***Please see special note at the end of this devotion!
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.
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.
–Adapted from Giving Ourselves to Prayer: An Acts 6:4 Primer for Ministry (Chapter 37, Hindrances to Effective Prayer by Sammy Tippit).
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.
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
–Prayer Points taken from Patterns for Prayer by Alvin VanderGriend
***Special Note for September 28 – November 6 (Election Day): Prayer is critical to any nation, especially a nation that proclaims a connection to God. The United States historically had claimed such a connection. But things have changed. We are living in days that most call post-Christian. The drift from our Judeo-Christian foundation is evident in almost every aspect of our society. That leads us back to prayer. It’s time to pray for America. For the next 40 days, Connection! will be focused upon praying for our nation leading up to Election Day, November 6. Each day’s devotion will be adapted from the new book, Desperate for Change by David Butts. The book is not time sensitive, so these devotions can be prayed over and over again for America in this critical hour. Each daily devotion is based upon a passage of Scripture. The author states, “The Scriptures used here must be used carefully. Sometimes a promise was made particularly to Israel as a theocracy (a nation whose leader was God). Because of this, you cannot just pull any promise made to Israel and automatically apply it to the United States or any other nation. But many of these promises are based on spiritual principles that can be carefully applied to our nation. I have attempted to do so, under the leadership of the Holy Spirit.”
Our prayer is that you will be blessed and our nation will experience spiritual awakening!