“If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me: But verily God hath heard me; he hath attended to the voice of my prayer. Blessed be God, which hath not turned away my prayer, nor his mercy from me.” (Psalm 66:18-20)
Have you ever tried to make a phone call and received a “call failed” message? This can be very frustrating to those of us who are accustomed to instant, unhindered connectivity with our phones. When you try to call someone and receive the “call failed” message, there can be many reasons why your call isn’t going through. It is obvious, however, that there is something blocking your phone from connecting with the person you are trying to call. When this happens, people will do whatever they can to get that clear, instant, unhindered connectivity back in use. We will go out of our way and act with urgency in order to remove hindrances to our cell phone connections. But do we have that same sense of urgency in removing hindrances in our connectivity with God through prayer? Our greatest concern and sense of urgency ought to be directed towards removing anything that might hinder our prayer connectivity with God!
Have you ever prayed to God and felt that you were receiving the message- “prayer failed”? Has it ever seemed that there was something between you and God that hindered your prayer life? There are many things that can hinder our open line of communication with God- lack of forgiveness, doubt, disregard for God’s Word. In Psalm 66:18, we see one of the most common “prayer blockers” that can ensnare any believer in Christ. It says, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me…” Unconfessed sin can be one of the greatest hindrances to our prayer life. The verse makes it clear that if I “regard iniquity in my heart”- meaning, “If, having seen it to be there, I continue to gaze upon it without aversion; if I cherish it, have a side glance of love toward it, excuse it, and palliate it” (R. Gordon) then “the Lord will not hear me”. The Psalmist is speaking of the willful acceptance of sin into our lives. When this happens, God will not give attention to or consider our prayers. The very thought of this potentially happening should seriously concern any Christ follower.
The Psalmist continues in v. 19-20 by saying, “But verily God hath heard me; he hath attended to the voice of my prayer. Blessed be God, which hath not turned away my prayer, nor his mercy from me.” It is clear from these verses that the Psalmist did not hold onto or cherish his sin. Rather, through confession and forsaking of his sin, his prayer was heard. The line of communication was opened. The joy of clear communication with God had returned!
What about you? Has your prayer life grown stagnant? Is there something hindering your prayers? Are you receiving the message- “prayer failed” when you cry out to God? Although prayer can be hindered by various things, we ought to check our hearts daily to see if there is any unconfessed sin that needs to be rooted out through confession and repentance. There is nothing so joyous to the Christian as sweet communion with Christ through an open line of prayer.
~Pastor Aaron Francis