IS GOD OBLIGATED?

    Is God Obligated to Answer ALL of Our Prayers?

                                                                                                 —   Mary A. LaClair

        God

2 Chron 7:14-15

14 if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.  RSV          (emphasis mine)

praying hands lady                       praying hands man

 

 

Because our land needs healing, let’s unpack this often quoted verse to its fullest.  This verse is often heard with emphasis on the words “pray”.  But that is not all this verse is saying. Not to be overlooked or diminished, which I think is happening, is the equally important phrase, “and turn from their wicked ways”.

How many times have we heard that part emphasized recently?  The emphasis has been mostly on the word “pray”.

What happens if we do in fact pray, but do not in fact turn from our wicked ways?

Is God obligated to fulfill His part of the bargain …….if we do not meet or fulfill the ‘and’ words?

pray …AND seek… AND turn ….They are verbs – action words, if you will.

Who needs to take these actions? We need to know to whom this is addressed.  Is it addressed to all people in general? Is it to God’s people?  Who are God’s people?  It tells us who they are. The ones ‘called by His Name’. The ones claiming to be ‘Christian’.

Can you see that we are the ones who carry the power to get our land healed?  Wow!  What power with God!

Why, then, is our land not being healed faster than it is?

We can pray, but unconfessed sin is a hindrance to our being heard. Three translations put the same verse this way:

Ps 66:18

18 If I had ignored my sins,

the Lord would not have listened to me. TEV

   

Ps 66:18-19

8 He would not have listened if I had not confessed my sins. 19 But he listened! He heard my prayer! He paid attention to it!  TLB

Ps 66:18

18 If I had cherished sin in my heart,

the Lord would not have listened;  NIV

 

This seems to deal with thoughts.

Ps 139:23-24

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;

test me and know my anxious thoughts.

24 See if there is any offensive way in me,

and lead me in the way everlasting.   NIV

 

Jer 23:24

24 Can anyone hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? says the Lord. Do not I fill heaven and earth? says the Lord.    AMP

 

Do church leaders need to strain at gnats and swallow camels ?

gnat 2                                         camel 1

No. I believe there are large camels of sin in our churches.  Where does one start?  Well, because of all the sexual harassment claims, let’s start with lust. It is big in the world today and has even crossed lines into the churches. Several high profile pastors have admitted they have been delivered from pornography, many more probably have not; and it is not limited to pastors. Anyone who wants answers to prayers needs to consider themselves. Getting pornography removed from the internet would go a long way to curbing these sins in the Nation and in the church. In view of much sexual misconduct in Congress ; and in view of disrespect for human life via numerous mass murders, whether by vehicle, bombs, guns, or infanticide (abortion at birth),  now would be a good time to express the need to respect life. I suggest this may be done by re-criminalizing BOTH porn AND abortion.  We did not have these problems when those laws were in effect.

Now may be the time to cite some causes for these national problems and correct them:  lack of respect for women and for human life . These are problems for which this Nation should find solutions, and as Christians we should be able to offer them those solutions, but not just for benefit of the church, for the benefit of our government and our country. In solving their problems we might just also be solving our own.

Teaching proper respect for ourselves and for the opposite sex would go a long way, but the Lord says the action itself needs to start with us.

God can’t clean up the world until He first cleans up His church. There are secret sins and not-so-secret-sins hidden within the church.

clean world            cleaning house

According to the opening Scripture, which holds a promise: We need to get rid of these sins in God’s people if our prayers are to be answered. Will it start with you and me?  If it does, maybe then God can clean up the world a little faster. And God knows we need it.  Our prayers won’t get ready answers until we first clean up the church. We can’t expect the world to be cleaner than the church.

 

1 Peter 3:7

7 Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.  NIV

 

———————————————————————

WORK ON THE SOLUTION !   ……..

 Ps 19:12-14

12 Who can discern his errors?

Forgive my hidden faults.

13 Keep your servant also from willful sins;

may they not rule over me.

Then will I be blameless,

innocent of great transgression.

