The Lord detests the sacrifice of the wicked, but the prayer of the upright pleases him. (Proverbs 15:8)
If you’ve been a Christian for any length of time, I’m sure you’d utter a heartfelt “Amen” whenever I speak of the importance of prayer in our lives. Today’s verse describes the prayer that pleases God.
Before we take a look at that, however, let us consider that today’s verse also indicates that there is prayer that does not please God, and that is prayer that is not according to the will of God. It is prayer that is not rooted in glorifying God. Prayer that does not please God is uttered by a person who is seeking to expand the cause of his own kingdom rather than the kingdom of God. It is prayer that is man-centered rather than God-centered.
The prayer of the upright, on the other hand, is pleasing to God. In his devotional, Faith’s Checkbook, Charles Spurgeon explained it this way:
Our first concern is to be “upright.” Neither bending this way nor that, continue upright: not crooked with policy, nor prostrate by yielding to evil, be upright in strict integrity and straightforwardness. If we begin to shuffle and shift, we will be left to shift for ourselves. If we try crooked ways, we will find that we cannot pray; and if we pretend to do so, we will find our prayers shut out of heaven. Are we acting in a straight line and thus following out the Lord’s revealed will? Then let us pray much and pray in faith. If our prayer is God’s delight, let us not stint Him in that which gives Him pleasure.
To be “upright” is to be right up close and personal with our Lord Jesus Christ, living according to His will in our lives. An upright life is marked by obedience (as imperfect as our obedience will always be) seeking to accomplish God’s plan and purpose for our lives. God has no interest in our sacrifices of time, talent, or treasure, no matter how great, if we are not walking upright in the truth of His Word. Our God is pleased to hear from those who find their pleasure in Him.
What has your heart been beating for lately? Has it been beating for yourself . . . or for your Savior?
Remember, we are not only given the privilege to come boldly before the throne of grace, we are commanded to do so. Our lives should be marked by prayers that flow from a heart that is beating for nothing smaller than Jesus. Remember that James assured us that . . .
The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. (James 5:16)
The prayer of the upright is powerful, effective, and pleasing to God. May this be the confession of our lives!
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!