If you remember last week, we discussed briefly the three qualifications that make our prayers accomplish much. Do you remember them? They are: effective, fervent, and righteous. Now, let’s examine them more thoroughly, in reverse order, starting with righteousness.
We can pray a lot about the desires of our hearts—even what we want our lives to become—but do we ever ask ourselves, “Where is my heart at?” A great desire of my heart is to see revival come to America. The Bible says, “Delight yourself in the Lord and He shall give you the desires of your heart” (Ps. 37:4). If my heart is not delighting in Him, then my heart’s desire will not be fulfilled through Him. So, when we pray, where are our hearts? Do we stand pure, holy, and righteous before God?
This whole series is entitled, “Who Will Ascend?” Remember the qualifications for ascending? They’re found in Psalm 24:4: “He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted up his soul to an idol, nor sworn deceitfully.” Ascending the mountain of God (praying effectively) requires righteousness! All four of those qualifications require righteousness on our part. Remember, anyone can pray, but not anyone can ascend. Effective prayers come from righteous people.
The Psalm says, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear” (Ps. 66:18). The first step to widespread revival is personal revival. If our hearts are not right with God, the Bible says the Lord will not even hear our prayers, much less answer them. How can we pray for change in a nation when we won’t allow the Lord to change us, individually? Truly, if we allowed Him to change each of us, the nation would be changed.
This is repentance: a sorrow for sin that produces change. It is the first step on the road to revival. James 5:16a tells us, “Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed.” The healing that comes from confession of sins is not merely physical, but literally all-encompassing. When we confess our sins to one another and pray for one another, we will see such a unity among us that our relationships will be healed. Our spiritual climate will be healed. Ultimately, our land will be healed.
This is righteousness: not the living without sin, but the repentance and confession of sin—combined with a change of heart that makes us desire to sin no more. Before going any further on the road to revival, this hurdle of righteousness must be addressed. Our prayers cannot be effective or fervent if we are not righteous. Our hearts must be right with God before He can give us our hearts’ desires.
Take a moment right now to get right with God in your heart, repent of your sins, and seek His righteousness. This must be dealt with before we can move on. Then, check back next week as we discuss the other two qualifications of power-filled prayers.