January 19: Zechariah on Unheard Prayer

Therefore it is come to pass, that as he cried, and they would not hear; so they cried, and I would not hear, saith the Lord of hosts:

Zechariah 7:13

Peter, Solomon, David, and Isaiah have warned us about unheard prayers, now we go to Zechariah.

As we read from David, we can’t “regard iniquity” – we must repent from sin for God to hear us. However Zechariah intensifies it – if we don’t listen to God’s conviction about sin, God may not listen to us.

Zechariah outlines what led to this:

But they refused to hearken, and pulled away the shoulder, and stopped their ears, that they should not hear.

Zechariah 7:11

Because they refused to hearken, “they made their hearts as an adamant stone” (Zechariah 7:12). In Hebrews we’re warned about hardening our hearts:

Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness:

Hebrews 3:8

The time to repent is today! 

Ben Sutherland

But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.

Hebrews 3:13

Don’t put it off and let your heart be hardened. Whenever God convicts you of sin – be quick to repent!

January 18: Peter’s Warning on Unheard Prayer

7Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.

1 Peter 3:7

If you are married (as I recently became), there’s a special concern for you in regards to prayer. How we treat our spouses affects our prayer life!

1 Corinthians 11:3 points out a “chain of command” that illustrates the effect on prayer:

But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.

1 Corinthians 11:3

How a husband treats his wife is how he is asking God to treat him.

Let’s look at the Unforgiving Debtor to see this illustrated. The lord was
“was moved with compassion” (Matthew 18:27) and treated the unforgiving servant kindly. Until the unforgiving servant cast the other servant into prison until that debt was paid (Matthew 18:30). That action changed the attitude of the lord towards the unforgiving servant (sent him “to the tormentors”) for the same length of time as the unforgiving servant was to the other servant (til the debt was paid) (Matthew 18:34).

If I want God’s blessing – how should I treat my wife?

Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.

Luke 16:38

Piper notes that Peter is teaching “not that praying helps us live right, but that living right helps us pray.”

MacArthur gives 3 practical tips on how to care for your wife: Be Considerate, Be Chivalrous, and Be a Companion.

January 17: Solomon on Prayers that are Unheard

Gustav Doré’s English Bible

Solomon was the wisest man in the world. Let’s see what he has to say about making sure your prayer is heard!

He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination.

Proverbs 28:9

In Hebrew, the word for “law” is תּוֹרָ֑ה , but we pronounce it “Torah.”

How much time do you spend reading the Bible? If you haven’t read thru the Bible from cover to cover yet – please join us at the Bible Reading Challenge

As we saw yesterday we need to be cleansed from sin. The Psalmist shows us that the Word keeps us clean!

Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.

Psalm 119:9

Staying in the Word is essential to knowing God is hearing your prayers (as well as to knowing who we’re talking to!)

January 16: Isaiah and Unheard Prayers

Yesterday we looked at Psalm 66:18 and David’s recognition of unheard prayers. Let’s go to Isaiah and see what the great prophet says about unheard prayer.

And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood.

Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil;

Isaiah 1:15-16

Blood! I’ve never murdered anyone! We’ve all done wrong, but murder – never!

But Jesus said being angry with your brother is just as bad (Matthew 5:22), and 1 John 3:15 explicitly tells us that hatred is equal to murder.

Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.

1 John 3:15

Is there anyone that you are harboring resentment against? Anyone that you feel disgusted by when you see them? Anyone who has offended you that you need to make things right with?

But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.

For your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongue hath muttered perverseness.

Isaiah 59:2-3

John says hatred is equal to murder, and Isaiah says bloody hands will separate you from God. Let’s make relationships right with our fellow man and then God will hear us!

January 15: David on Preventing Unheard Prayers

So far this year:

  • We’ve set reminders to pray throughout the day to break up our routine so we can remember our LORD!
  • We’ve looked at the shortest prayers in the Bible
  • We’ve set up a mnemonic to help organize our prayer requests

Now – let’s make sure we have a clear path to God! As the old song goes, there should be nothing between my soul and the Savior!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7gRtrUxyxTk

How can we make sure there’s nothing between? Let’s repent of sin that we’re keeping in our heart.

