Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"
When you pray for something and you don't seem to get an answer, what could be wrong? The stock answer is Psalm 66:18, "If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear." "Regard" means to cherish, to keep on indulging the sin after the Holy Spirit convicts you of it, which is "willful sin." Yes, the Lord has too much self-respect to take a prayer seriously that comes from someone who goes on willfully insulting Him. He still loves that person, and He keeps on giving that person grace and mercy and kindness, but He can't "do business" with someone who is obviously, knowingly, purposefully, willfully, a hypocrite.
"But that's not me!" someone says. Maybe there's another reason why prayer seems unanswered: If you choose to doubt His willingness to hear and to answer (and worst of all, express the doubt to someone else), you are making it embarrassing for God to answer your prayer. He just can't, much as He would like to!
The reason is that you doubt the very bedrock character of God; you are thinking maybe, perhaps, possibly your heavenly Father will give you a stone when you ask Him for a piece of bread; and then you have slid yourself into the position of being a hypocrite. Why ask God for something when you doubt His willingness to bless? You are mouthing empty words! That's hypocrisy!
So: (1) "He who comes to God must believe (a) that He is, and (b) that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him" (Heb. 11:6). And (2), "Whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them" (Mark 11:24). Believe what? That you receive them (present tense), and that you will have them (future tense).
--Robert J. Wieland
From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: November 8, 2000.
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