Precious sisters in Christ,
We all want God to hear and respond to our prayers for ourselves, our families, and everything else. Sometimes, we feel that God is not listening and that is incredibly discouraging. How can we know if He is really listening? Thankfully, the Bible doesn’t hide the truth from us but reveals how we are to approach God so that we can know we will be heard.
Speak to each of our hearts today in these quiet moments. Draw us to Your loving heart. Show us the areas where You want to cleanse us from things that hurt us. Help us to be sensitive to Your Word and Your Spirit. Transform us by Your power. Make us into godly, holy, peaceful women who love You far more than anything or anyone in this world. Pour Your abundant Life and love into us and through us. Make us fruitful for Your kingdom in every area of our lives for Your glory!
There are times God doesn’t listen to our prayers.
Of course God is omnipresent and omniscient. So He knows what we are doing, thinking, and praying. It’s not that he literally “can’t hear us.” But He doesn’t always listen and respond to us. The Bible speaks to this issue in verses like:
- If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened. Ps. 66:18
- If one turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer is an abomination. Prov. 28:9
- Then they will cry to the Lord, but he will not answer them; he will hide his face from them at that time, because they have made their deeds evil. Micah 3:4
- For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil. 1 Pet. 3:12
- You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. James 4:3
God is absolutely holy. If we come to Him, we must first be willing to give up anything He calls sin.
If we come to Him with sinful and selfish motives, or if we are coddling sin in our hearts (any kind of sin), we are not approaching Him properly. He has given us the means to approach Him rightly through Jesus and His finished work on the cross and through the resurrection. And He has given us instructions in His Word about the prerequisites He reqiures for us to approach Him in the Holy of holies.
God Will Always Hear This
If we invite God to show us sin in our lives so that we can repent, He will always answer this prayer.
This is how I got started on my journey 10.5 years ago, actually. I had been praying (demanding) for God to change my husband for over 14 years. But on October 12, 2008, I realized there were serious problems in our marriage. I thought I had been an amazing Christian wife up until that point. For the first time, I humbled myself and laid literally on my face on the floor for 3 days before God in utter desperation, begging Him to show me my sin and to show me if I was doing anything that contributed to the sad state of our marriage.
Within 6 weeks, He opened my eyes to the mountain of sin in my own life to which I had been completely blind for years.
Then I begged Him to change me. I stopped making prideful and self-righteous demands about Greg. I was broken and mortified over my sin and just wanted God to take away my sin and change and heal my life. I consciously decided to completely trust God instead of self. I stepped down off of the “throne” in my life and invited Jesus to sit in His rightful place. It was terrifying, at first. I felt like I was jumping off of a spiritual cliff. But to put all my faith in Christ and to yield to His Lordship over every area of my life brought healing, life, joy, peace, and abundant spiritual blessings over the past ten years. That decision invited the victory and glory and power of God into my life.
He always listens to a sinner who wants to forsake sin and yield his life to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
Praise God! If we humbly pray to ask God to forgive us for our sins and entreat Him to help us in our weaknesses and temptations from a pure heart, simply longing to love and know Him more, He will answer such a prayer.
Prayers God promises to hear:
- And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. Mark 11:25
- If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. John 15:7
- Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. James 5:16
- If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9
- And whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him. 1 John 3:22
- And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. 1 John 5:14
- And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. Heb. 11:6
When we are willing to get rid of all spiritual poison in our lives, and we intensely desire to live holy, righteous lives through Christ, God tunes His ears to our prayers. When we put our faith in God and in the salvation He provides to us through Jesus, He hears us. When we decide to trust His Word and depend on His wisdom and His truth rather than our own understanding, He turns His hearts toward us. When we are willing to ask God to help us forgive others, He forgives us.
When we lay down all of ourselves, all of our hopes and dreams, all that we own, and all of our future and entrust ourselves completely to Him, He gives all of Himself to us. When we long to walk and live in obedience to Him (yielded to the power of the Holy Spirit) out of love, awe, and gratitude for His amazing love and unfathomable provision for us through Jesus, He joyfully receives us. And when we genuinely seek His presence, His glory, His pleasure, and His will far above anything and anyone else, He delights in working all things, the good and the bad in our lives, for our ultimate good and His glory.
Of course, the timing and exactly how He answers is entirely up to Him.
If you want God to work powerfully, mightily, and miraculously in your life and family, if you want His divine healing, if You want to see His miracles, it begins with a willingness to turn away from toxic things that lead to spiritual death and to turn fully to Jesus and the new Life He has for you.
We’d love to hear about how God answered your prayers or times you have felt stuck.
