Three Praying People God Won't Hear - by Eddie Smith

Oh, I know, some folks think God hears every prayer. But that's just not the case. I can think of at least three categories of people God refuses to listen to.

First, God won't hear a person who regards iniquity.

David the psalmist wrote, "If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear" (Psalm 66:18 nkjv, emphasis added). To regard iniquity is not synonymous with a failure to confess sin. If God can't hear us unless we've confessed every sin, then we'll never be heard. Why? Because at any given time we are aware of only a fraction of the sins we've committed. Like the psalmist David concluded, "Who can discern his errors? Forgive my hidden faults" (Psalm 19:12).

This verse about "regarding iniquity" is about preferring sin. When I tell someone, "Give my regards to your wife," I'm saying, "Tell her that I honor her." The Message version of Psalm 66:18 brings it into focus. It says, "If I had been cozy with evil, the Lord would never have listened." The person who is heard in heaven isn't a person who doesn't sin. It's a person who doesn't prefer sin, isn't cozy with it, doesn't think fondly of it or honor it. He has the same opinion about sin that God has. He hates it, shuns it, and longs to be free from it. The most committed Christian among us will occasionally sin. But a person of integrity hates sin and quickly repents.

The second type of person God refuses to hear is someone who tries to manipulate Him when he or she prays.

Jesus told His disciples in Matthew 6:7 that the pagans thought they would be heard for their "much speaking." The implication was ... they weren't! As we say in Texas, "God doesn't take kindly to manipulation."

There are many ways that people try to manipulate God when they pray. However, in most cases, they don't even know they are doing it. Two that come to mind are when people spend the bulk of their prayer time informing a God who knows everything. Somehow they apparently feel they need to break it down for Him. <smile>

More seriously (it seems to me) are those who instruct God in prayer. They literally order Him as if He is their slave. But as I said, most who do that don't even realize how they sound. Frankly, I would never have addressed my earthly father in the tone and approach I hear some people address our Heavenly Father.

Paul said, "When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me" (1 Corinthians 13:11). Growing requires becoming aware of certain things we are doing wrong and putting them away.

Third, God won't hear the prayer of a "double-minded person."

James tells us: "If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks [prays], he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man [or woman] should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does" (James 1:5-8).

Here God promises NOT TO answer the prayers of those who are double-minded. A double-minded pray-er is one who prays in faith, believing. Then after doing so, thinks doubtful thoughts and speaks doubtful things about the very thing they were believing God to do. To pray single-minded prayer is a powerful strategy. I deal with it quite thoroughly in my book "How To Be Heard In Heaven." But for now, I DO HAVE some good news!
In every generation there have been those whom God has heard and answered. He hears the righteous, the expectant, and those who celebrate His responses. He hears those who celebrate in advance having received what they have yet to receive. May God expand our spiritual horizon that we'll receive a greater revelation of God's gracious offer to hear and answer us. As I write these words, I'm praying that you will see, perhaps for the first time, the unique position you have as a result of His death, burial, resurrection, ascension, and the coming of His Holy Spirit. Only then can you take full advantage and see miraculous things happen when you pray.

Most Christians have never recognized the remarkable contrast between the ways David and other Old Testament saints approached God and the way New Testament believers (especially after Pentecost) approached God--people like the apostle Paul. As we begin to get a clearer perspective of who God is, who we are, and a better understanding of how we fit into His plan, we will begin to pray from the redemptive side of the cross, and begin to recognize the awesome opportunity that's ours as New Testament believers.

You'll have to agree that the wickedness of this world increases by the moment. The international dilemmas are staggering. Nations are beginning to recognize and admit their helplessness. Whether they know it or not, they are looking for a messiah.

The evil that lies in wait for our families is increasing exponentially. The Ozzie and Harriet, Leave It to Beaver, and Father Knows Best days are gone forever. Our ability to engage in effective prayer, prayer that God hears and delights to answer, is critical for the days ahead.

If you'd like to step up to a new level in prayer, I encourage you to get "How To Be Heard In Heaven."

May God HEAR and answer your prayers!
The above article is adapted from Eddie's book "How To Be Heard In Heaven."
As we enter the 2013 holiday season, ministry support typically drops off dramatically. Alice and I always have and will continue to offer our ministry without charge. However, it is not without cost. At least a dozen other deserving ministries around the world look to us for support each month.

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