For the proclamation of the Gospel and the edification of the Body of Christ
Overcoming the Obstacles of Prayer (4)
A fourth problem in relation to prayer is instigated by us, the believers. Many of us are too faint to pray because we look at ourselves more than at God. A burdened conscience will not be able to pray to God with confidence.
It is necessary to see that the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ on the cross cleanses our conscience and makes us apt to present ourselves before God with our requests. Now we can forget about ourselves and look at God with confidence.
Furthermore, our unbelief and inconsistency appear to be insurmountable pitfalls that outweigh the holy promises of God. Thus, we do not see the following:
1. What the Father has done by offering us all things in Christ, out of pure grace. "He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all — how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?" (Rom. 8:32 NIV).
2. The Lord Jesus’ most certain promise is to give us whatever we ask for. "And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it" (John 14:13). "This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us —whatever we ask— we know that we have what we asked of him" (1 John 5: 14-15). "He has given us his very great and precious promises" (2 Peter 1:4).
3. The Holy Spirit’s precious work on our behalf to help us in our weakness, interceding for us with unspeakable groans: "In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans" (Romans 8:26).
None of this can be applied when the heart is filled with disbelief and laziness. But God speaks to us in time, so that we may awaken to faith and diligence, so that we patiently trust in God's promises and obtain what we ask for. "We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, so that what you hope for may be fully realized. We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised" (Heb. 6:11-12).
James says, "You do not have because you do not ask God" (4:2b). The Lord says: "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you" (Matt. 7:7). What shall we say? Is there an insurmountable impediment? Is there a will that opposes God's desire? If we touch the heart of God, aligning our will with his, and He decides to grant us what we ask for, there will be no will or obstacle that prevents us from receiving what God has decided to give us.