How to Have a Saving Relationship with Christ
What Is Lordship Salvation? by www.gotquestions.org
20 Signs God Is About to Do Something AMAZING in Someone’s Life
The Spiritual Healing That Is Available to Each of Us in Christ
Why Should I Trust God? Why Should I Submit to His Lordship?
The Cure for My Compulsion to Control
Is Avoiding Arguing Really Possible?
Is It Possible to Disrespect Myself?
Where Do Hatred, Rage, and Violence Fit into Our Lives As Believers in Christ?
Join Me for a 3 Week Fast from Negative Words
An Incredible Story of Forgiveness
Do I Have a Spirit of Offense?
If I Insult Others, I Need a Spiritual Checkup, ASAP!
8 Practical Tips to Put the Brakes on Complaining
How to Make Your Husband an Idol
Examining the Real Motives Behind Perfectionism and People Pleasing
The Pain That Pushes Us to Try to Control
What Does the Bible Say about Self-Righteousness? by www.gotquestions.org
What Does the Bible Say about Pride? by www.gotquestions.org
Top 5 Pitfalls on This Journey
I have always wondered about whether or not God will answer us if we are indeed, in a sin situation yet are crying out to Him for direction in what to do about it. Not all wrong situations can be immediately forsaken but involves a process of changing one’s mind and then making decisions to take actions that put things on the right footing. I am put in mind of a situation in a church I attended years ago. A young couple had become Christians. They had been in a committed relationship though common law not traditional marriage, and had a yours/mine/ours/ children situation. The gal in the situation additionally had a disability that meant she needed her common law partner’s assistance.
They approached our pastor about their situation and their desire to take care of anything that wasn’t proper by marrying the traditional way. A very vehement and confrontational couple in the church wanted them to be immediately put under church discipline for their sin. The pastor explained to them that they had not been saved long, were working on setting a wedding date and trying to set things right and that they needed to give them a little grace and have some compassion on the fact that there were children involved who would be very distressed if one parent moved out of the house. The couple insisting that they needed to be put under discipline was not happy with this and certain that God agreed with them and when they could not succeed in convincing the pastor of their view, left in a huff.
So in reading this article and thinking of this couple and others like them, I would wonder if God would hear the prayers of folks like these, whose lives may not be free of sin but who are wiling to hear God and make corrections.
As far as I am concerned, we are all in sin situations because we all have sin in our hearts. There is public sin like living together out of wedlock and private sin like hanging onto resentment. We all need to take steps to correct our sin situations- like getting married to resolve cohabitation or working on forgiveness in our hearts. God always hears our prayers because God loves us all deeply.
We do all have sin to deal with on a daily basis. And, yes! God loves us so very deeply. Isn’t that the best news in the world?!
And yet, He does call us to deal with sin thoroughly, as much as we are able to understand and know at the moment, so that we are in right relationship and in fellowship with Him. He does call us to holiness and then He provides the power and means for us in Christ and His work on our behalf.
Our prayers are most effective when we seek to repent of all known sin and when we are willing to obey God, even when it is painful or inconvenient. Sometimes we are not aware of our sin, like I wasn’t all those years. And I didn’t see God change my marriage or heal my husband during that time. I believe, in my particular case, it was because my prayers were being hindered by my pride, self-righteousness, bitterness, worry, unbelief in God, idolatry, disrespect for God and my husband, and my having Self on the throne of my heart. I was blind to my sin, sadly. It had gone unaddressed for so long. But when I began to truly invite God to show me the sin in my life, He graciously answered and gave me the opportunity to repent and to seek to change course to honor Him.
I still often invite Him to show me sin in my life. In fact, I did that this morning, again. We can easily have blind spots at any time in our Christian walk. I believe daily confession of all known sins is wise – or we can even confess the moment we realize we had a sinful thought or motive and immediately repent and take that thought captive.
How glad I am that God is gracious and merciful toward us because of His love. He understands our weaknesses. And He is also able to open our blinded eyes and help us to see toxic things in our lives, as we welcome Him to work in our lives. He is so very good!
Thanks for sharing!
Things can sure get complicated where human are involved. How wonderful that this couple was saved!! Praise God! ????
You know, it seems to me that there were additional options that may have been considered that could have been both expedient and gracious.
I think it is amazing this precious couple wanted to seek to do things God’s way.
It can be a bit time consuming to plan a traditional wedding and to find a date and make preparations. That is very true.
Thankfully, a big wedding isn’t required to honor the Lord and His Word. They could have had a sweet service with just the pastor and a witness or two (with a a marriage license) and their children, even, to make things legal and Christ-honoring right away. Then, if they wanted to, they could have a bigger service later at a date and place where friends and family could all join them and celebrate with them.
I don’t think it is helpful or Christlike to be hateful to new believers who are trying to make things right. There are loving, godly ways to approach tough situations that could be a win for everyone, if we are open to the Spirit’s leading and the Word.
