Encouragement for Today
Micca Campbell, Director of Outreach, Proverbs 31 Speaker Team Member
Isaiah 59:1, “Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened that it cannot save; nor His ear heavy, that it cannot hear. But your inequities have separated you from your God. And your sins have hidden His face from you.” (NKJ)
I heard a story about a woman who longed for her grown children to know the Lord. Week after week the woman would invite her children to Sunday dinner even though they didn’t attend church. Knowing that her kids wouldn’t miss one of her home-cooked meals, she used the opportunity to re-cap the preacher’s sermon in hopes they would come to believe.
Politely her children listened as they feasted. Unfortunately, she failed to hook them. While this would discourage some, she refused to give up. Every Saturday night, the woman would cry out, “Oh, God, let this be the week that my children are saved!”
Years went by, and still not one of her children had come to the Lord. Then one day, God performed three miracles.
It was Sunday. The pastor preached on Isaiah 59:1. From Scripture, he taught that our prayers go unheard by God when sin is present in our lives. The woman proudly nodded her head in agreement with her pastor. Inwardly she thought, “Now there is a sermon these members need to hear.” But felt no conviction herself. Unchanged, she went home to serve her Sunday dinner.
While the woman sat the table and added the finishing touches to her meal, she engaged in conversation with her children about the importance of church attendance. Yet, this time, she heard something strange coming from her own mouth. Every word she spoke was negative. The woman complained about her Pastor not remembering her birthday. She grumbled about the programs and how the church was being run. She certainly didn’t agree with the music, and she had nothing good to say about the deacons. To top it off, she shared about the burdens of those in her Sunday school class and why, in her opinion, they were in such a mess.
Realizing this was the content of her conversation every Sunday, it suddenly became clear why her children had not sought salvation. She realized her own sin had blocked her prayers.
The woman was so convicted by her wrongdoing that the following Sunday she asked the pastor if she could say a few words. That’s when the second miracle took place.
The woman openly and honestly confessed her sin before her church family. Then, she asked for their forgiveness and prayers. Many in the congregation were so moved by the Spirit of confession that some took her spot and admitted their sin, too. What a day it was! That church began to see God do in a short time what they had been asking Him to do for years.
Oh, yes. There was a third miracle as well. All of her children came to know the Lord.
Have you ever felt like your prayers were going unheard? Perhaps they are. Could there be some sin in your life that is preventing God from hearing and answering your prayers? Would you ask Him to reveal it? That kind of prayer God will always hear because He wants nothing more than to have an open relationship with you, where blessings abound.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want some sin in my life to hinder my prayers for my children, myself, or anyone else. God desires that we come to Him with clean hands and a pure heart. Then He will hear, forgive, restore, and save. Would you come clean today? God is waiting to bless you, and others on your prayer list.
My Prayer for Today:
Dear Lord, I bring you my sin of ________. I want to turn from it so that it no longer hinders my prayer life with you. Cleanse me now and hear my prayers. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
After you confess your sin, purchase a note pad and mark the front “My Prayer Journal.” Write down the things you have been praying about for a long time. Then, record how quickly God answers your prayers, and don’t forget to thank Him.
Have you ever considered that your sin can be a hindrance in someone’s life?
Have you experienced silence from God when sin dominates your life?
What does God want you to do when you know sin has separated you from Him?
When you confess your sin, what does God promise He’ll do?
I John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleans us from all unrighteousness.” (H.B)
Romans 6:22, “But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.” (NKJ)
Jeremiah 33:8, “And I will cleanse them from all their iniquity, whereby they have sinned against me; and I will pardon all their iniquities whereby they have sinned, and whereby they have transgressed against me. (NKJ)
Mark 11:25, “And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any, that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.” (NKJ)
Radically Obedient, Radically Blessed, by Lysa TerKeurst
Becoming A Woman Who Listens to God, by Sharon Jaynes
Message of the Month Club
Originally published Friday, 15 April 2005.