14 May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart

be pleasing in your sight,

O Lord , my Rock and my Redeemer. NIV

 

Pastors:

 

Encourage your flock to ask God to reveal to each individual any unconfessed and unknown sins which may be hindering their prayers. We should encourage repentance of sins while avoiding condemnation or even public confession. Blanket forgiveness of active sins without repentance is not God’s way. Jesus preached repentance. God can identify sin in those who ask, without producing excessive guilt.  Repentance still needs to be preached today. Jesus is able to identify sin and convict individuals without condemnation.  Let Him do it —  but do encourage God’s lambs and sheep to seek God’s help in identifying their sin. Then, when you have cleansed yourself, pray for others to find the same courage of self examination and repentance.

praying outdoors 

cleaning selfRom 8:13-14

but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, 14 because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.  NIV

Blessings upon all!

One final word:

 

Phil 2:13

13 For God is at work within you, helping you want to obey him, and then helping you do what he wants. TLB

Is God in you?  Pray the sinners prayer, admit sin, ask for His help, ask Jesus into your heart then seek His Holy Spirit more fully.

“Lord Jesus, I admit I’m a sinner, I need your forgiveness, please include my sins with those sins for which you died. Come into my life, help me to be all that you want me to be, come into my heart and let my spirit be born again into Your Holy Spirit, put my feet on the straight path and always guide me in thought word and deed. Thank you Jesus.”

 

If you prayed that prayer with sincerity, you may now claim the Scripture:

 

Phil 2:13 13 For God is at work within you, helping you want to obey him, and then helping you do what he wants. TLB

What do you say Pastors:  will you preach self-examination and repentance to our church families?

Individuals:  are we ready to seek God’s help in this?

God’s blessings be upon us as we work through things with Jesus!

Supporting Scriptures:

followed by second addendum on THE SIN OF PRESUMPTION

2 Chron 7:14-15

14 if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.  RSV

 

Ps 66:17-20

17 I cried out to him with my mouth;

his praise was on my tongue.

18 If I had cherished sin in my heart,

the Lord would not have listened;

19 but God has surely listened

and has heard my prayer.

20 Praise be to God,

who has not rejected my prayer

or withheld his love from me!  TNIV

cleaning anyway

Prov 28:9

9 He who turns away his ear from hearing the law [of God and man], even his prayer is an abomination, hateful and revolting [to God].  [Ps 66:18; 109:7; Prov 15:8; Zech 7:11.]  AMP

 

Ps 109:7

7 When [the wicked] is judged, let him be condemned, and let his prayer [for leniency] be turned into a sin.  AMP

 

Prov 15:8

8 The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination, hateful and exceedingly offensive to the Lord, but the prayer of the upright is His delight!  [Isa 1:11; Jer 6:20; Amos 5:22.]  AMP

 

 Isa 1:14-20

14 Your New Moon festivals and your [hypocritical] appointed feasts My soul hates. They are an oppressive burden to Me; I am weary of bearing them.

15 And when you spread forth your hands [in prayer, imploring help], I will hide My eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, I will not hear. Your hands are full of blood!

16 Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes! Cease to do evil,

17 Learn to do right! Seek justice, relieve the oppressed, and correct the oppressor. Defend the fatherless, plead for the widow.

18 Come now, and let us reason together, says the Lord. Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be like wool.

19 If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land;

20 But if you refuse and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword. For the mouth of the Lord has spoken it.  AMP

 

James 4:3-4

3 [Or] you do ask [God for them] and yet fail to receive, because you ask with wrong purpose and evil, selfish motives. Your intention is [when you get what you desire] to spend it in sensual pleasures.

