We so often buy into lies. One that is perpetuated from all kinds of perspectives is the idea that I need to get my ducks in a row before I come to God or become part of a church. This deception comes from the enemy but it is also tragically perpetuated in one way or another by many that are inside the Church as well. I love the following words from Martin Luther.
- But the tax collector was standing at a distance. He wouldn’t even look up to heaven. Instead, he became very upset, and he said, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner!” Luke 18:13
Some say, “I would feel better about God hearing my prayer if I were more worthy and lived a better life.” I simply answer: If you don’t want to pray before you feel that you are worthy or qualified, then you will never pray again. Prayer must not be based on or depend on your personal worthiness or the quality of the prayer itself but on the unchanging truth of God’s promise. If the prayer is based on itself, or on anything else besides God’s promise, then it’s a false prayer that deceives you – even if your heart was breaking with intense devotion, and you were weeping drops of blood.
We pray because we are unworthy to pray. Our prayers are heard precisely because we believe that we are unworthy. We become worthy to pray when we risk everything on God’s faithfulness alone.
So go ahead and feel unworthy. But know in your heart that it’s a thousand times more important to honor God’s truthfulness. Yes, everything depends on this alone. Don’t turn His faithful promise into a lie by your doubts. For your worthiness doesn’t help you and neither does your unworthiness hinder you. A lack of faith is what condemns you, but confidence in God is what makes you worthy.
I humbly summarize Luther’s comments in this way: Quit trying to be the center of your prayers. Look to God and God alone as you cry out and as you celebrate!
This Sunday we will be looking at Luke 11:5-13; 18:1-8 to consider the transforming power of prayer. Prayer is a living relational gift from our God. We come and God does exactly as needed – always! And He does better than we can see or imagine. We may not see it clearly but by faith we receive it.
Trusting God’s answers,