Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice
Psalm 27:7 “Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice: have mercy also upon me, and answer me.”
Psalm 20:9 “Save, Lord: let the King hear us when we call.”
One of our great blessings, as Christians, is that God hears our prayers, and answers them.
1 John 5:14-15 “And this is the confidence that we have in Him, that, if we ask anything according to His Will, He heareth us.
And if we know that He hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him.”
They may be short like Peter walking on the sea: “Lord, save me”(Matthew 14:28-30).
Or they may be long petitions, laying out our troubles before Him (Psalm 142:1-2).
Psalm 86:7 “In the day of my trouble I will call upon Thee: for Thou wilt answer me.”
True prayer is finding out what God wants us to pray, and then praying in accordance with His Will…..for ourselves and others. Lifting up to Him, His Will; by our will and words.
Psalm 27:8 “When Thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto Thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek.”
During the ministry of Isaiah, the Lord corrected His people….when after giving a wonderful promise to them, they did not ask Him to do it:
(The promise: “Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean…..a new heart also will I give you….and I will put my Spirit within you,…” Isaiah 36:25-27)
Isaiah 36:37 “Thus saith the Lord God; I will yet for this be inquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them;…”
They did not ask for what He promised them.
Do we take for granted His promises, and not ask, for what He wants to give?
Sometimes the Lord asks us what we want:
David, after his sin in numbering the people, was given a choice as to the correction he was to receive,……..and his answer was:
“let us now fall into the hand of the Lord; for His mercies are great:….” (2 Samuel 24:12-14)
And I ask all who know the Lord Jesus……..where else can we feel safe….but in His hand……..even, when we are being corrected?
One of the things the Lord requires, when we pray…..is to listen for His answer.
Isaiah 55:3 “Incline your ear, and come unto Me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.”
Isaiah 30:21 “And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.”
One of the great parables Jesus told about prayer is:
Luke 18:10 “Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.”
I want to mention here, that both men went to the right place, to do the right thing: To pray…….both of them.
When men would go into the temple, they would look toward the mercy seat. It was hidden, in the Holy of Holies; behind the first curtain, the Holy Place (where only the priests ministered), and a second curtain.
It was where the blood of the sin offering was poured out for the sins of the nation. And to this mercy seat, all were to look, to pray. (Exodus 25:21-22)
The Lord tells of the Pharisee’s prayer first:
Luke 18:11-12 “The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank Thee that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.
I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.”
This man begins with praise to God…..but it is for himself, being so much better than so many others.
He was not a gross sinner, and he thanks God for that….and goes on to tell God: that he was a good man….certain that God appreciated him,….and his good works.
“…for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.” (Luke 6:45)
This man’s heart was full of himself…..so the words spoken praised God,…..yet his heart came out….and showed that the only thing he was praising was himself.
(Frankly, he was stuck with himself, and his thoughts of God…a bad place to be in:
Matthew 16:25 “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it:….”)
Luke 18:13-14 “And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.”
This man was a tax collector: usually they were a cheat or thief….taking more than Rome demanded….for themselves.
But his prayer was of repentance: “God be merciful to me a sinner”.
Mercy is God’s kindness to sinners. There are temporal mercies: the sun, rain, harvests, etc., for all.
And there are spiritual mercies, which include sending His Son to save us, His faith and grace to help us, and His Holy Spirit to guide us.
Titus. 3:4-5 “But after that the kindness and love of God our Savior toward man appeared,
Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
Which He shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior;”
That is what this man wanted…..God’s mercy to him, spiritually, as a sinner…..one who had rebelled and offended God, and His Way.
He would not even look up….”would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven”.
Those that humble themselves under the hand of God, will be exalted in due time. (1 Peter 5:6)
“…for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble” (1 Peter 5:5)
This man wanted mercy for forgiveness, and grace for salvation……
And he got it. “This man—the publican—went to his house justified.
Romans 5:1 “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:”
Real repentance does not go out and do the sin all over…..and that is what this man wanted….he wanted mercy for his sin, and salvation from it……and he got it.
Sadly, the Pharisee did not. He went home the same, as when he came….thinking he was in God’s favor…..but, he neither received mercy, nor justification.
Psalm 85:7-8 “Show us Thy mercy, O Lord, and grant us Thy salvation.
I will hear what God the Lord will speak: for He will speak peace unto His people, and to His saints: but let them not turn again to folly.”