When we approach God in prayer, we could come with one of two attitudes. We either believe that God is the hope for our cause and that because of our devotion to him, we should expect our prayer to be answered or we are unsure of his response because we see ourselves as unworthy.
Both extremes are incorrect. Many times because we feel unworthy, our faith is diminished hindering God from responding and answering our prayers. Have you ever met someone who felt that they had sinned too much and could not be saved? However, there are other occasions when people feel that because they have abstained from sinful actions and live a separated life for God that they are more likely to be heard. In all truth, there is not one person who ever lived righteously enough to deserve an answer to prayer.
When we start thinking that we deserve something from God, we move from humble created being to proud mimic of Lucifer. The ugliness of pride can creep into our lives without us even knowing it and when it does, it is subtle and usually undetected. The heart is still deceitful above all things.
Have you ever been bothered because God did not answer a prayer. If you have, it was because of pride. Will God answer prayer? Yes! Will it ever be based on our worthiness? No! but remember, there are two things that hinder faith: doubt and pride.
Why is it that sometimes God hears my prayers and at other times does not? What determines if God will hear them? When I need God, I want to make sure that he is attentive to my requests. As a sinner, I know that I sin daily, but there have been times that God seemed to hear my prayers in spite of me sinning. Why is that so?
The affection of your heart determines God’s attention to your prayer. (If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me: Psalms 66:18). It is not so much the sin, but the affection that our heart has towards it that motivates his response. When we regard sin in our heart, we are holding it dear to ourselves. Our heart’s focus is on the sin and our desire to keep and enjoy it. It is this heart condition that is really divided against God, which causes him not to be attentive to our prayers.
Remember when you were lost in your sin? You then heard the gospel and your heart was changed. Instead of wanting to hold on to your sin or have regard for it, you disdained it. You experienced what the bible calls repentance. It was that change of heart that brought attention to your call to the savior. I remember calling out to Jesus throughout my entire childhood to have him as savior. I believed he was the savior. I knew he died on the cross to pay for my sins, but my heart kept getting in the way. It was not until I was nearly 22 years of age before my heart was changed and that change made all the difference with my prayer. No longer was I regarding sin in my heart and finally my prayer was answered.
Remember, it isn’t any different today. We still sin and we still need God to answer our prayers. Thankfully we do not need to live a sinless life in order to get prayers answered. What we do need is a heart that wants God instead of wanting to hold on to sin.