Read: Romans 3
The question we face is: what kind of prayer is “acceptable to God, which He will hear?" That ought to be of concern to us. Remember: we are but specks of dust on the planet earth which itself is but a speck in the vastness of the universe. God created and sustains the whole universe. One might quickly be overwhelmed with the very thought of approaching such a God. It would seem far more likely that an ant addresses and seeks to please a human being, than we approach the Infinite, Sovereign God, the Creator of all.
But the Bible shows the possibilities and the Catechism summarizes these. First, it must be "from the heart, to the one true God only, Who has revealed Himself in His Word." It must come from the born-again, regenerated heart--it cannot come from the heart of the unbeliever. Prayer is not a matter of show or pretence, but sincerity. It must be to the one only true God. It cannot be to God, and something else. It must not be to an idol or a god of one's imagination. Proper prayer cannot rest either upon "luck," or "change," or upon man's own cleverness in taking care of his own needs.
We must thoroughly know our needs and misery. One does not approach God in prayer only in those situations where he knows not what to do. We are deeply humbled before His divine majesty. We confess that "the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do." (Rom 7:15-25) That's quite a confession! There is in the Christian a deep consciousness of his own sinfulness and unworthiness before God. That consciousness arises because he knows his own old nature against which he still struggles. Not only is he so very insignificant in size before the Almighty God, but at the same time, he sees rebellion in his members against God.
But out of his regenerated heart proceeds that work of the Spirit by which he confesses his sins daily. He acknowledges his unworthiness. He confesses that he has no where else to go than God's throne of grace. His prayer, then, is a confession of his own inability to provide what he needs. He confesses that his God can and does provide - in the way of his calling upon God.
Let us measure our own prayers by this standard.
Van Baren, Gise J.
Rev. G. Van Baren (Wife: Clara)
Ordained: October, 1956
Pastorates: Doon, IA - 1956; Randolph, WI - 1962; First, Grand Rapids, MI - 1965; Hudsonville, MI - 1977; Loveland, CO - 1994
Emeritus: 1999Website: www.sermonaudio.com/search.asp?speakeronly=true&currsection=sermonsspeaker&keyword=Rev._Gise_Van_Baren
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