Hindered Prayer continued...
When it comes to why God does something as well as why He doesn’t do something, such as answer certain prayers, it’s good to be thorough so that there are no misunderstandings, or feelings of bitterness.
Little foxes spoil the vines, and small issues can have big repercussions. This is why although our discussion concerning things that hinder our prayers might seem exhaustive to some, it is nevertheless necessary.
Lack of love, in all its many facets, hinders our prayers as readily as would pride, disobedience or rebellion. We can be lacking in love toward those in need, toward our fellow brothers in Christ, toward those who are lost and dying, but whatever area we are lacking love in, it can and often does hinder our prayers, and keeps them from being answered.
So what possible connection could there be between the needs of others, showing love toward them, and our own prayers being answered?
Proverbs 21:13, “Whoever shuts his ear to the cry of the poor will also cry himself and not be heard.”
There are individuals all around us who cry for help, men and women who have fallen on hard times, those who through their own choices or events beyond their sphere of control, have no other options but to cry out. When we as children of God shut our ears to the cries of the poor, when we pretend we do not hear them or pretend we do not see them, when we ourselves cry out to God, we will not be heard either.
He who gives to the poor gives to himself. I realize the previous statement is paradoxical, but it is nevertheless true. When we see someone who is hungry, who is hurting, who is needy and we reach out to them, we are helping ourselves as much as we are helping that individual.
God is a great accountant, and not a glass of water, a crust of bread, or a suit of clothes given in His name will go unseen by Him.
I grew up in a giving family. Whether we had abundance, or we were in need, we always gave. Whether it was a meal, a blanket, or our time, from my grandfather, to my grandmother, to my father and my mother, they were fine examples of what it means to be selfless, and it is one of the many lessons that I am thankful for having been taught early on in life.
It’s easy to fall in to the ‘when I have such and such, or when I make this amount I’ll be able to give’ mentality. It’s not about the amount, or the item you give, it’s about having the tender heart, and allowing the love of Christ to move you to give.
We must be sensitive to the needs of others and the cries of others, because we in turn cry out to God and petition Him.
God has always had a special place in His heart for the poor, for the widow, and the orphan. Although He cares for them providentially, from time to time He stirs us, His servants, to be His hands and His feet…He stirs us to reach out and help the helpless.
Deuteronomy 15:7-8, “If there is among you a poor man of your brethren, within any of the gates in your land which the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart nor shut your hand form your poor brother, but you shall open your hand wide to him and willingly lend him sufficient for his need, whatever he needs.”
Deuteronomy 15:10, “You shall surely give him, and your heart should not be grieved when you give to him, because for this thing the Lord your God will bless you in all your works and in all to which you put your hand.”
Because your heart is tender, because you have love for the brethren therein, because the heart of Christ beats in your chest, and you are not grieved when you give to the needy, the Lord your God will bless you in all your works and in all to which you put your hands.
No, this isn’t about salvation, we don’t do works or give to the poor to get saved or stay saved, we give of ourselves because we are saved, and because we know that God will bless us when we do it.
Two clear paths are set before us, and it is up to us which path we choose. We either shut our ear to the cry of the poor, and as consequence our own cries will not be heard, or we give and are blessed of the Lord in all our works and in all to which we put our hand.
No man can fault God when God doesn’t hear his cries if he himself has ignored the cries of the poor. Nor can any man fault God for not blessing the work of his hands if he himself has shut his hand and hardened his heart toward the needy, because God settled the matter in His word already.
Psalm 41:1-3, “Blessed is he who considers the poor; the Lord will deliver him in time of trouble. The Lord will preserve him and keep him alive, and he will be blessed on earth; You will not deliver him to the will of his enemies. The Lord will strengthen him on his bed of illness; You will sustain him on his sickbed.”
There are no less than six promises made to those who consider the poor in these three verses alone. First, the Lord will deliver them in time of trouble. Second, the Lord will preserve them and keep them alive. Third, they will be blessed on earth. Fourth, they will not be delivered to the will of their enemies. Fifth, the Lord will strengthen them on their bed of illness. And sixth, they will be sustained of God on their sickbeds.
May we consider the poor, and thus receive the promises of God.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.