2018 is here. A time for self examination. 10 questions below are not self-righteous finger-pointing questions. I have written them out realizing I have more than enough Sins of commission and omission of my own, so I don’t have time to check yours. You’re on your own. If the questions help you to pray more effectively in 2018, I say God bless you because your prayers will benefit us all.
- What Sin do I cherish?
Cherish is a good word. It means to protect or care for someone or something lovingly; to hold something dear; to keep a hope or ambition in one’s mind. We look at Cherish as good, but the Bible tells us it can be bad too. Psalm 66:18(ESV) states it this way “If I had cherished iniquity (Sin) in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.” It hinders answered prayer. Psalm 141:3,4 defines iniquity for us: “Send a guard, oh Lord over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips! Do not let my heart incline to any evil, too busy myself with wicked deeds in company with men who work iniquity and let me not eat of their delicacies.” In other words, to cherish iniquity means to love my sin more than I love God, to toy with known sin in my mind and doing nothing about it even acting on it. Cherishing iniquity will put me on the path of sin James 1:13-15 explains.
- In what areas am I disobedient?
Deuteronomy 1:45 in context v.v. 19-46 it is a sad story of the Israelites rebellion against God‘s command. “And you returned and wept before the Lord, but the Lord did not listen to your voice or give ear to you.”
- Am I holding on to sin?
What sin am I holding onto and doing nothing about it? Psalm 66:18, “If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.” cf. John 9:31
- Am I indifferent to God and the things of God?
Proverbs 1:22-31, v.28 “Then they will call upon me, but I will not answer, they will seek me diligently but will not find me.”
- Am I neglecting Mercy?
Proverbs 21:13 “Whoever closes his ear to the poor will himself call out and not be answered.” cf. Matthew 9:13; Matthew 23:23
- Have I stopped hearing and heeding God’s Word?
Proverbs 28:9 “If ONeil turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer is an abomination.” cf. 2 Corinthians 5:21
- Has my heart become diamond-hard in resistance to the Lord?
Zechariah 7:12,13 (v.13) “As ,I called and they would not hear, so they called, And I would not here, says the Lord of Hosts.”
- Is my faith wavering?
James 1:6,7 “ But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord”
- Am I living in Sin?
Isaiah 59:2 (Micah 3:4) “ but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear.“
- In what way are my prayers self-indulgent?
James 4:3 “You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your own passions.” Prayers seeking to gratify self-centered passions do not honor God or advance his purposes (1 John 5:14,15). We need to know the Scriptures well enough to pray according to God’s revealed thoughts not our own.
An Affirmation for 2018: Before I pray, I will invite the Holy Spirit to reveal my sin. I will confess my sin (name my sin) and forsake it. I will pray having received His forgiveness and a restored relationship with God. Psalm 139:23,24; 1 John 1:9,ESV “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there is any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting! If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Written by Pastor Bob Wood: Pastor Bob is a retired Pastor and a dear friend of America’s Keswick.
Daily Quote: “Every kind of prayer, not intercessory prayer only, which is the highest kind of prayer, but all prayer, from the lowest kind to the highest, is impossible in a life of known and allowed sin.” – Alexander Whyte
This Week’s Verse to Memorize:
Do not trust in oppression, Nor vainly hope in robbery; If riches increase, Do not set your heart on them. Psalm 62:10