6 Nov 2012
Today the Lord seems to be posing a rather straightforward question. How does humility or the lack of it impact our praying and God’s answers? To begin our investigation, let’s examine one of the highpoints of faith; the day God asked Abraham to sacrifice his only son Isaac.
Genesis 22:2 (AMP)
2 [God] said, Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah; and offer him there as a burnt offering upon one of the mountains of which I will tell you.
We are told that Isaac is now a young man. But more than this, Isaac was the promise God gave to Abraham. Knowing what we know now, it’s without doubt difficult for us to find our way to the place occupied by Abraham on that third day, for it was on the third day that Abraham arrived at Mount Moriah, the location that God had chosen. Abraham was certainly oblivious to the reality that this location would have for God and His people eternal significance.
God has now revealed so much that Abraham did not know. But Abraham knew that God had promised him a son. He knew that this son was to be his heir and the father of multitudes, more numerous than the sand on the seashore. Yet on this day Abraham had clearly understood that he was to sacrifice his son as a burnt offering to his God, the One and the same God that had miraculously provided this son in response to a seemingly preposterous promise.
As we attempt our best impersonation of looking at Abraham’s heart we might see three primary characteristics coming together. First we must consider humility. This may seem strange, since the Bible indicates that Abraham’s faith was counted as righteousness. Yet as seen in Abraham, humility clearly includes the process of emptying ourselves of all rights and privileges. ( Phil.2:5) In fact, without the absolute absence of pride, Abraham would not have passed this test. This was not only a test of His faith but Abraham’s response was built on a foundation of humble submission to the will and the plan of God.
Humility, faith and obedience are like a cord of three strands, not quickly torn apart. They each strengthen the other.
Jesus instructed us to pray the will of the Father would be done here on earth. This is to be a priority to be asked first before our own needs. To sincerely pray in this way we must humbly submit our hearts and lives, like Abraham, to the will and the plan of God. The arrogant pride-filled person is unable to act or to pray in ways pleasing to God. God’s word is absolutely clear, if we pray with pride in our hearts the Lord will not hear us.
Psalms 66:18 (AMP)
18 If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me;
In our mores today we have allowed to a significant extent the ways of this world to capture our Christian culture. One of the primary results of our cultural capitulation is our growing trend toward arrogance. God has not changed His mind regarding arrogance.
Proverbs 28:25-26 (NASB77)
25 An arrogant man stirs up strife, But he who trusts in the LORD will prosper.
26 He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, But he who walks wisely will be delivered.
Notice the subtle but very real contrast between pride and faith in this verse.
David in his prayer recorded for us in Psalm 17 also alludes to the critical aspect of humility in prayer.
Psalms 17:1-10 (AMP)
1 A Prayer of David.
HEAR THE right (my righteous cause), O Lord; listen to my shrill, piercing cry! Give ear to my prayer, that comes from unfeigned and guileless lips.
2 Let my sentence of vindication come from You! May Your eyes behold the things that are just and upright.
3 You have proved my heart; You have visited me in the night; You have tried me and find nothing [no evil purpose in me]; I have purposed that my mouth shall not transgress.
4 Concerning the works of men, by the word of Your lips I have avoided the ways of the violent (the paths of the destroyer).
5 My steps have held closely to Your paths [to the tracks of the One Who has gone on before]; my feet have not slipped.
6 I have called upon You, O God, for You will hear me; incline Your ear to me and hear my speech.
7 Show Your marvelous loving-kindness, O You Who save by Your right hand those who trust and take refuge in You from those who rise up against them.
8 Keep and guard me as the pupil of Your eye; hide me in the shadow of Your wings
9 From the wicked who despoil and oppress me, my deadly adversaries who surround me.
10 They are enclosed in their own prosperity and have shut up their hearts to pity; with their mouths they make exorbitant claims and proudly and arrogantly speak.
Is David whispering to you and to me over the Spirit’s eternal spiritual air waves? Is he imploring us to come to God with humble and pure hearts? Can a pure heart contain pride? Should our communication with God be bound with a cord of three strands, strands of humility, faith, and obedience?
When God instructed Solomon concerning the future prayers of His people, God’s first requirement for answered prayer was for His people, who are called by His name tohumble themselves.
2 Chronicles 7:14 (KJV)
14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
We are told in the pages of scripture that the responsibility for dealing with our pride falls to us. Of course God’s heart is to help us with our responsibilities, but we must first chose.
Micah 6:8 (AMP)
8 He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, and to love kindness and mercy, and to humble yourself and walk humbly with your God?
1 Peter 5:6 (AMP)
6 Therefore humble yourselves [demote, lower yourselves in your own estimation] under the mighty hand of God, that in due time He may exalt you,
James 4:10 (AMP)
10 Humble yourselves [feeling very insignificant] in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you [He will lift you up and make your lives significant].
Could it be true that the prayers of a humble believer are most significant in the eyes of God? If there is truth in this assumption ……. how then shall we pray?