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?