Site Meter
|The Thirsty Theologian| |Sola Gratia| |Sola Fide| |Solus Christus| |Sola Scriptura| |Soli Deo Gloria| |Semper Reformanda|
|The Thirsty Theologian| |Sola Gratia| |Sola Fide| |Solus Christus| |Sola Scriptura| |Soli Deo Gloria| |Semper Reformanda|

Previous · Home · Next

Payers God Will Not Hear


image

Very few prohibitions regarding prayer are found in the Scriptures. In Psalm 66:18, the psalmist David penned these divinely inspired words: “If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.” The Hebrew verse could also be translated, “If I had iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have heard.”

In either case, David is laying down a condition under which his prayer not only would be ineffective but unheard. The Hebrew word translated “cherished” is raah, meaning merely “to see.” In other words, if I look at my life and see sin and nurture it, my prayers are an exercise in futility.

Does this mean that if sin is present in our lives, God refuses to hear our prayers? No. If this were so, all prayer would be futile. However, if our hearts are hardened in a spirit of impenitence, our prayers are not only futile but a mockery of God.

In Psalm 66, David reminds himself that there is a time when prayer is a presumptuous, arrogant, detestable, and obnoxious deed perpetrated upon the Almighty. This psalm opens with seventeen verses of joy and praise to God for His mighty deeds. Then, suddenly, there appears in verse 18 the grim reminder of how the entire story could have been drastically different. We are alerted to the importance of properly approaching God in prayer. If there is anything worse than not praying, it is praying in an unworthy manner.

Other Scripture references reflect this attitude. Psalm 109:7 suggests that the prayers of wicked men should be counted as sin. John 9:31 specifically states that the Lord does not hear sinners. Proverbs 15:29 says, “The Lord is far from the wicked, but he hears the prayer of the righteous.” Proverbs 28:9 says that the prayer of the disobedient or rebellious is an “abomination” to the Lord. It is disgusting or loathsome to Him.

James, however, tells us that the prayers of righteous men accomplish much (5:16). But we are not righteous in our daily lives. Yes, we are clothed with the righteousness of Christ, so that as far as our position before God is concerned, we are righteous. But the practical manifestation of what we are in Christ is sadly inconsistent and woefully inadequate.

Theologians sometimes define a concept by saying what something does not say as well as by what it does say. What the psalmist is not saying is that if he had been guilty of sin, the Lord would not have heard him. The psalmist is not saying that if he had sin in his heart, God would not have heard him.

—R. C. Sproul, Does Prayer Change Things? (Tyndale, 2009), 67–69.



Posted 2018·04·02 by David Kjos
Share this post: Buffer
Email Print
Posted in: Does Prayer Change Things? · Prayer · R C Sproul

← Previous · Home · Next →



Who Is Jesus?


The Gospel
What It Means to Be a Christian


Norma Normata
What I Believe


Westminster Bookstore


Comments on this post are closed. If you have a question or comment concerning this post, feel free to email me.