If you are a Christian who goes to church all the time, who not only loudly sings worship songs at church but also always has your radio or Pandora tune into worship channels, who loves to read books and commentaries to learn more about God, who strives to always follow God’s laws and to honor Him—this is for you.
I bet you are a person who always asks, “What is the right thing to do?”, and you want God on your side.
This is for you especially if you strive to live life like this, but you wonder with bewilderment why your prayers go unanswered, and if your prayers even get off the ground.
You wonder if God even notices you.
God gave Isaiah a word several thousand years ago and it is recorded in Isaiah 58 (one of my favorite chapters that I to define my walk with God).
As it says in Isaiah 58, here is why our prayers often don’t get off the ground:
The bottom line on your ‘fast days’ is profit. You drive your employees too hard. You fast, but at the same time you bicker and fight…Do you think this is the kid of fast day I’m after: a day to show off humility? To put on a pious long face and parade around solemnly in black?
This is the kind of fast day I’m after:
To break the chains of injustice, get rid of exploitation in the workplace, free the oppressed, cancel debts.
What I am interested in seeing you do is: sharing your food with the hungry, invite the homeless poor into your homes, putting clothes on the shivering ill-clad, being available to your own families.
Do this and the lights will turn on, and your lives will turn around at once. Your righteousness will pave your way. The God of glory will secure your passage.
Then when you pray, God will answer. You’ll call out for help and I’ll say, ‘Here I am.’ —Isaiah 58:3-9
If you haven’t already…open your Bible and read all of Isaiah 58.
I am guilty of living how Isaiah describes in the first part of this passage. I look forward to worship experiences like some do a sporting event or concert. I can geek out on dissecting what a word from a bible passage means. I will study a section of God’s word just I can understand it better.
Then I will bicker and fight with my wife. I will impatiently respond to a business acquaintance or a service provider. I will ignore those around me in need, including those who are in my family, both biological and spiritual. If I do notice those in need, I rationalize why I don’t have time or how someone else will or is meeting their need.
Then I wonder why God doesn’t answer me when I call on Him. My prayers feel hollow and lack the potency to even reach the ceiling of my room much less the heavens.
Lord, may I hide your words in my heart so that I might follow your ways.
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