Do you ever feel like when you pray, your prayers are just hitting the ceiling? That God is just sitting up there, sipping on a latte watching you ask for something only to ignore it? Well, most of us if we are honest have moments when we pray and pray and nothing happens. Why is that? Is it because God is really a mean God? Well, we know that isn’t the case, but there are a number of reasons why God may not be answering the specific thing you are praying for. Here is just one of those reasons. You. That’s right! You.
Did you know that you can be your biggest enemy? The bible has a lot to say about this. Take the story of Joshua 7:10-18 when the city of AI defeats the Israelites. Joshua sends a couple of his guys to spy the city and they all come back saying, 7 “piece of cake. We could send just a few thousand of our armies because its such a small town, no sense in sending the whole crew.” Paraphrased. So that’s what they do. They send a portion of the army in and they get dusted by that small city. Joshua is at a loss for words, so much so that he rips his clothes off. Aren’t you glad people don’t do that in disgust these days? You are in the line at WalMart for over 30 minutes and the guy in front of you rips his clothes off in disgust at the wait time. But I digress.
So Joshua falls on his face pleading with the Lord, God what happened? Did you send us in there just to fail? Did you send us in there to be made a mockery of? Did you send us in there to die? Where were you? vs. 10 “But God said to Joshua, Get up. Why are you laying like that” I love it, the directness there. Get off your face Joshua, what are you doing. And then he goes on to explain why they failed. vs.11 “Israel has sinned and broken my covenant! They have Stolen the things I commanded to be set apart. And not only that, they lied about it and have hidden it” Ah, there it is. They sinned. They were meant to go into AI and destroy it but they were destroyed because they sinned. It’s important to note here the power of one man’s sin and what it can do to.. a church.. a city.. a nation. It only takes one. A man named Achan when they invaded came across a babylonian coat he wanted and some silver and he stole it and then hid it in the ground in his tent.
That sin caused the entire failure of the operation. Further in Isaiah 59:1-3 says, “Listen! The Lord is not too weak to save you, and he is not becoming deaf. He can hear you when you call. But there is a problem- your sins have cut you off from God. Because of your sin, he has turned away and will not listen anymore.” The Lord hears you, he is not Deaf, but your own sin is stopping him from blessing you. The important thing to do, next time you are tempted to say, “God doesn’t care, he doesn’t answer prayer.” Is instead of blaming God, take a good look in the mirror at your own life and say, “What is it in my own way that could be hindering my prayers?” Is it greed? Lies? Lust? Pride? Arrogance? Boastfulness? Gossip? Slander? So go ahead and take a long good look in the mirror today, but don’t be like the man or woman in James 1:23-27 who looks in the mirror only to forget what he looks like and not change anything.
“And remember, it is a message to obey (the word) not just hear it. If you don’t obey you are only fooling yourself. For if you just listen and don’t obey it is like looking at your face in the mirror but doing nothing to change your appearance. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you keep looking steadily into God’s perfect law, the law that sets you free and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.” 26 . If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are just fooling yourself and your religion is worthless. Pure and lasting religion in the sight of God our Father means that we must care for orphans and widows in their troubles and refuse to let the world corrupt us.” James 1:23-27. So don’t just hear God’s word and walk away and do nothing with it, make a change today and God will bless you for it.