Unanswered prayer. We sometimes feel as if God isn't listening or doesn't hear our prayers. Sometimes it seems the words are hitting the ceiling and falling back to our hearts with a thud. David knew this feeling. The first verses of Psalm 28 find him pleading with God not to turn a deaf ear to him. Then we see David turn to praise.
Turning to praise when we feel God isn't listening draws us into His presence. James tells us:
"Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world." James 4:8
From this verse, we learn two things which must take place before God hears our prayers.
1) Wash your hands.
Our actions must be consistent with one who knows God. Paul shares many do and don't lists in his letters. One such list is found in Colossians 3:
"Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, evil desire, and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to one another, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge of its Creator... Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience." 3;5-10, 12
If our actions are not consistent with how God says we are to live, He will not hear our prayers. We should daily examine our actions and reactions to be sure we are behaving in a way God approves. Jesus instructs us:
"So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets." Matthew 7:12
2) Purify your hearts.
Our hearts must be pure before God because He cannot be in the presence of impurity. God is holy. He calls us to be holy. Left to our own devices we cannot be holy. We must ask Jesus to come into our hearts, forgive our sins, cleanse us from impurity, and make us holy by the indwelling of His Holy Spirit. Paul declares:
"The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." 1 Corinthians 15:56-57
We have victory over sin through Jesus. But we must confess that sin.
"If we confess our sin, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:9
And Psalm 66:18 says:
"If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened."
We must keep our confession current if we want God to hear our prayers.
After washing our hands and purifying our hearts entering into praise opens the way for God to hear our prayers. Through the prophet Isaiah God proclaims:
"Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear." Isaiah 65:24
Gathered manna for Psalm 28 is:
Praising God from a pure heart ensures He hears our prayers.
Where do you need to wash your hands? What actions are you participating in which may keep God from hearing your prayers? When was the last time you confessed your sin to God?
Praying we will all learn to keep our confession current and praise God from pure hearts.
Until next time keep gathering manna, growing deeper, and gaining intimacy!
May God bless and keep you,