June 16, 2015
THE GEORGIA CAPITOL DEVOTIONAL - 16 June 2015
Scripture instructs the believer to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thess 5:17). A primary, biblical text (1 Tim 2:1-4) that is the basis for Capitol Commission’s prayer website – Pray1Tim2 – lists office holders each day as reminders to pray. Scripture provides unambiguous instructions with regard to continual prayer, and especially how believers are to pray for those “in authority,” which if heeded would significantly impact the government and politics of our countries. Of course, the command to pray also involves sending those who will proclaim the good news of God’s grace (Rom 10:14-15).
Let us assume for the moment that we are praying, “without ceasing,” and yet the heavens seem made of brass (cf. Deut 28:23). Could there be circumstances that either halt or hinder our prayers to the Lord God? When I was a child, a telephone number dialed incorrectly would be diverted to an intercept operator who would ask what number I was dialing, and would help determine the reasons for the intercept. Today, there are automatic intercept systems, which state, “We’re sorry; we are unable to complete your call as dialed.”
Prayers are similar to phone calls; both involve talking to someone you believe is there, yet you cannot see them. Scripture reveals that prayers to God pass through only one Operator: the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God (cf. 1 Tim 2:5). Could there ever be reasons why the Lord Jesus would reply to our prayer, “I am sorry; I cannot place that call for you”? If we are attentive to God’s words – as revealed in the Holy Bible (the Communications Guide) – , we will never have to receive those dreaded words.
What are some reasons that prayers to God could either cease or be hindered? Scripture is unambiguous that God is omnipresent and omniscient, thus He hears all prayers, yet may refuse certain prayers for various reasons.
- Faithless Praying: John 9:31. “We know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is God-fearing and does His will, He hears him.
- Bitter Praying: Mark 11:25. “Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions.
- Compassionless Praying: Proverbs 21:13. He who shuts his ear to the cry of the poor will also cry himself and not be answered.
- Hypocritical (Self-righteous) Praying: Matthew 6:5; Luke 12:1. “When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites. . . . “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.
- Idolatrous Praying: Ezekiel 14:3. “Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their hearts and have put right before their faces the stumbling block of their iniquity. Should I be consulted by them at all?
- Personal (Selfish) Praying: James 4:3. You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.
- Iniquitous Praying: Psalm 66:18; Isaiah 59:2. If I regard wickedness in my heart, the Lord will not hear. . . . But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear.
God reveals his will in his Word, the Holy Bible. He tells us much more than we need to tell Him. The life of the believer is hearing and heeding the Bible (Jas 1:23-24). Scripture reveals things for which we should not pray, and even lifestyles that halt or hinder prayers. However, if we are not diligent to study God’s Word regularly, we will not know the will of God (cf. 2 Tim 2:15).
You and I need to be conscientious that we avoid the manner of praying that would cause Jesus to say, “I’m sorry; I cannot place that call for you.” I am delighted that we can learn more from the One who prayed greater than any other: God the Son, the Lord Jesus. We read in the Bible that Jesus woke “in the early morning, while it was still dark . . . and went away to a secluded place, and was praying there” (Mark 1:35). Jesus said, “‘My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work” (John 4:34). Let us abide in God’s Word – the Holy Bible – throughout this week, and manifest spiritual maturity by not only being “a hearer of the word” but also proving ourselves as “doers of the word,” so that our prayers “will not be hindered” (Jas 1:22-23; cf. 1 Pet 3:7).
Your Missionary to Georgia's Leaders,
Ron J. Bigalke, Ph.D.
Capitol Commission Georgia