Who are the Righteous? The righteous are the ones who obey the will of the Lord. And they are the ones whose prayers are heard because they are upright in their heart – in their sayings, in their dealings. They are the ones who serve the will of the Lord on Earth. Our God, who loves the upright in the heart also hates the wicked with equal venom. The prayers of the man who turns away his ear from hearing the law of God is an abomination, hateful & revolting in His eyes (Prov 28:9) John 9:31 says, “We know the God does not hear sinners, but anyone who is God fearing and does His will, He hears him. ”
The Bible says, God was delighted for everything he had created in the Universe. But when he saw the wickedness of man was great in the earth, He was grieved in his heart for creating him. (Geni 6:5,6) He searched for an upright man and he found one in Noah. Among the people of his time, Noah was just, righteous and blameless. And he walked with God. God wanted to put an end to man’s wickedness that had multiplied on the face of the earth. So God made a plan for Noah and his family but he destroyed all others from the face of the earth, the Bible says. Those who find His grace and favour also find their prayers answered. Do we pray as a family at home? Do we set good examples for our children tolead? Do we guide them to experience God through their own daily prayers?
The Psalmist calls upon us to call upon the Lord first thing early in the morning. Do we seek him as the dark seeks the first light of the day? Do we seek him even before dawn like the Psalmist exorts us in 119:147? Give the first portion of the day to the Lord for Him to pass on His blessings throughout the day. But how? How are we to approach the Lord? With a humble heart, we should learn to open our hearts for Him to enter and make us whole, in Him. Humbleness is the first requisite, which means you got to know yourself. Have an understanding about our own smallness in the sight of the Lord, inspite of whatever our association might be with all things the world calls strong and mighty. Mighty, as infinite as it may seem, might not be enough for all of human understanding to even catch a glimpse of His might, in all of our living days. Define-able is our smallness, lightness, the fragility of our proud-ego- filled being, and limitedness of our most brilliant minds against His matchless might. So, with a humbleness that beats your last attempt at it, you present yourself to the Lord to be shaped as the clay on the potter’s wheel. What else can you do? Can you hold the Lord to ransom – to execute our wish?
David fasted for seven days begging to let his son live. God had other plans. When finally the child born to Bathsheba and David dies, David quit his fast, bathed and went on with life. But Jesus has taught us how to pray, hasn’t He? In Gethsemane, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” This is how we are to call on the Lord. After all it is better to submit to His will rather than ask Him to see it our way. He sees the bigger picture, and it should be our joy to give ourselves in to His hands to be shaped by will of His hands, like the clay on the potter’s wheel.
Doesn’t the Bible repeatedly warn us that ‘God resists the proud and grace to the humble.” If then that is the case, should we competing to humble rather than to feel proud? Bent knees is the physical manifestation of the humbleness; giving up the self, emptying the “I” in you, the “I” that has worldly reasons to feel proud and exhibits it too, is the kind of “I” that He wants you to quit as a prerequisite for His will to work in you. This is the kind of humbleness that He expects from us so that he can shape you in His likeness. James 4:10 says, “Only if we are humble before God, He will lift us up.” A humbled heart is the foundation on which He builds the new you in His likeness and it doesn’t happen overnight. It is a process that shapes you daily in His likeness. Your humbling before the Will raise you up before the men of the world. God searches our heart to find any goodness in it. He measures it, weighs it, hears how it sounds and grades it according to it value. It won’t go unnoticed. The reward is sure to come by. But you can’t have some amount of goodness and lots of wickedness. It doesn’t work that way. We either got goodness in us or there is not; all the rest is filled by the wickedness of the world. It isn’t a vacuum. Because He is the source of all goodness, He searches for Him in us, which simply means, He looks to find how much we have grown in His likeness. Or have we at all?
