Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Prayer God Hears

Prayer is a challenging spiritual practice. Prayer as friendship with God is very different from what I call "911 prayers", or even fox-hole prayers, God, if you get me out of this I will.... 

The prayer that God hears is the prayer of repentance that comes from a broken and contrite heart. 

This is the case in 2 Chronicles 7:13-15. Solomon just completed one of the biggest projects in his young administration: the building of God's temple. That night, the Lord God came to him in a dream and said words we would delight in hearing: I have heard your prayer.... God hears our prayer! Doesn't this inspire you to spend time in His presence and seek his face?

Almighty God is omniscient. In other words, God sees and knows all things before they happen. And in the foreknowledge of God, a time would come when Israel would turn aside to false gods. 

The consequences of spiritual adultery would be painful: the heavens would cease to rain, locusts would devour the crops and people would greatly suffer because of sinful rebellion and turning from the Lord. People and land suffering because of spiritual rebellion? You better believe it!

In mercy, the Lord also provides advance solutions when those days of suffering come. The impact of the solution is not guaranteed. It is conditional...

if my people who are called by may name humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. This precious promise applies to people and nations. 

The wages of sin is still death. Sin quenches the fire of the Spirit. Sin grieves the heart of God. Sin separates from God. But Almighty God promises, If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (I John 1:9).

Here’s one more promise: I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,” and you forgave the iniquity of my sin (Psalm 32:5).

There you have it: God always hears prayers from a broken and contrite heart.

Question: What's the greatest challenge you face with prayer?