The Silenced Prayer

Psalm 66:13-20 “I will go into thy house with burnt offerings: I will pay thee my vows, Which my lips have uttered, and my mouth hath spoken, when I was in trouble. I will offer unto thee burnt sacrifices of fatlings, with the incense of rams; I will offer bullocks with goats. Selah. Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what he hath done for my soul. I cried unto him with my mouth, and he was extolled with my tongue. If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me: But verily God hath heard me; he hath attended to the voice of my prayer. Blessed be God, which hath not turned away my prayer, nor his mercy from me.”

If there is one thing that God’s Word makes perfectly clear about the matter of prayer, it is the fact that God wants us to pray. “Pray without ceasing.” I Thessalonians 5:17“And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;” Luke 18:1 The book of Hebrews tells us that our risen and living Lord “ever liveth to make intercession” (Hebrews 7:25). Yet our text reveals that there is a time when it does no good to pray. The psalmist speaks of a time that the “Lord will not hear.” The word “hear” means to hear intelligently with the implication of attention or obedience. There is a time when God will not give ear to the cries of His child. The reason is not because of a defect in the petition, but rather the defect is in the person. The problem in not in the prayer, but the one making the petition! When a believer begins to approve, think well of, or have respect for iniquity, their prayers are silenced. This is what is meant by the word “regard.” This condition is more than just making a mistake or committing a little sin. “Iniquity” means to pant after wickedness or unrighteousness, specifically an idol. Have you become so consumed with a sport, making money, achieving notoriety, or impressing a companion that God is no longer your first love? At that point that person or activity has reached idol status! God will not accept any place in the life of His child but first! Could it be that you are trying to pray to one person while worshiping something else? Having left their first love, the Lord told the church of Ephesus to remember, repent, and return. Have your prayers been silenced; not because of the quality of your petition, but your person? We can take comfort in this promise, “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you” (James 4:8).