Because he has created in us an intrinsic quality for goodness, He wants to find if we have been mindful of it, if we had multiplied our goodness or have we grown lazy, unmindful of it and taken over by the desires of the world. Have we have nurtured, grown & multiplied the goodness in us so that it touches the lives of others? Or have we buried it all? Here is how this is also related to the parable of the talents. Because he expects talents to multiply, he expects the goodness in us to multiply, to be made useful for others who would soon seek to find the source of all goodness. Our goodness made possible by Him is not destined to be buried in us. It has to light up the darkness of the world like the lamp on the table because nobody puts it under the table. The Lord accepted the prayers of the Tax Collector but not that of the Pharsee, as the Tax Collector was aware of the dirt that stuck to him; there was nothing to call good in him. He knew he was nowhere near the likeness of the Lord . He could see the oceans of difference that separated him from the man he addressed as the Lord, Jesus Christ. He was ashamed. He was overpowered by the fear that his mere presence could defile the Temple if he entered its gates. So he stood outside the gates and he humbled himself before the God of all Goodness, he rent open his heart for the Lord to clean and his prayers were answered.
When Nathan pointed out the sin King David had committed, he immediately surrendered to the Lord, and poured out his heart; for only the had power to forgive the sin he had committed. And as King, with none above him, only the Lord had the power to punish him too. His humble repentance is what makes Psalms 51 so endearing, every time we read.
But for all prayer to reach its destination it needs to be built on the premise of faith; faith that is complete; faith, absolute! Faith without cracks for doubts that Satan brings, to seep through. Faith is the basement on which is built the premise of prayer. Jesus Himself tells us in Mark 11:24, “Therefore I tell you, whatever you have asked in prayer, believe that you received it and it will be yours.” The words of our prayers are linked to our action of faith. When we believe that our prayers will be answered, we also begin to act accordingly. But without faith it isimpossible to be well pleasing to Him, says Hebr11:6. The chapter of Hebrew 11 deals entirely with the History of Faith and makes an interesting lesson in thebuilding of our faith in God. Because everything is possible through prayer, we attain it with the manifestation of our faith in our prayers andthe only one who is capable of answering it. Mark 5: 25 -34 tells us of the story of a woman who suffered for 12 years from discharge of blood. She knew with all her heart, if only she could touch the hem of His gown, she’d be healed. As Jesus drew near her, shetouched His cloak and her faith drained the strength away and at that moment she was healed, instantly. Her faith did it. It stole upon the miraculous power of the Lord. Before Jesus stopped, turned to her and uttered “You are healed” she indeed was healed on touch of faith. Jesus in fact, stood only to acknowledge that her faith is what “had” healed her (already!) He himself must have been surprised by such display of faith that he had not witness anywhere else. So was it with the Centurion who wanted his servant cured. He couldn’t wait for Jesus to walk to his home to meet the servant and touch him to cure. He must have heard enough stories about Jesus to already believe in Christ and also to show faith in the power of just one word from Jesus, which had the power to heal. Jesus must have been surprised again. Jesus himself became a testament to the Centurion’s faith saying He had not seen any of such faith in the whole of Galilee.
Jesus doesn’t forsake a fervent prayer. He is equally passionate about our passion for him. Jabez, means Sorrow maker. His mother named him so because she bore him in great pain. Jabez looked upto the Lord and prayed with passion. The prayers of Jabez were answered instantly as his prayer flowed out from deep within. “ "If only you would greatly bless me and expand my territory! May your hand be with me! Keep me from harm so I might not endure pain!” When king Hezekiah wept bitterly to the Lord , God answered him by granting 15 more years to his life. (II Kings 20: 1-6)
So when you pray to God, our father in heaven, humble yourself and pour out your heart to the in all earnest, with whole hearted faith that your prayers will be heard and answered, just like the Bible asks us to. Hannah wept to the Lord for a child to bear. God answered her prayers with Samuel, one of the greatest prophets in the Bible. Your proximity to the Lord bears fruit that you can enjoy for the whole life time. A humble, heartfelt Prayer is the link that brings your appeal to be heard by the power of the Most High. It is as simple as that. Faith is the catalyst that brings results. Daniel’s earnest relationship with God brought him success in every field of life. The Bible says, God was with him, raising him up. Like the popular saying, the man who bends his knees to the will stand up above the men of the world, God is indeed delighted to answer the prayer of the righteous and upright man, and aspires to put his own above all men.