January 6 I Wednesday
“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
There are times when our prayers are hindered because of sin. This does not mean if we have sin that our prayers will not be answered, because sinlessness is not an option available to us. 1 John 1:8 tells us, “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” Although we profess faith in Christ, confess our sins and receive forgiveness for our sins, our salvation does not mean we have a sinless life. We live with the fact that we do fail and will fall into sin.
Psalm 66:18 best explains why our prayers are hindered because of sin: “If I had cherished sin in my heart, the LORD would not have listened…” David writes that psalm pointing to the fact that our prayers are not answered when we cherish sin in our heart, where we are holding on to sin and not dealing with it and confessing it.
David’s famous confession after committing adultery with Bathsheba is in Psalm 51. David talks about his transgressions, and the barrier his sin has put between him and God. As David realizes the destructiveness of his sin in light of God’s holy standard, he falls to his knees, broken in spirit and heart. At the heart of David’s confession, he cries, “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10).
David understands the beauty in brokenness and contrition as he humbly submits to God’s gracious truth, that he is a sinner. He is well aware, if he cherishes sin in his heart, the gates of heaven are closed to him when he prays. This is why, even with David’s shortcoming, he is still recognized as “a man after [God’s] own heart” (Acts 13:22).
When we pray, we need to soberly deal with the barrier of sin preventing God from working in our lives and circumstances. We ought to consciously live in a spirit of repentance. Would we take some time today to reflect on our lives and honestly answer: is there a secret sin that we are not dealing with? We will find that there will always be weakness and besetting sins in our life, but are we ready to confess them to God again and again? When our attitude towards God is one of repentance, even when we do fail, like David we will not cherish the sin in our heart, but readily confess, “Lord, I’m sorry.” And God cleanses us. May we live in a spirit of repentance, consciously seeking to be men and women after God’s own heart.
Prayer: Lord God, I confess the hidden sin that I am cherishing and I lay it before You. Create in me a clean heart, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Thank You, Lord.