We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy. Daniel 9:18
What is the basis for God hearing and answering our prayers? Do you ever feel unworthy to be praying when you reflect on James 5:16, which says the prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective? Do you pray anyway when you don't feel worthy? Consider the following excerpt from Ron Dunn's book entitled "Don't just stand there, pray something!"
When I was pastor of a young, fast growing suburban church I found that the best hour for my personal prayer time was around midnight when everybody else was asleep and neither the phone nor the doorbell was likely to ring. One particular day had been unusually hectic. It had been consumed by busywork. I hadn't taken time to pray or read my Bible; I hadn't done anything "spiritual." I had written some necessary letters, returned a number of phone calls, planned meetings, and worked on the church calendar but nothing spiritual.
At midnight I came to my prayer time feeling unworthy. The first words out of my mouth were, "Lord, I know I have no right to ask You for anything tonight," ' and I proceeded to apologize for being too busy to pray, read the Bible, or witness too busy to do anything spiritual. I was praying like a wimp.
Suddenly it seemed as if the Lord said, "Suppose you had done a lot of 'spiritual' things today suppose you had prayed for four hours, read the Bible (on your knees) for four hours, and led ten people to Christ. Would you feel more confident praying than you do now?"
"Yes, Lord, I surely would!"
"Then you are praying in your own name! You think I hear you because of your holiness. You think I am more inclined to listen to you if you have done a lot of good works. You are approaching Me in your own unworthy name. If you had prayed for eight hours today, and read the Bible on your knees for eight hours, and had led fifty people to Christ, you would have no more right to pray then than you do now!"I looked down at the floor of the throne room and saw that it was sprinkled, not with the sweat of my good works, but with the blood of His sacrifice.
If we're not careful, we might feel that God's answer to prayer is somehow dependent on us. However, the only thing we can bring to God in prayer is our need and our cry for God's mercy. May our attitude be like that of the publican, God be merciful to me a sinner.
Graphics made by Soft Song Graphics