If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me:

Psalm 66:18

Has God pointed out some sin in your life? How can you deal with it? David’s Psalm 51 points out three key truths:

Admittance – God already knows about it. God knew Adam sinned, He just wanted to let Adam respond. (Genesis 3:8-13). Don’t blame others – just admit what you did.

For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.

Psalm 51:3

Brokenness – You didn’t make a mistake. You didn’t offend your neighbor. You sinned against God. You disobeyed the King of the Universe. Too often we try to minimize our sin and maximize ourselves. But God wants us to be broken.

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.

Psalm 51:17

Cleansing – We got into the mess, but we need someone to get us out of the mess. Ask God to cleanse you from your sins. Ask Him to redirect your thoughts!

Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.

Psalm 51:2

Take some time to repent of whatever sin God is bringing to your mind.

January 14: Thank God for unanswered prayers!

But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers.

1 Kings 19:4
The Bible panorama, or The Holy Scriptures in picture and story

Sometimes life is rough. We can’t see a way out and pray for a quick escape. Why doesn’t God answer our prayers?

Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume itupon your lusts.

James 4:3

Today, thank God for unanswered prayers and pray that He can change our desires to match up with His desires!

January 13: A seven word plea

For they all made us afraid, saying, Their hands shall be weakened from the work, that it be not done. Now therefore, O God, strengthen my hands.

Nehemiah 6:9

God has given us a job to do, but sometimes we think we can do it in our own power. Nehemiah reminds us that if we want real success, we need God’s strength.

Today let’s make sure that we confess our pride and seek His power!

January 12: Saturday – Saints!

Welcome to the end of the first week of the mnemonic for growing in prayer! We’re now adding a seventh page to our weekly prayer list, and Saturday is for Saints.

Author’s Photo, Country church near the grave of Robert Sheffey

Who are the Saints?

Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem:

Acts 9:13

Ananias is calling the Church members in Jerusalem, saints.

Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:

1 Corinthians 1:2

Those who are part of the church are saints. That means that you (if you are a believer) are a saint! No canonization necessary! But that means that you know many saints to pray for! Start with your church directory, or Sunday School class roster, or Prayer Meeting bulletin, and start praying for the people in your church. Health needs, school needs, spiritual growth, strength for the week, etc.

If you don’t have a church, please find a Bible-believing church!

Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

Hebrews 10:25

No church is perfect, and unfortunately neither are we. For some reason God told us to gather with other fallen human beings, and even submit to other fallen human beings. If your church is full of hypocrites, gossips, and unfriendly people – don’t complain until you pray!

January 11: Friday – Family!

Eric Ward [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Continuing with our mnemonic, Friday is for Family! Now you’re already praying for your immediate family daily (and maybe even hourly if you have toddlers!). But you have extended relatives that you love. Log them on Friday in your notebook and pray for them.

Is a cousin thinking about getting married? Pray that they get the right kind of spouse!

Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.

Proverbs 31:10

Is an uncle struggling with parenting? Pray for patience!

Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.

Colossians 3:21

Does your niece have marital difficulties? 

Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.

Ephesians 5:33

Does your brother-in-law need a job? Pray that he can fulfill God’s will!

But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.

1 Timothy 5:8

January 10: Thursday – Thanksgiving!

The First Thanksgiving, Jean Leon Gerome Ferris

Thanksgiving is not a holiday for football and food, it’s a daily opportunity for the Christian to praise the LORD! As part of our prayer time, let’s make Thursday a special day of Thanksgiving! What can we thank God for? How about His goodness and mercy?

O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever.

1 Chronicles 16:34

Join with David and give thanks to the LORD and praise His name!

Therefore I will give thanks unto thee, O LORD, among the heathen, and I will sing praises unto thy name.

2 Samuel 22:50

Let’s add a page to our prayer list and as we go throughout the week, record the blessings God has given us. Especially the ones we haven’t thought of.

Have you had a pain-free day? Thank God! Barely making minimum wage? You’d be surprised what your global wealth score is

It is a good thing to give thanks unto the LORD, and to sing praises unto thy name, O most High:

Psalm 92:1