October 4th

Prayer & Cherished Sin

16 Come and listen, all you who fear God; let me tell you what he has done for me. 17 I cried out to him with my mouth; his praise was on my tongue. 18 If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened; 19 but God has surely listened and heard my voice in prayer. 20 Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me!” Psalm 66:18 NIV 

Unanswered prayer can be a mystery.  Perhaps most of us can remember a prayer that appeared to go unanswered.  When that happens, we may go through a “faith crisis,” questioning God and his word.  Some people may get mad at God and stop walking with him.  Others may adjust their theology to explain the apparent contradiction between their experience and what the Bible says about prayer.  Some will persist in their prayers and ask for God’s wisdom and understanding regarding the situation.  I encourage you to be in the last group of people who continue on with God and don’t give up.   

Cherishing sin in the heart is perhaps the number one activity that sex addicts practice.  For example, pornography gives people lasting memories to lust over and idolize in their thoughts.  It shouldn’t be a surprise that sex addicts often write to us that they have cried out to God repeatedly without being answered.  If God doesn’t respond to them during the moments of desperation, they may give up on him and plunge right back into their sin. Some even get mad at God for not responding when they expected him to.   

If you’re in that kind of situation, you can take steps now to reconnect yourself to God.    The first things to are to shut down any visual input that is feeding lust (like porn) and then to stop cherishing sin memories in our thoughts.   Though we may feel overwhelmed by such a challenge, we can take courage that the Holy Spirit will help us gain control over our eyes and thoughts.  (see Freedom Journey

God is a healing God and he always wants to heal us from whatever is plaguing us.  We should not give up in praying for our healing and deliverance since we are called to be persistent in our prayers.  While you're seeking God for deliverance and healing, use that "in the mean time" to develop a close walk with Him.  The Bible says, 6But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6 NKJV).  Our repentance will be authenticated by our diligence in seeking God. 

Questions for further thought:

Prayer:

“Heavenly Father, I repent from cherishing sin in my heart in any way.  Please forgive me for this and cleanse my conscience from the dead works of sin with the blood of Jesus.  I turn away from the evil thought patterns I’ve practiced and now respond to your convictions.  I have the mind of Christ.  Please renew my sensitivity to the Holy Spirit and strengthen me to seek you with diligence.  Thank you, Lord!  In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.”