A few days ago, I mentioned that God desires obedience rather than sacrifice, a pure heart rather than some burnt offerings.
I want to share a few more verses to expand on that concept, focusing on prayer. All three verses come from the Proverbs:
The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord,
but the prayer of the upright is acceptable to him. Proverbs 15:8
If you are wicked, even a great, elaborate act such as sacrificing an animal is putrid in the eyes of God. The righteous, however, receive acceptance from God even when offering nothing more than a humble little prayer.
The Lord is far from the wicked,
but he hears the prayer of the righteous. Proverbs 15:29
If you are wicked, God is remote to you — He is out of reach, for even your righteousness’ are as filthy, disgusting rags to Him.
It is only through faith in the Lord that grace may be found, that His righteousness might be imputed (or counted) to your account so that in His eyes you stand perfect, upright, and righteous. Only then will the Lord no longer be afar off; for the righteous, He is close at hand, and He hears your secret prayers.
If one turns away his ear from the law,
even his prayer is an abomination. Proverbs 28:9
One of the myriad consequences of sin is that even your “good works” become abominable in God’s sight; sin so taints our being that we are no longer able to do anything which warrants God’s favor, grace, mercy, love, or patience.
Don’t trust that you are a good enough person to go to Heaven. Moses wasn’t. Paul wasn’t. David wasn’t. The beloved disciple John wasn’t. Martin Luther wasn’t. John Calvin wasn’t. The Puritans weren’t. I’m not. And you’re not.
In some way or another, we have all turned away from God’s Law. We’ve shattered the Ten Commandments, damning the consequences of our actions. We hate, we lust, we idolize, we covet, we steal, we dishonor, we backbite, we quarrel, and above all, we put ourselves first in our lives, ousting the God of all Creation of His rightful place in our hearts.
Paul said that he wasn’t depending upon “having a righteousness of my own” but was rather leaning upon “that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith” (Philippians 3:9).
Do you want to be counted righteous before God so that He will not only hear your prayers but one day usher you into His glorious Kingdom of life? It comes only “through faith in Christ.”
Believe in Jesus Christ. Repent (turn from) your sins, and cast your life upon Jesus, trusting in Him and Him alone to save you.
Your only alternative is Hell.
“Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. John 3:18