4 You [are like] unfaithful wives [having illicit love affairs with the world and breaking your marriage vow to God]! Do you not know that being the world’s friend is being God’s enemy? So whoever chooses to be a friend of the world takes his stand as an enemy of God.  AMP

 

Ps 66:18

18 If I had ignored my sins,

the Lord would not have listened to me. TEV

 

Ps 66:18-19

8 He would not have listened if I had not confessed my sins. 19 But he listened! He heard my prayer! He paid attention to it!  TLB

 

1 Peter 3:7

7 * In the same way you husbands must live with your wives with the proper understanding that they are more delicate than you. Treat them with respect, because they also will receive, together with you, God’s gift of life. Do this so that nothing will interfere with your prayers.  GNT

 

1 Peter 3:7

7 In the same way you married men should live considerately with [your wives], with an qintelligent recognition [of the marriage relation], honoring the woman as [physically] the weaker, but [realizing that you] are joint heirs of the grace (God’s unmerited favor) of life, in order that your prayers may not be hindered and cut off. [Otherwise you cannot pray effectively.] AMP

 

Ps 19:12-14

12 Who can discern his errors?

Forgive my hidden faults.

13 Keep your servant also from willful sins;

may they not rule over me.

Then will I be blameless,

innocent of great transgression.

14 May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart

be pleasing in your sight,

O Lord , my Rock and my Redeemer.

 

Judgment begins in the house of the Lord:

 

1 Peter 4:17

17 For the time [has arrived] for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will [be] the end of those who do not respect or believe or obey the good news (the Gospel) of God?   AMP

 

Sin In The Camp Affected the Nation:    Joshua chapter 7

If sin in the camp affected the old nation of Israel; can sin in the church affect America?  You decide.  Perhaps that is why the enemy is forcing the church to accept homosexuality…because they know what many of us wish, ineffectively, to deny…to our own peril…or to our own demise…  I say ‘demise’ because it might depend upon how long we determinedly stay in that denial.

Is it worth taking that chance —

The sin of PRESUMPTION:

PRESUMPTION

(from McClintock and Strong Encyclopedia, Electronic Database. Copyright © 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

Presumptuous sins must be distinguished from sins of infirmity, or those failings peculiar to human nature (Eccl 7:20; 1 John 1:8,9); from sins done through ignorance (Luke 12:48); and from sins into which men are hurried by sudden and violent temptation (Gal 6:1). The ingredients which render sin presumptuous are knowledge (John 15:22), deliberation and contrivance (Prov 6:14; Ps 36:4), obstinacy (Jer 44:16; Deut 1:13), inattention to the remonstrances of conscience (Acts 7:51), opposition to the dispensations of Providence (2 Chron 28:22), and repeated commission of the same sin (Ps 78:17). Presumptuous sins are numerous, such as profane swearing, perjury, theft, adultery, drunkenness, Sabbath-breaking, etc. These may be more particularly considered as presumptuous sins, because they are generally committed against a known law, and are so often repeated. Such sins are most heinous in their nature and most pernicious in their effects. They are said to be a reproach to the Lord (Num 15:3); they harden the heart (1 Tim 4:2); draw down judgments from heaven (Num 15:31); and even when repented of, they are seldom pardoned without some visible testimony of God’s displeasure (2 Sam 12:10). As respects professors of religion, one observes, they sin presumptuously

(1)  when they take up a profession of religion without principle;

(2)  when they profess to ask the blessing of God and yet go on in forbidden courses;

(3)  when they do not take religion as they find it in the Scriptures;

(4)  when they make their feelings the test of their religion, without considering the difference between animal passion and the operations of the Spirit of God;

(5)  when they run into temptation;

(6)  when they indulge in self-confidence and self-complacency;

(7)  when they bring the spirit of the world into the Church;

(8)  when they form apologies for that in some which they condemn in others;

(9)  when, professing to believe in the doctrines of the Gospel, they live licentiously;

(10)          when they create, magnify, and pervert their troubles;

(11)          when they arraign the conduct of God as unkind and unjust.

See Walker, Sermons, vol. 1, ser. 3; South, Sermons, vol. 7:ser. 10, 11, 12; Tillotson, Sermons, ser. 147; Saurin, Sermons, vol. 1, ser. II; Goodwin, On the Aggravations of Sin; Fuller, Works; Paley, Sermons; Bishop Hopkins, On the Nature, Danger, and Cure of Presumptuous Sins.

(from McClintock and Strong Encyclopedia, Electronic Database. Copyright © 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

 

 

 

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