Recently I was asked to give the benediction at our graduation this year. But, while I felt completely honored, I was also terrified. Recently, my prayer life has felt dead, like I am just talking to a brick wall, like God is refusing to hear me.
So when I imagined myself getting up on that stage, I did not see myself praying to the Living God, no, I saw myself talking to a brick wall. I needed to resuscitate my prayer life in a week. And I had no idea what to do.
So I turned to Scripture. I wanted to know why God seems to hear some prayers and not others. But what I didn’t realize at the time was that God gives us that answer very clearly in the story of King Josiah.
Because your heart was responsive and you humbled yourself before God when you heard what he spoke against this place and its people, and because you humbled yourself before me and tore your robes and wept in my presence, I have heard you, declares the Lord.2 Chronicles 34:27
God heard Josiah’s prayers for a few reasons:
- Josiah’s heart was responsive
- He humbled himself
- He tore his robes
- And finally he wept before God
He heard Josiah because Josiah’s heart had responded to God. God heard Josiah because He saw that Josiah was genuine.
Now we have all experienced a “dead prayer life” at some point or another, when anything that you think to say to God doesn’t feel right, it feels like He doesn’t hear you, not for any specific reason, but you just get this feeling.
What is the proper solution to this situation? Most people, including myself, seem to think that we just need to pray more. But this goes directly against what Jesus tells us:
And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.Matthew 6:7
So then what should we do?
And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.Ephesians 6:18
Ephesians tells us that we need to pray “in the Spirit.” In order to do this, we need to do as Josiah did.
First, we need to humble ourselves, and realize that we can not have a healthy prayer life of our own. We need to recognize that we need the Holy Spirit to help us in our prayer lives.
And, secondly, we need to have a responsive heart. This means that we have to be willing to pray about whatever the Holy Spirit puts on our heart. We have to recognize his prompting and pray with Him, through Christ, to God.
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