text size

Purity through Prayer

Top comments

{{ annotation.praises_count }} Likes
{{ annotation.creator_alias }}
{{ annotation.creator_score }}

There are no comments yet. Be the first to start comment or request an explanation.

By Jennifer Dean Kennedy Praise leads naturally to an awareness of sin in your life. Having fixed the eyes of your heart on Him, your own sin-tattered life comes more clearly into focus. True and authentic prayer is based on a two-fold revelation: the revelation of who God is and the revelation of who I am. Remember Isaiah? He saw the Lord, high and exalted. He saw the glory and the holiness. Instinctively he cried out: "Woe to me!... I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty" (Isaiah 6:5). And Job? "My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes" (Job 42:5-6). His holiness exposes your sinfulness. His strength reveals your weakness. His faithfulness lays bare your faithlessness. Only in the light of His presence can we see the truth about ourselves. "In your light we see light" (Psalm 36:9b). "Everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for it is light that makes everything visible" (Ephesians 5:13-14a). Until you have a true picture of yourself, you will be unable to enter into the depths of the kingdom. You will be incapable of experiencing genuine prayer. The stark contrast between the Holy One in His splendor and me in my filthy rags - the revelation of His worthiness and my unworthiness - compels me to fall on my face in awe. You see, the awe comes not only from His majesty, but from the fact that He seeks me out; that He delights in me, that He loves my presence. Me! In all my weakness, n all my failure, and in my sin, His bloodstained love reaches out and draws me into His presence. Jesus taught His disciples that purity was vital to a praying life. Jesus showed them that the Father's love for them was so great that He was unwilling to leave them in their sin. He desires relationship with you so much that He not only paid the penalty for your sins Himself, but He continues to move in your life to remove sinful behaviors. You are of such great worth to Him that He keeps seeking you out and drawing you to His heart. God hates what sin does to you. He hates sin because it diminishes you and harms you. He calls you to repentance because He loves you. As He becomes your focus, you begin to see sin the same way He does. You want to be clean before Him. "Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord" (Acts 3:19). To repent means to change directions. It means to turn around. Make a u-turn. It means to walk away from the old thing and walk purposefully toward the new thing. In order to repent, not only must you understand what you are walking away from, but you must also understand what you are walking toward. The Holy Spirit, whose job it is to convict you of sin and unrighteousness (John 16:8-9), will convict you of specific sins. His conviction will not be general or generic. He won't say, "You're so awful. You can't get it right." He'll say, "You just told a lie. You need to go back immediately and tell the truth." Here's what happens: as you continue to repent when the Spirit convicts you, soon that holy habit will begin to keep you from sinning in the first place. You might say to yourself as you are about to tell a lie, "If I tell this lie, I'll just have to come back and tell the truth later. I might as well tell the truth now." Also, as your relationship with the Lord increases in intimacy and you learn to delight in Him, you are unwilling for anything to come between you. You don't want to grieve Him. You begin to love Him more than you love your sin. You recognize the Spirit's conviction as the love of God. He is determined that you, His beloved, will not be cheated out of the full measure of intimacy by making a compromise with sin. ... Deliberate, willful sin creates a barrier between you and God. No matter what your lips say, by continuing in sin with an unrepentant heart,your actions say that your heart is not His. Your actions say that your sin means more to you than intimacy with God. "The LORD says: These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me" (Isaiah 29:13a). "Sin is an awful thing. One of the most awful things about it is the way it hinders prayer. It severs the connections between us and the source of all grace and power and blessing. Anyone who desires power in prayer must be merciless in dealing with his own sins. 'If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me' (Psalm 66:18, KJV). As long as we hold on to sin or have any controversy with God, we cannot expect Him to heed our prayers. If there is anything that is constantly coming up in your moments of close communion with God, that is the thing that hinders prayer. Put is away." - R.A. Torrey, "How to Pray" If you would have all of God, He must have all of you. He will not share you with another. He will not be satisfied with words of love. He wants to be the sole possessor of your heart. He wants to reign in you as your King and Lord. Your heart was made for Him. Only as you walk away from sin and into Your waiting arms do you discover your destiny. It is His love for you that motivates Him to search your heart and pinpoint sin. Respond to that love. Respond quickly to anything about which the Spirit is convicting you. Turn your back on your sin. "Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." - Psalm 139:23-24 "Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me." - Psalm 51:10 Excerpt from "Fueled by Faith" by Jennifer Kennedy Dean, p.194-197

read all comments

1 Sarah R = "When we come into faith we are covered in Christ's righteousness and justified before God. But often time there still is sin in our lives that has to be dealt with. The process of sanctification, of purifying ourselves and becoming more like Him, happens as we draw near to God and allow Him to work in us."
2 Sarah R = "If we think we can stand in front of God on our own merits we either have an awfully high view of ourselves or an awfully small view of God. When we recognize how great and mighty and Holy is our God, we recognize all the more clearly our own sinfulness and need for His grace."
3 Sarah R = "The more we respond to and obey God's voice the more God will speak to us."