Prayer is a gift. Human beings are the only creatures blessed with the ability to communicate with God. As with any relationship, honest communication is necessary for connections to grow and mature. God is all about intimacy. He loves us with a tenderness beyond compare. Yet, many of us neglect the prayer closet. Why?
Sin or rebellion may be our reason. If we think God can’t see our sin or actions we are foolishly trying to deceive ourselves. God knows and sees all things. He came to save the sick and lost. He understands temptations and no sin is beyond His forgiveness and love. Facing God with honesty is difficult, but the only way to recapture a broken relationship.
“You have searched me, Lord, and You know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; You perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; You are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue You, Lord, know it completely.” Psalm 139:1-4 (NIV)
Fear may also be a reason for our reluctance to pray. Fear of punishment or God’s anger is a cunning trap set by the enemy. The devil loves to shovel shame and guilt our way. But God is love. Love if forgiving, gentle, and kind. But we also serve a just God who honors free will and allows consequences for sinful actions.
“But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you so that He will not hear.” Isaiah 59:2 (NKJV)
Sin must be confessed if we want our prayers to be heard. Sin separates us from God. King David sinned greatly yet God still called him, “A man after My own heart.” Adultery and murder are not what we would imagine when considering this mighty declaration.
“And when He had removed him, He raised up for them David as king, to whom also He gave testimony and said, ‘I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all My will.” Acts 13:22 (NKJV)
A reverent fear of God means we understand whom it is that we are speaking to. It shows respect and awe. With a reverent fear we recognize our condition and see that we are helpless, helpless to run our spiritual race without God’s strength and assistance.
So, when we come before God we must don a cloak of humility. Acknowledge Him as the Creator of the universe. Consider His power and might. Be in awe!
“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” Philippians 2:12-13 (NKJV)
Humility will bend our knees when we consider our position as the creation. The one true God, the Creator of all things actually wants fellowship with us. So with a reverent fear, one without terror and distress over punishment, we must lay our hearts bare and trust God to toss them as far as the east is from the west.
“As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.” Psalm 103:12 (NKJV)
We live in a world that praises self-reliance and it starts with infancy. Parents rejoice over their child’s first step, their first bike ride without training wheels, dressing and bathing without assistance. Even the fierce, “ME do it!” brings a measure of pride to every parent’s heart. Not needing parental help with certain activities is necessary for human development. But we will always need the help of our spiritual Father. We should strive to lay down our self-will and rely wholly on God. With an attitude of helplessness, God will lift us up and provide for our needs. Depend on God. Spend time with Him in prayer, and concede that you are wholly dependent on His grace.
“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up.” James 4:10 (NIV)
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.” 1 Peter 5:10 (NIV)
“For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.” Romans 5:6 (NASB)