12. Prayer: Do this before you pray
So much has been written on about prayer that it is almost pointless for me to write (or you to read) another 500 words today about prayer. Would it not be far better for you to simply stop reading and me to stop writing and for us to go and pray?
If so, then why are you reading this and why am I writing?
Namely this: I hope that at the end of the week you will have been inspired to talk and listen to the God of the universe more than you did last week.
And I believe there is something we should all do before we pray.
Our memory verse for this week says that if you are not morally pure, then don’t expect God to answer your prayers. It is a waste of time. Commit yourself this week to keep yourself clean and pure. And if you are not, then pray, but do not pray for anything else except your moral and spiritual purity before God.
Read and memorize Psalm 66:18.
18 If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened; 19 but God has surely listened and has heard my prayer. 20 Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me!
The word “cherished” is translated “regard” or “harbored” or “been aware” or “seen”. Can you “see” your sin? Are you “cherishing” it or holding it closely? And the verse says not only in your actions but in your heart.
I have been a Christian since before astronauts walked on the moon! I am married to a strong believer and I work in a Christian environment. I pray daily and read the Bible daily. And yet, I struggle daily with sin and I confess there are times in my life that I have held it closely.
My sin is different than your sin but it is no bigger nor smaller than yours. We as Christians need to be ashamed of our sin regardless of whether it is “socially acceptable.” If you cherish sin and are not giving your regards to God, there is a scandal in your life. If not in public, certainly there is a scandal in your personal devotion before God. Confess and forsake whatever God convicts you of. Then claim 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
One more verse before we pray. Prov. 28:13 says this, “He who covers his sins will not prosper, But whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.” We must stop concealing and confess our sins. We also must go from forgiveness to the forsaking of our sins.
Are you finished with “cherishing” your sin in your heart and actions? I am! Have you confessed and forsaken it before God in prayer? I have! Then now, we are ready for prayer.