The Lord… delights in the prayers of the upright.
Well, yes, I do include myself in the category of “upright.” Not because I’m so perfect. Not because I’m even close to being spotless and blameless. Standing on my own merit, I’ll never win the badge of UPRIGHT. But since Jesus stands for me, and since all the things in me that were obstacles between God and me have been blotted out of God’s sight, then yes, I’m in that upright category. So are you, child of God.
He delights in our prayers. Doesn’t that, in turn, give you a delight in your relationship with your Father?
I think the Father’s delight is related to another lesson of Hezekiah’s: The record in Chronicles notes that this king “sought his God wholeheartedly” (1 Chronicles 31:21).
Wholeheartedly. What does that word mean to you? What does it look like in your life if you are seeking God wholeheartedly?
I’m thinking of the scene Jesus described of two people in the Temple. One, an arrogant Pharisee whose prayer extolled his own “righteousness.” The other, a “despised tax collector” who “stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed (Luke 18:13).” You know his prayer, offered in sorrow and humility. The second man is the one who sought God wholeheartedly.
Then there’s the conversation between Jesus and the woman of Samaria, also someone the Jews would not approve of. Jesus talks to her about God’s desire that His people worship Him “in truth.”
And I found one more interesting word from Jesus: “Don’t babble on and on in your prayers,” He said. “Just get to the point. God knows what you need even before you get the words out” (see Matthew 6:7-8).
In all of these, I hear Jesus say, “Do away with pretension. Come to God exactly as you are. Be truthful with Him. Bare your soul.”
Think about your earthly friendships. The strongest, most intimate, and most satisfying are those you enter into wholeheartedly—in exactly the ways God wants us to relate to Him.
Why pretend, anyway? God knows exactly who I am. He knew exactly who Hezekiah was, too. And lest you think Hezekiah was perfect, he was not. At one point in his life he was getting proud and boastful, and his loving Father saw that some discipline was necessary for Hezekiah’s own good. The king saw that he’d been going down the wrong path, and he turned around.
When we come to the Father open, honest, and humble and offer ourselves—all of ourselves, including our weaknesses, warts, and sins—then He not only hears but also delights in our prayers!
I am praying to you because I know you will answer, O God.
Bend down and listen as I pray.
© Elaine Starner 2015 Photo credits: Thanks to Claire Pridgeon, Paul Stutzman, and Lana Turner for sharing photography I’ve used on this site. (Click on each name to see more.)