Holiness – it is a subject that seems to have been lost in the shuffle at the end of the second millennium. It has been forgotten in light of the fact that most of us aren’t living holy lives and have, therefore, very little to say to others about holiness.
Why am I talking about holiness as related to prayer? For too long I have focused on giving people the tools to pray better and more effectively, not realizing that without holiness, prayers can go unanswered. This is not telling God what He can’t do…He can do whatever He wants. Instead, it is recognizing that God normally does not answer the prayers of those who are not making every effort to walk in holiness. God Himself lays it out for us very clearly in His Word:
“If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.” (Psalm 66:18)
“Your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear.” (Isaiah 59:2)
“Who may ascend the hill of the Lord? Who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false. He will receive blessing from the Lord and vindication from God his Savior. Such is the generation of those who seek Him, who seek Your face, O God of Jacob.” (Psalm 24:3-6)
Holy God, how often I have barged into Your Presence unprepared and unrepentant! Draw my heart towards a life of holiness before You and transform my heart so that I might ascend the hill of the Lord and stand in the holy place of prayer.
–Adapted from the article Personal Holiness: Unlocking the Door to Effective Prayer by Dave Butts, author of the book Desperate for Change: Forty Days of Prayer for America. This resource is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount on the book.
Give praise to God who is the ruler of all things (1 Chron. 29:12). Thank him for his mighty and powerful acts. Confess times when you’ve questioned God’s power by trusting in your own strength. Commit yourself to exalting God in everything you do this week. Ask him to give you strength to live for him.
Pray by name for an unsaved friend, relative, or coworker. Ask God to open this person’s spiritual eyes to the wonder of new life in Christ.
“Prayer is obedience! God’s command and promise is our motive for prayer.” —John Calvin
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