Lord, hear my voice: let thine ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications. – Ps 130:2 KJV
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Today’s devotion is based on the plea of the Psalmist for the Lord to give a listening hear and answer his prayers while at the same time encouraging fellow Israelites to wait on the Lord for with him is mercy and redemption.
The Psalmist was sure that sin would not be a hindrance with the Lord as forgiveness also resides with the Lord. The Psalmist identified three basic spiritual states that are necessary for one to have attained so that his/her prayers can be heard namely: forgiveness – vs. 4, mercy – vs. 7, redemption – vs. 7. All these are attributes that only God grants and He does that at his sole discretion. They must be bestowed on an individual before any request by such an individual will be granted because even Grace is dependent on one receiving this three spiritual attributes.
Christians need not be reminded that God as a father only listens to the requests of His children and there is no way an unrepentant sinner can be His child – Jn. 9:31. The mere pronouncement of words and stringing them together to form long sentences containing pleas and requests, rendered in either low tones or very loudly does not mean that all these pronouncements get to God. God will not listen to the prayers of someone he still considers unworthy to come near Him due to sin.
One who desires to come near the throne of Grace must be spiritually and physically acceptable to Him – Ex. 19: 10-11. The only reason why man got separated from God was sin and still remains sin – Gen. 3: 8-13. With Adam and Eve in the garden, their transgression may not have been as important to them as much as their nudity which was the excuse they gave for hiding away from God but as far as God was concerned both states, spiritual and physical mattered. The physical was taken care of easily with a small sacrifice that provided skin for clothing (Gen. 3:21) but the spiritual was going to require a bigger sacrifice – 1Pet. 1:18-20.
It therefore means that removal of sin will restore man to his garden of Eden status where God constantly interacted with man without restriction – Gen. 3:8. However, as simple as this may sound and really is, it requires several deliberate steps on the part of man which remains the only obstacle to this restoration process as there is always willingness on the part of God to accept such overtures – Rom. 10:9.
Man cannot continue to believe that all that is required to have prayers answered by the Lord is to deny oneself of food and sleep and continue to mouth long requests sometimes in clear words and sometimes speaking in tongues – Matt. 7:21. God is not impressed with all these. There has to be a better preparation made for prayers most of which hardly take time but are mostly internal. There is however the possibility of the spiritual state of the individual manifesting in the physical soberness that is noticed by all.
When Christians gather for prayer, there is the need for honest self assessment by each one with regards to his or her readiness for prayers – Matt. 5:23-24. Christian leaders must spend quality time educating their followers on the need to prepare for prayer after all you are going to a meeting with a the great and only one true king. It is not all those physical acts of piety that is not reflective of the spiritual state of the individual that is paramount but a honest spiritual remorse and acknowledgement of the purity and greatness of the person before whom they expect to be – 2Cor. 7:10.
Those three requirements of forgiveness, mercy and salvation are granted only at his discretion (Ex. 33:19) once he is convinced of the genuineness of the intention of those coming to the place of prayer but mere pronouncement of words that imply soberness is not sufficient as He is able to see the heart of men and so is not deceived – Ps. 51:10). Meanwhile most prayers will only be answered if those three attributes are bestowed on men by God. Before any prayer session begins, each individual involved needs to answer the following questions honestly:
1. Have I received or can I receive His forgiveness?
2. Have I received His mercy?
3. Have I received His salvation?
It is with a yes to these questions that one can then begin to wait on the Lord and put hope on him that he will redeem that bad situation as any spiritual condition outside this will only lead to a wasted effort in prayer.
May God grant us the ability to prepare adequately to meet with God at the place of prayer such that all our requests will receive approval in Jesus name. Amen.