Our natural tendency is to shy away from prayer. We already dread the time we will spend there before we ever start. Even those who are given to spend more time in prayer than perhaps some others will even feel it in their own flesh as well. Resistance. You know why. The weakness of the flesh. The sinfulness of the flesh. The guilt of our own hearts condemning us. If we would just understand that it is just what prayer is for that the answer for these and much more would be found with our heads and hearts bowed before God.
Why does this happen? - We know for ourselves that prayer is a sacrifice in many ways outwardly. It is a sacrifice of time and we know instinctively it is a sacrifice of our own wills. We don't even truly consider that the sacrifice of these two things alone our worth it. Sadly, we never have truly experienced what it has meant to lay hold of God. Prayer is a sacrifice. That's why this happens. We are told in Romans 12:1 that we should present ourselves “holy and pleasing to God.” Before we can be presented we have to be examined. When Yahweh gave the commands for the sacrifice He did it with order. There was an order to be followed. Principal of this order is that the sacrificial lamb was to be “unblemished”. The high priest was to examine the sheep for errors. Simply put, if there was anything wrong with the sheep then it was rejected and could not be offered as a sacrifice.
So that's what's happening - YES! If you have accepted Jesus as your saviour then you have been given the gift of the Holy Spirit. Our Lord's Spirit will do everything to keep us in a right standing with God. Do everything to keep us in His favor! Do everything to keep us UNBLEMISHED! The Holy Spirit will prompt us all day long to stay in God's ways. Will direct us according to our thoughts. Warn us of danger. Show us how we are to proceed. If we, by faith, follow and obey His guidance then we maintain a clean conscience. We, the living sacrifice, are examined. Your heart will be examined for truth. Whatever the truth is then it must be confessed and exposed.
The crucified life - For most, sadly, they only see confession as a sad ordeal that has always led to the same place; back to where they are now. Nowhere. No more power in life than what they have always had. Listen to the Lord's story. Have you not seen in God's Word? YOU HAVEN'T EVEN PRAYED YET! I don't care how long you have been a Christian. I don't care how long you have attended church. If you have never understood this then you have NEVER pressed in. Listen to what I am telling you. You haven't even begun! Don't let this be a condemnation, but a sign of hope! That which I had thought of as prayer and never received answer for wasn't even prayer! That which you have always called prayer was just the beginning! You have never made it before God's throne where the blessings of prayer and the offerings of our heart can be offered! To that place where you can come away from with a full assurance YOU HAVE WHAT YOU ASKED FOR! But, what if the confession of your heart is that of the crucified life? What if you can with boldness, instead of a confession of sin, let your confession be that of a clean conscience? That you can believe God and have your heart be examined and that through faith (believing God's word and work) that you have been made clean. Confess your sins. Accept God's grace. And THEN press on to the throne of God!
Before the Throne - Now you can pray. Now you can plead your case before our Lord! It is here that we can present ourselves and God's promises to before the throne. We come before the King of Kings and present His Words, the Law, and we confess them before the Lord AND DO NOT GIVE UP until we have a full assurance in our hearts that we have received our request!
Are you with me now? - Can you see now what your sin is and has been? Can you hear your heart tell you now what your true nature has been? That sin of unbelief. Unbelief is the cause of our loss. It is why we continue to lose with God in prayer. Again and again we have hung our heads in shame and walked away without the blessing we came for. The shame of walking away from the throne empty-handed has happened more times then we can count. Nobody has ever told you that today, even today, you could have walked away with a fullness of faith. Walked away from the throne of God with a full assurance. That you could have heard His decree; His promise to you and your blessing. That you could have seen in your life God's working and manifesting of His power! God's Word cannot fail! God's promises cannot come back empty! A fullness and boldness of faith is required. A fullness and boldness that does not shy away. Have you not read that the one who doubts can expect nothing? Do not let this be you forever! Do not go away again empty-handed! Come with me and kneel before God and confess your sins. Read in God's word how He has cleansed you of your sin by His death on the cross. And that even now, by his own blood, is interceding on your behalf and washing you clean!
Brothers and sisters, you have not even begun to pray! But praise God! We will! Yes! Yes! We will!!