A Prayer for Mercy

In my Quotemeal email today was this quote from Dr. Alvin VanderGriend of Harvest Prayer Ministries:

Not only does sin hinder prayer; prayer hinders sin.  The two
are always opposed.  The more careless we are about sin, the
less we will pray.  The more we pray, the less careless we will
be about sin.  Both sin and prayer are powerful forces.  Which
one is moving you?

I have found in my own life that this is so true. When I do not pray regularly, when I do not set aside time for prayer, I am more prone to sin. Not the biggies, like murder or anything, but the little sins. I am more irritable with people, more  prone to complain and gossip. When I don’t pray, I am less likely to be grateful for the gifts and blessings I have been given. For me, the most likely sins, the easiest to let take over, are sins involving my tongue, things I say that are not pleasing to God.

Conversely, when I make a point of praying regularly, when I set aside time at the beginning of each day for focused time with God, I am less likely to sin. It is as if by taking time in the morning to ask God for wisdom and to set my day before His throne I give the Holy Spirit the power to stop me before I complain, before the thought of irritation is manifested in actions and words.

On their second CD, the Christian band Third Day sings a song called “Have Mercy.” The first verse is:

My will won’t break, it barely bends
Same old sinner, the same old sin
On my knees to plead again
Confessions trial, where to begin?

Sometimes I think honest confession is the most important type of prayer. We can spend hours in prayer interceding for the needs of others or asking God to solve all our problems, and it won’t have any impact on our behavior. It is when we are honest with God about the sins that we struggle with, confessing our need for His will to be done in our lives, that our will bends and finally breaks.

Until that final day when our will reaches the breaking point and we give all control over to God, we must seek His mercy daily in prayer. As the Psalmist, we must seek the mercy our God loves to give.

The LORD has heard my cry for mercy;
       the LORD accepts my prayer. Psalm 6:9.

To you I call, O LORD my Rock;
       do not turn a deaf ear to me.
       For if you remain silent,
       I will be like those who have gone down to the pit.

 Hear my cry for mercy
       as I call to you for help,
       as I lift up my hands
       toward your Most Holy Place. Psalm 28:1-2.

I said, “O LORD, have mercy on me;
       heal me, for I have sinned against you.” Psalm 41:4.

There are many more Psalms that provide the words to lift up prayers for mercy to our God. Such prayers allow God to bend our will, to even break it, so that sin might be hindered in our lives. Prayer unleashes the power force of God. Will you allow it to move you? Will I?

I am a Jesus Freak, and I don't care who knows it. I am a wife, mother, sister, aunt, daughter, and friend. My blood family is only part of the larger family of Christ that I belong to. I love to write, especially about my dear Savior.


3 Responses

  1. Linda,
    Thank you for this wonderful message about prayer and sin. Yes, the more we pray, the less we sin and the vice versa is true for me too! That is why I have to ensure I wake up with enough time to spend my hour on my knees praying, reading the word and studying it, else I am drawn away by the lures of this world 🙁 Why am I a dog’s tail in terms of my faith and my selfishness? I praise God for the wisdom He has showered up on you and I pray that you will continue directing us to Him always.
    In Christ,

    • Vineet, The Lord has been trying to get me up earlier for years, but I am not much of a morning person. I do spend at least 15 minutes in quiet prayer on my knees each morning, and I have discovered lately that I have a hard time ending with “Amen.” I think it is because I don’t want the prayer time, the communication with God, to end when I stand up, and saying Amen seems like an ending.

      As for you being “a dog’s tail,” this reminded me of when Paul wrote “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” Romans 7:15. You are in good company, my friend, but as long as you are always desiring and striving to give Christ all control, like Paul you will win the race set before you. Peace, Linda

  2. Wonderful call to prayer, Linda. No wonder Paul told us to pray without ceasing! There is a humbleness that comes when we pray, that can’t be wrought in our lives any other way. It is as important to us as the air we breathe. God bless you as you lift His name, deb

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