November 3 I Saturday
“If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened; but God has surely listened and has heard my prayer.” —Psalm 66:18-19
We are all blessed with the incredible privilege of voicing our hearts and minds directly with God, but sadly, there are many people who are reluctant to pray. It is not easy to be exposed, to have our hearts open and naked before God. Some of us are frightened of this sense of intimacy and keep things buried inside as a protection or defence mechanism. When God wants to go deeper
and deal with the strongholds in our lives, the best defence against that is to not pray. But nothing is hidden from God.
Henri Nouwen, author of 39 books on spirituality, writes this about prayer: “Praying is no easy matter. It demands a relationship in which you allow someone other than yourself to enter into the very center of your person, to see there what you would rather leave in darkness, and to touch there what you would rather leave untouched. Why would you really want to do that? Perhaps you would let the other cross your inner threshold to see something or touch something, but to allow the other into that place where your intimate life is shaped—that is dangerous and calls for defense.”
It is in the secret place of communion with God that our hearts are scrutinized. Sometimes our lack of communion with Him is a defence against parts of our hearts we would rather leave untouched because some of our sins we actually enjoy. Though we know they always demand a bitter price in the end, in our weakness, we still hold on to them. We all battle with sin and temptation, but if we cherish sin, accept it, tolerate it, defend or rationalize it, rather than battle with it, we will lose touch with God. Sin gives its rewards only for a season, but when we come to God in prayer, our sin is dealt with and the reward is huge.
The one place we can be absolutely disarmingly honest about our hearts is alone with God. He will not be shocked; it will not be out of His depth. We can try to bury our sin and hope it will go away, but it will not until it is poured out in the open. In our reluctance to pray, we not only deprive ourselves of intimacy with God but of all that He would otherwise do in our lives. Prayer is both the cause and effect of our intimacy with God. We may have to wrestle with getting into that place of being alone and honest with Him, but this is what opens the door for deeper fellowship and paves the way for God to work in our lives.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, You know my heart and where there are things holding me back from praying. Break through my defences and help me to be honest with You. Thank You, God.
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