Yes! There absolutely is!!!
I spent up to four hours a day praying during those first 14 years of our marriage. God wasn’t answering my prayers. Why, in my case, was He not listening to me?
If I had cherished sin in my heart,
the Lord would not have listened. Psalm 66:18
I have to choose. I can have Jesus or I can have my sin. I can’t have both!
God doesn’t make us change. He is a gentleman and doesn’t force Himself on us. He allows us to choose sin and misery if we want it. Or we can have Him, real spiritual Life, the power of His Spirit, and victory over sin. But we can’t have both sin and Jesus. We must choose one or the other. We can’t just sit around and be upset with God that He won’t change us. That choice is ours to make!
Sometimes wives say to me, “I have been praying. Praying isn’t doing anything. There must be more to it than that.”
There is! Yes!!! We must be willing to completely and totally surrender ourselves and all of our control and all that we want and cherish to the control of Jesus as LORD of all in our lives. He doesn’t answer prayers for those who do not know, love, trust, and obey Him – other than prayers of repentance (turning away from wrong doing).
If we want our prayers to be heard – we must be willing to give up anything that God places His finger on in our lives – sin, wrong motives, desires, dreams, all of our possessions, our bodies, our lives, our time, our health, our families… Jesus is worthy of us giving our ALL to Him. He certainly gave ALL for us! We must be willing to hold all things but Christ loosely in our hands. We must totally give up our will and Self for Him.
Then He will hear our prayers, forgive our sins, and begin to radically transform us into the image of Christ. But He must be Lord of our lives, not just Savior. Those who love Him obey Him (John 14:23-24). Those who don’t obey Him – according to Jesus – don’t love Him. We must be in right relationship with God in order for God to hear our prayers. We come to Him through what Jesus did for us – not through any goodness in our own strength. We are totally dependent on the death of Christ on our behalf and His grace for our salvation. And when we do come to Him, we are totally dependent on Jesus living in and through us to empower us to walk in obedience. We can’t do any of this in our own power!
One of the evidences of salvation is that we have a desire to obey and please our Lord. If we cherish sin in our hearts and desire sin more than we desire Christ – something is horribly wrong spiritually.
The sin that I cherished in my heart that separated me from God and grieved His Spirit in my life:
Pride, thinking I was so much more spiritual than other people, a critical spirit, bitterness, unforgiveness, doubt (toward God), worry, fear, gossip, unbelief in God, lack of trust in Him, I had self on the throne of my life rather than Christ, lack of submission to Christ as Lord, disrespect toward God, disrespect toward Greg, idolatry of several things (things I wanted more than Jesus in my heart – control, my way, happiness, romance, my vision of marriage, etc…).
Until I am willing to lay down EVERYTHING I have, EVERYTHING I am, and EVERYTHING I might ever be – I am not allowing Jesus to be fully Lord. And I will be stuck in misery.
This is the path to the healing, blessings, joy, and peace of God in our lives.
- Total surrender to Him.
- Total trust in Him.
- Total faith in Him.
Knowing Him more, loving Him more, obeying Him, His will, and His glory become the most important things in my life.
It often takes some intense wrestling in prayer to get to this place. It did for me! And it is scary at first. But once you do truly trust Christ and He begins to work in your life, you realize the scary place to be is trusting yourself and the best place to be is trusting God.
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done. Matthew 16:24-27
If you are afraid to trust God – study His character and His attributes and discover who He truly is! Ask Him to change your heart so that you desire Him more than anything else in the world. Ask Him to show you your sin and to help you hate it as much as He does. Ask Him to give you faith to come to Him! He will do it – if you are willing to give all of yourself to Him.