“Pray without ceasing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:17 (KJV)
All of us have offered prayers to God that seem to have been lost in the shuffle. We ask and nothing happens. A person who is suffering asks for relief from the burden and it remains. A person out of work prays for a job and is still unemployed. So the question comes to us, “Does prayer matter?”
Will the laws God put into motion at the beginning of creation go on unimpeded by our prayers? Will God never intervene and cause things to change for the better? Is God like the watchmaker who creates the watch and then forgets it as it moves on to be sold?
Actually the Bible is full of persuasive statements that bring hope to our prayers. We read of so many promises that we can feel overwhelmed. Which ones to bring to God in prayer becomes the issue.
Our verse today simply calls on us to be prayerful all the time. It is so important that we invite our Creator into every aspect of our lives to guide and direct us. If we involve ourselves in any activity that we would be ashamed to ask God’s blessing on then we have strayed from the will of God.
Perhaps this matter of sin in our lives is the most influential factor in not having our prayers answered. Isaiah 59:2 says, “…your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.” (NIV). Prayer dies on the altar of a disobedient heart. You cannot have your sin and the ear of God at the same time.
I well recall many years ago when a child that my parents agreed to let the three of us go to see the movie Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. We were told that it would be a reward for doing our work around the house. Well, I typically failed to do as requested by my parents and the axe fell. I was not allowed to attend the movie with my brother and sister.
God brings us up short at times when we fail to walk in His way. In Jeremiah 5:25 it says, “…your sins have deprived you of good.” (NIV). Those who are given the privilege of coming into God’s presence with petitions are exactly those who come with sins forgiven through Jesus.
The Psalmist says in Psalm 66:18, “If I had cherished sin in my heart the Lord would not have listened.” (NIV). It is so important that we rid ourselves of favourite sins in order to have God pay attention to our prayers.
If you have given up on prayer perhaps this is where you need to kick start your prayer life. Consider what you secretly harbour in your heart that you know is wrong in God’s sight. Tell God you wish to rid yourself of this thing. A prayer of confession is always heard by God if it is done in Jesus’ name. Restart your prayer life right here and do it today.