We are called away from habitual sin. As we grow and mature in Christ, there should be less and less sin in our lives as we submit ourselves to God’s purification and sanctification process. We will always have more room for growth. But we should have lives that are transformed by His power and that are different from our old lives. We should be abiding in Him and allowing His Word and Spirit to abide in us.
This is exciting news! We can choose to live in the power of Christ and die to our old sinful self in every day life. God can help us do this. And boy, do we need His help every moment! We can’t live in victory over sin on our own.
1 John 3:6-10 ESV
No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God's seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.
Hebrews 10:26 ESV
For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,
2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
Hi April, great to hear your thoughts. I seem to remember that they wanted to have a proper wedding but they could not afford to do so right away. But I think you are right, it was more important to remove themselves from a sin situation than it was to have a lovely traditional wedding. That part could have come later.
I have realized from my own personal situational experiences that even with the best of intentions as far as honoring God and walking right goes, life can get messy and complicated and sometimes we can wind up in some difficult positions that take some time and patience to sort out.
Things can get very messy and confusing for us, sometimes. But I believe that as we are willing to say, “Lord, I am willing to do anything, whatever it takes, to get rid of all sin in my life, no matter how inconvenient or what the cost, just show me Your way,” that God will graciously show us the way out.
I don’t know of any Scripture passage that allows a believer to knowingly stay in a sinful situation. All of Scripture exhorts us to get out of sin immediately. I believe God will provide a way for us to do that as we are willing to seek it wholeheartedly.
If we purposely stay in sin for a prolonged period of time, we forfeit so many blessings. We forfeit close fellowship with the Spirit, we give the enemy authority and access in our lives. We forfeit the power of the Spirit to help us and we don’t walk in God’s peace and joy. We sear our own conscience and it becomes more and more confusing and more difficult to hear God’s voice clearly. We also place ourselves under God’s discipline.
Sometimes we may not know what to do. Sometimes things are a huge mess. Sometimes we may need a godly mentor to help us sort things out. But I believe God can and will show us the way to go if we are completely committed to tearing out any sin in our lives. And I believe He will heal our souls when we are willing to do that.
No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. 1 Cor. 10:13
Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. Gal. 5:18-21
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. Gal. 5:16
No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother. 1 John 3:6-10
This is GOOD NEWS! There IS a way out from sin in Jesus. He can set us free!
God loves us so much! He has provided the way out of sin for us through Jesus and His work on our behalf on the cross. He doesn’t want us to continue to suffer on and on in sin but to come to Him for cleansing and new life.
Here is a post that may be a blessing about this topic. And here is one more. I want to see all of us live in the freedom of Christ and in the power of His Spirit and not be weighed down by the sin that so easily entangles us.
Much love, dear sisters!
And here is a post about sanctification. Progressive sanctification and positional sanctification. It may also help bring some light to this.
I don’t want anyone to be discouraged, my precious sisters! The Lord knows our weakness and our total dependence on Him. Spiritual maturity does take time. It is an ongoing process for our whole lives. But we don’t have to be slaves to sin anymore. We don’t have to live a lifestyle of sin. We can choose to let God work powerfully in us more and more as we learn to die to self and submit fully to Him.
If it doesn’t seem to make sense, or I am not explaining things well, let’s talk through it more and pray together for one another. <3
Hi April and SevenTimes,
I stumbled upon an amazing quote from St. Augustine
“Let us never assume that if we live good lives we will be without sin; our lives should be praised only when we continue to beg for pardon. But men are hopeless creatures, and the less they concentrate on their own sins, the more interested they become in the sins of others. They seek to criticize, not to correct. Unable to excuse themselves, they are ready to accuse others.”
It’s basically a more detailed spin on Jesus’ words “Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own eye? (Matthew 7:3).”
If we concentrate on our own sinfulness and lived in continuous repentance and keep asking God to open our eyes to our sin, we would grow in holiness.
If we focus on the sins and failings of others, we would only grow in wretchedness.
Thanks for sharing this.
Yes, we are in the best position when we are most interested in taking care of our own sin and issues. I can vouch for the truth of this in my life, for sure!
Of course, there are times we need to lovingly address our brother/sister in Christ. But it must be done out of love, humility, and with complete realization that we are all equally incapable of doing anything good on our own apart from Jesus and His power. And the goal must always be restoration to fellowship with Christ and others, not condemnation or self-righteousness.
That has much to chew on for sure, I had never heard that quote from Augustine before. But I would agree with it. It is very disheartening how quickly we can go from humility and thankful dependence on God because we see our true position before Him and our need of Him, to ” thanks God, but I got this” and then to arrogance and selfish demand. Its like falling into quicksand. It is indeed, an experience of wretchedness.
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