One major obstacle to effective praying is pride. James 4:6 says, “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” The word “resists” used in some translations means “opposes.” It is an old military term. It denotes that God has set Himself in military opposition to those who are proud in heart. Thus, there is no room for pride in the heart of the one who seeks to be intimate with God.
Pride compares us to others. Humility compares our lives to Jesus. When we look at others, we can always find a reason to boast. We may not be what we ought to be. However, we think that we’re better than the other brother or sister in Christ. But when we see Jesus, we can only fall on our face and cry out, “Oh, God, have mercy on me. I have failed so miserably. I am so unlike the Savior.”
Pride compares us to others to find someone that has not lived up to our standards. But humility does not look upon men. It only looks on God. Therefore, a praying heart will always be a humble heart. There is no room in the inner chamber of prayer for pride.
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On the other hand, God’s grace is extended to the humble of heart. There’s only one way that any of God’s creation can experience intimacy with Him—by God’s grace. Amazing grace. Marvelous grace. Because God is absolute purity, none of us can stand in His presence outside of grace being applied to our hearts. We have the ability to draw near to a holy God because of His grace. That grace is applied to the heart that is rooted and founded upon humility.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner! Forgive my pride-filled self and pour a spirit of humility upon my heart. Thank You for Your precious grace that allows me to draw near in prayer and to enjoy intimate fellowship with You.
–Adapted from Giving Ourselves to Prayer: An Acts 6:4 Primer for Ministry (Chapter 37, Hindrances to Effective Prayer by Sammy Tippit). This book is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount.
Praise God, your Father and great Teacher. Give thanks for teachers and mentors who helped make your paths straight (Prov. 3:6). Confess that you sometimes focus more on their quirks than their virtues. Commit yourself to noticing the good in those who can teach you more about faith. Ask God how you can best support education in your church.
Claim the Holy Spirit’s power to woo family members or friends who say Christianity makes no sense.
“A man’s state before God may always be measured by his prayers.” —J. C. Ryle
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