answering for reasons you need to understand.
God does not communicate with our human nature. Let me explain.
When Jesus was talking with the Samaritan woman at the well, He was taking to the deepest part of her. In fact, what He communicated to her changed not only her life but the lives of many in her community. And this can't be done with idle conversation. (See John 4:5–43.)
One of the things He said to her was, “God [is] Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth (John 4:24 NKJV).”
What does this mean? It means we can't worship God unless we do it from our spiritual nature and from a position of truth.
But what does worship have to do with prayer? Let's take a look at the definition of worship as used in this situation.
First of all, picture scenes you remember from movies, when one man kisses the hand of another man in a show of reverence, or when people bow down all the way to the ground in a show of reverence for rulers or heads of state. Worship demonstrates this kind of reverence toward God. Don't we pray to Him with at least some of that same reverence?
Next think of a dog licking his master's hand. When a dog licks your hand it is showing submission. When a dog will not lick your hand it will either ignore you or resist you in some way. Worship is showing willing submission to God. Isn't prayer a sign of submission as well? (After all, if we didn't think God was any bigger than we are, then why would we expect Him to be able to do for us what we couldn't do for ourselves?)
Can you see why it is reasonable to apply the same principle to prayer as Jesus applied to worship? “God is Spirit, and when we pray to Him we must pray from our spiritual nature and from a position of truth.”
There is a kind of worship coming out of our human nature that God does not accept.
Do not worship the LORD your God in the way these pagan peoples worship their gods. (Deuteronomy 12:4 NLT)
And there is a kind of prayer coming out of our human nature that God does not accept.
When you pray, don't babble on and on as people of other religions do. They think their prayers are answered merely by repeating their words again and again. (Matthew 6:7 NLT)
Yes… this is a picture of some Pharisee standing out in plain sight of everyone offering up some fancy prayer, with lots and lots of words.
But it's also a picture of a man standing in front of a slot machine, intent on turning around his fortunes in Las Vegas. And with every pull of the handle… muttering under his breath… “Oh, God! Please let this be the big one!”
And it's also a picture of a woman, standing in front of her mirror every day as she gets ready for work, asking, "God, when will you ever send someone to love me?"
And so we all go on and on about something---calling it prayer. But prayer is more than going on and on about what we need or want… until it almost sounds like we're complaining.
Have a good day,