December 18, 2017

When It Is Wrong to Pray

George Stiekes

And the LORD said unto Joshua, Get thee up; wherefore liest thou thus upon thy face? Joshua 7:10

Prayer is the essence of worship, devotion and communion with God and yet there are times when it is wrong to pray. We are exhorted: "in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God" (Philippians 4:6). Certainly Joshua believed this to be true and in a moment of crisis, he cried out to God (Joshua 7:7-9).

By the hand of God, Israel won a strategic battle at Jericho when entering the Promised Land. That might have made them somewhat over-confident when they approached Ai and therefore they only sent two or three thousand men to take the city. However, Ai defeated them killing thirty-six of Israel’s soldiers. Joshua 7:5 states that the hearts of the people melted. This is when Joshua rent his clothes and called out to God. Certainly it was God’s will that they take Ai!

God told him to get up from prayer because there was a matter of sin that needed to be settled in the camp.

Up, sanctify the people, and say, Sanctify yourselves against tomorrow; for thus saith the LORD God of Israel, There is an accursed thing in the midst of thee, O Israel: thou canst not stand before thine enemies, until ye take away the accursed thing from among you (Joshua 7:13).

In Isaiah 1:11-16, the people were bringing their sacrifices before the Lord according to the letter of the Law, but their hearts were far from God because of sin in their lives. In verse 15, God said, "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."

There is a desperate need for America to return to its original spiritual moorings, but that is not going to take place until there is revival in the church of America which today is following the lead of the world instead of the world following the lead of the church. As believers, we are not of the world, even as Christ was not of this world when He was here (John 17:16). The church will need to remove itself from the world if it expects a moving of the Spirit of God toward genuine revival.

If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me (Psalm 66:18).

It is wrong to pray with sin in our lives. It must be confessed and we must remove the relics of this sinful world from our lives and from our churches.

Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither His ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have his His face from you, that He will not hear (Isaiah 59:1-2).

There have been many Christians that have blamed God for unanswered prayer when it reality, it is their sin that has blocked that channel. When our sins are confessed and we are truly walking with the Lord, we have boldness before the throne of grace to obtain mercy and grace in the time of need (Hebrews 4:16; I John 1:9).

George Stiekes held successful pastorates in churches in Michigan and Washington among other places. He currently resides in North Carolina and blogs at Reverent Reflections. We recommend his ministry and republish his material by permission.

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