Hear the word of the Lord, ye rulers of Sodom; give ear unto the law of our God, ye people of Gomorrah. To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saith the Lord. I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts, and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats. When ye come to speak before Me, who hath required this at your hand, to tread My courts? Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto Me; the new moons and Sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with—it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting.”
(“Even the solemn meeting!”—think of that. If God does not get our heart-services, He will have none of it; it is an abomination to Him).
“Your new moons and your appointed feasts My soul hateth; they are a trouble unto Me; I am weary to bear them. And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide Mine eyes from you; yea, when ye make many prayers, 1 will not hear; your hands are full of blood. Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before Mine eyes, cease to do evil, learn to do well, seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow. Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord; though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” (Isa 1:10-18)
Again we read in Proverbs: “He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination.” (Prov 28:9)Think of that! It may shock some of us to think that our prayers are an abomination to God, yet if any are living in known sin, this is what God’s Word says about them. If we are not willing to turn from sin and obey God’s law, we have no right to expect that He will answer our prayers. Unconfessed sin is unforgiven sin, and unforgiven sin is the darkest, foulest thing on this sin cursed earth. You cannot find a case in the Bible where a man has been honest in dealing with sin, but God has been honest with him and blessed him. The prayer of the humble and the contrite heart is a delight to God. There is no sound that goes up from this sin cursed earth so sweet to His ear as the prayer of the man who is walking uprightly
Today, we are still considering confession of sin having discovered that a lot lies therein. From the passages we read above you can see that we need to get it right at the confession stage before our prayers will be answered. Brethren do you know that prayer is preparation?
At the altar of prayer, we should be ready to receive from God what He had prepared for us not the other way round. More so, talking about confession when we acknowledge our depraved state like Job, like David, the Lord answers… read more
When the day of Pentecost had arrived, they were all together in one place.—Acts 2:1
Prayer does not give you spiritual power. Prayer aligns your life with God so that He chooses to demonstrate His power through you. The purpose of prayer is not to convince God to change your circumstances but to prepare you to be involved in God’s activity.
The fervent prayer of the people at Pentecost did not induce the Holy Spirit to come upon them. Prayer brought them to a place where they were ready to participate in the mighty work God had already planned.
Jesus told His followers to remain in Jerusalem until the Spirit came upon them (Acts 1:4–5). The disciples obeyed His command, waiting for God’s next directive. As they prayed, God adjusted their lives to what He intended to do next. As they prayed, a unity developed among them. For the first time the disciples used Scripture as their guide in decision making (Acts 1:15–26).
The day of Pentecost arrived, and the city of Jerusalem filled with pilgrims from around the world. When God released His Holy Spirit upon the disciples, He had already filled the city with messengers who would carry the Gospel to every nation. Prayer had prepared the disciples for their obedient response.
Prayer is designed to adjust you to God’s will, not to adjust God to your will. If God has not responded to what you are praying, you may need to adjust your praying to align with God’s agenda.
Rather than focusing on what you would like to see happen, realize that God may be more concerned with what He wants to see happen in you. Let us also learn from David who acknowledged his sin and confess it before His maker and he received forgiveness:
“I acknowledged my sin unto Thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord; and Thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin.” Psalm 32:5
David’s grief for sin was bitter. Its effects were visible upon his outward frame: “his bones waxed old”; “his moisture was turned into the drought of summer.” No remedy could he find, until he made a full confession before the throne of the heavenly grace. He tells us that for a time he kept silence, and his heart became more and more filled with grief: like a mountain arn whose outlet is blocked up, his soul was swollen with torrents of sorrow.
He fashioned excuses; he endeavoured to divert his thoughts, but it was all to no purpose; like a festering sore his anguish gathered, and as he would not use the lancet of confession, his spirit was full of torment, and knew no rest. At last it came to this, that he must return unto his God in humble penitence, or die outright; so he hastened to the mercy-seat, and there unrolled the volume of his iniquities before the all-seeing One, acknowledging all the evil of his ways in language such as you read in the fifty-first and other penitential Psalms.
Having done this, a work so simple and yet so difficult to pride, he received at once the token of divine forgiveness; the bones which had been broken were made to rejoice, and he came forth from his closet to sing the blessedness of the man whose transgression is forgiven. See the value of a grace-wrought confession of sin! It is to be prized above all price, for in every case where there is a genuine, gracious confession, mercy is freely given, not because the repentance and confession deserve mercy, but for Christ’s sake.
Blessed be God, there is always healing for the broken heart; the fountain is ever flowing to cleanse us from our sins. Truly, O Lord, Thou art a God “ready to pardon!” Therefore will we acknowledge our iniquities.
Again, let me call attention to that prayer of David, in which he says: “Search me, O, God, and know my heart; try me, and know my thoughts, and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!” I wish all my readers would commit these verses to memory. If we should all honestly make this prayer once every day there would be a good deal of change in our lives. “Search me”—not my neighbor. It is so easy to pray for other people, but so hard to get home to ourselves.
I am afraid that we who are busy in the Lord’s work, are very often in danger of neglecting our vineyard. In this Psalm, David got home to himself. There is a difference between God searching me and my searching myself. I may search my heart, and pronounce it all right, but when God searches me as with a lighted candle, a good many things will come to light that perhaps I knew nothing about.
“Try me.” David was tried when he fell by taking his eye off from the God of his father Abraham. “Know my thoughts.” God looks at the thoughts. Are our thoughts pure? Have we in our hearts thoughts against God or against His people—against anyone in the world? If we have, we are not right in the sight of God. Oh, may God search us, every one! I do not know any better prayer that we can make than this prayer of David. One of the most solemn things in the Scripture history is that when holy men—better men than we are—were tested and tried, they were found to be as weak as water away from God.
Is someone hurrying to the mercy seat this day; is someone willing to accept Christ today? Please do not delay any longer; Jesus is knocking at your door, kindly open.
Our earnest desires this day Lord, let our prayers receives Your attention. Amen.
Remain blessed in the Lord.
Evang. Ifeoma Ohondu