(Day 1 of the 5-day fasting/prayers)
Scripture Reading: Psalm 66:18
As we begin our mid-year fasting and prayer programme, the Holy Spirit brings the scriptural reading of today Psalm 66:18 to our mind “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me” (AMP). Iniquity in the heart brings us into disfavor with God to the extent that our prayers, cries and yearnings made toward God will not be attended to. Nothing hinders prayer like iniquity harboured in the heart; as with Cain, so with us. For God to accept our devotions, while we are delighting in sin, would be to make Himself the God of hypocrites, than for the Holy One of Israel. A biblical commentary says “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.” The very supposition that “if he regarded iniquity in his heart, the Lord would not hear him,” implies the possibility that such may be the state even of believers; and there is abundant reason to fear that it is in this way their prayers are so often hindered, and their supplications so frequently remain unanswered. Nor is it difficult to conceive how believers may be chargeable with regarding iniquity in their heart, even amidst all the solemnity of coming into the immediate presence of God, and directly addressing him in the language of prayer and supplication.
Child of God, you may ask why God does not answer your prayers. There can be many reasons why He doesn’t answer our prayers, sin ranks as one of the biggest reason why our prayers are not answered. Can God answer a prayer when we have not confessed sin? Will He answer a prayer if there are sinful thoughts on our minds? God’s first condition is that our heart must be pure. In Isaiah 1:15 God says: “I will hide mine eyes … I will not hear.” Sin in our heart will close God’s ear and cut off all communication with Him. It is unsuccessful for us to pray when we are carrying a sin in our conscience which we have not yet acknowledged or confessed. Isaiah 59:1–2 says, “Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; nor His ear heavy, that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear.”
So how do we remedy this situation? 1 John 1:9 makes it clear: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” Therefore, we need to repent, confess our sins and be reconciled to God and to those we have offended. You must honestly confess your sins and take sides with God against them. There must be a wholehearted repentance, that is, the turning of the will away from all that is sinful in the sight of God.
- Father, please have mercy and forgive me of all my sins in the name of Jesus.
- Father, I consciously renounce and repent of any sinful lifestyle of mine.
- Father, by the power of the Holy Spirit, let me finish well, let me finish strong; let me finish with Joy, in Jesus name.
- Pray with Psalm 51
- Take the Rosary of Divine Mercy
- Pray for the success of the Cross-Over program at the Holy Family Catholic Church, 22, Road, FESTAC, Lagos.
Exercise: JOIN US FOR OUR 2016 CROSS-OVER PROGRAM AT THE HOLY FAMILY CATHOLIC CHURCH, 22 ROAD, FESTAC, LAGOS. Holding Thursday 23rd– Saturday 25th June 2016.
Memory Verse: Matthew 5:23-24