How’s your prayer life these days? Has God been answering your prayers? Can you look back over your life and see times when God has answered you? I hope so. If you and I are really walking with God, we should have some experiential knowledge of God’s answers to prayer. Sometimes He might answer “No” or “Wait” but not always. I think that the reason most Christians don’t experience answers to prayer is simple--they don’t really pray very often. Could that be true for you? Sometimes, there could be another reason God doesn’t respond to our prayer. Let’s consider that reason as we listen to one of the Bible’s most intimate psalms:
Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life. (Psalm 139:23-24)
The late theologian Ole Hallesby once said, “When we go to our meeting with God, we should go like a patient to his doctor, first to be thoroughly examined and afterwards to be treated for our ailment. Then something will happen when you pray.” I like that---it’s all about being transparent with God and then being open to His correction. Today’s passage bears that out. The psalmist is crying out to God, “Here’s my heart, Lord; take a look around, tell me what needs fixing, and then let’s deal with it, and lead me forward from there.” Do you trust God enough to pray a prayer like that? Sometimes that’s the hardest part! I have a favorite saying: “We have to start from where we are--not from where we wish we were.” When we go to God in prayer we need to start from a position of true honesty. We can’t try to deceive Him about who we really are and at the same time, expect Him to respond in the way we prayed. Besides that, let's face it--God already knows! He knows hidden wickedness that we don’t know ourselves. This practice of asking God to identify areas in our hearts and lives that need changing is therapeutic, powerful, and life-transforming. We all want God to answer our prayers but we don't always want Him to deal with our secret sin.
What about you? Are you willing to ask God to search you and know you? And then, to start making changes in you…today?