Daily D – Isaiah 59:1-2
Indeed, the LORD’s arm is not too weak to save, and his ear is not too deaf to hear. But your iniquities are separating you from your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not listen.
ISAIAH 59:1-2 (CSB)
A university student has lived with us this summer. He serves as a youth intern at the church we attend. He is a delightful young man and so full of joy. He leaves to go back to school in a few days. Precisely when depends on the condition of his car. Every time he prepares for a long journey, something goes wrong with his ride.
He is taking his car to a local repair shop Monday morning. They promise they can have any issues diagnosed within a couple of hours. Necessary repairs can begin shortly thereafter.
An old friend and I drifted apart and stayed that way for over a decade. He was struggling with some issues in prayer without peace. He called me one day out of the blue to seek my forgiveness. The only problem with this tender moment on the telephone was that he had to initiate it. I should have done that years before.
From time to time, and now and again, we experience something akin to a prayer blockage. Pray as earnestly as we might, as intensely as we know how, it feels like God is not listening. There could be any number of reasons why our prayers are not answered. This text points out one significant one, sin.
Unconfessed sin is a prayer blocker. Sin we are uninterested in turning away from interferes with prayer delivery and reception. Is there a sin you cherish? Is there a sin you prefer not to agree on with God? Is there a sin you excuse because you don’t think it’s any big deal in this day and age?
If nothing comes to mind, take time to pray what King David prayed in several of his noteworthy prayers:
Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my concerns.
See if there is any offensive way in me;
lead me in the everlasting way.
(Psalm 139:23, 24)
This is prayer diagnostics at its best. This leads to seeing ourselves and our sins from God’s perspective so that we may agree with him and turn away from them to his better, life-giving choices.
Do not fear praying this kind of prayer. Our Father in heaven points out problems not to humiliate us or to make us feel bad. He points them out so that we may be reconciled with him and with others. He wants to restore our relationships with him and with others. He wants to say Yes to our prayers.
Let’s give him every opportunity to do so by getting out of our own way. God always listens to those who want to experience forgiveness, restoration, reconciliation, and renewal.
Our Father, search me. Know my heart. Test me and know my concerns. See if there is any offensive way in me. Lead me in the everlasting way. Amen.
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Psalm 139:17, 18 How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me!
2 Corinthians 5:1-5 For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands. We grow weary in our present bodies, and we long to put on our heavenly bodies like new clothing. For we will put on heavenly bodies; we will not be spirits without bodies. While we live in these earthly bodies, we groan and sigh, but it’s not that we want to die and get rid of these bodies that clothe us. Rather, we want to put on our new bodies so that these dying bodies will be swallowed up by life. God himself has prepared us for this, and as a guarantee he has given us his Holy Spirit.
1 Corinthians 10:13 The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.