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Where Effective Prayer Comes From

November 10, 2019

The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer. 1 Peter 3:12 (NIV)

Many people today are convinced that God will hear any prayer offered in any way at any time, so it is important for us to understand, from the Bible, that this is simply not the case. There is no effective praying without right living.

David says, “If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened” (Psa. 66:18). Notice David does not say, “You have to be perfect before God hears you.” God listens to the prayers of sinners, but He does not listen to the prayers of those who hold onto their sin.

You find the same teaching in the prophet Isaiah: “When you spread out your hands in prayer, I will hide my eyes from you; even if you offer many prayers, I will not listen… Wash and make yourselves clean… Stop doing wrong, learn to do right” (Isa. 1:15-17)!

The teaching of Jesus is very clear: “If you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled with your brother; then come and offer your gift” (Mat. 5:23-24).

There is no effective praying without right living. That’s why James says, “The prayer of a righteousness man is powerful and effective” (Jas. 5:16).

Respond to the statement: “There is no effective praying without right living.”

The Author
Colin Smith

Colin Smith is the senior pastor of The Orchard Evangelical Free Church in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. He has authored a number of books, including Heaven, How I Got Here and Heaven, So Near - So Far. Colin is the president and teacher for Unlocking the Bible. Follow him on Twitter.

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