Seeking God Day 22

 

halden“It’s not God, it’s you!” That is what I had written in the margin of my Bible. I have no idea when I wrote those words but they caught my attention this morning.

I’m studying prayer along with James MacDonald from Walk in the Word and he referenced this verse in Isaiah. I don’t remember reading it before but obviously I had and it had convicted me enough to write something more in the margin.

“Actions affect access,” is what Pastor MacDonald said and then he read this verse,

“Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear. But your iniquities have separated you from God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.” Isaiah 59:1-2

“Confess!” “Confess!” was also written in pen in my handwriting and underlined in my Bible. When had I written that?

Pastor MacDonald has been teaching about prayer and he asserts that unlike what I’ve always believed and been taught, God does not always hear my prayers. I’ve been chewing on this idea for awhile now. I’m not sure how I feel about it. But here it is in black and white.

I don’t believe that God isn’t aware of my prayers but here it says that my sins can keep me from seeing him and plainly it says, “he will not hear.” I don’t like that at all.

Proverbs 28:9 says, “If anyone turns a deaf ear to the law, even his prayers are detestable.”

I don’t like that one either.

I like the verses that talk about access to God and receiving wisdom and Him knowing my name and being an heir. Those are comforting and kind and soft. But these verses are bare and harsh and require something of me and quite frankly I’m turning my nose up.

 

I want God to always hear me, to always answer me and usually I want him to answer me on my timeline. The idea of him not hearing me or finding my prayers “detestable,” is disconcerting. He can’t do that, can he?

The Bible is full of descriptions of God’s character and his love. We can pick and pull out all kinds of verses that will make us feel good and loved and warm and fuzzy. But what about the other stuff? What about the commands and instructions for how we are to live? What do we do with that?

I Peter 5:5-6 “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”

Pastor MacDonald said that prayer is “the process of becoming fit to receive from God what he is already ready to do.”

James 4:2-3 “You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives.”

I want to just want to say, “Uh, no! Don’t judge me!” and then drop the mic.

It’s uncomfortable to be examined this closely. It’s like looking at myself in one of those mirrors that are magnified. I see way too many wrinkles, sun spots and pores. I can try to cover them up but I know they are still there. Don’t look too close.

Psalm 103: 8-12 

The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west so far has he removed our transgressions from us.”

 

This truth is his word says that our sins are removed as far as the east is from the west. They are no longer there. He does not harbor them. But I think they can certainly paralyze us.

We stand in our own way. Our pride, our love of self, our wanting will keep us from seeing, hearing, reaching God. Jesus is the bridge. We are told over and over to be holy like he is holy. It’s a process, an on-going process as long as we are on this side of heaven.

James 5:16 “The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.”

I want to have a powerful and effective prayer life. I want to seek to know God. Please Father, transform me and change me and make me more like you.

From the Inside Out by Hillsong

 

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