Praying From A Right Heart
(Teacher: Stormie Omartian)
Read and Consider: Psalm 66:1-20
“If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened; but God has surely listened and heard my voice in prayer. Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me!” (Psalm 66:18-20)
“The good thing about prayer—or the problem with prayer, depending on our perspective—is that we have to go to God to do it. This means we can’t get away with anything. It means that any negative thoughts, bad attitudes, hardness of heart, or selfish motives are going to be revealed by the Lord. Fervent and honest prayer causes the depths of our hearts to be exposed. That can be uncomfortable. Even downright miserable. The verses above make it crystal clear that if we have any unforgiveness, bitterness, selfishness, pride, anger, irritation, or resentment in our hearts, our prayers will not be answered. Our hearts have to be right when we pray.
In the same way, God wants us to be right with others before we take our concerns or even our acts of service —our “gifts”—to Him. In what is called The Sermon on the Mount, Jesus explicitly instructed His followers on the importance of setting things right: “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift” (Matthew 5:23-24).
All of us jeopardize our own prayers when we don’t pray them from a right heart. What is in our hearts when we pray has more effect on whether our prayers are answered than the actual prayer itself. That’s why, when we come before God to pray, He asks us to first confess anything in our hearts that shouldn’t be there. He does that so nothing will separate us from Him.
If you ever feel as if your prayers are not being heard, examine your heart and ask God to clearly reveal anything that you might need to confess before Him. Then that joy David felt will be your joy as well.”
(Stormie Omartian will now lead us in prayer.)
Lord, I don’t want to entertain sin in my heart. I want my heart to be right before You so that You will always hear my prayers. I know I don’t do everything perfectly, so I ask that by the power of Your Holy Spirit You will enable me to keep my heart pure and my hands clean. Thank You for loving me and helping me do what is right in Your sight.