Hebrews 5:7 In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence. –ESV
If we struggle with unanswered prayer, we don’t need to try harder, pray longer or practice better discipline. It seems according to what we find in the text above, we simply need to find and use the key God has given us through His example in Jesus. The very Son of God had no sense of entitlement. He didn’t wave a wand with His nose in the air, to bring about what He desired.
Instead, He humbled Himself and pleaded with the Father with loud cries and tears. These loud cries and tears were outward demonstrations of His reverence. And His reverence is what caused the Father to hear Him.
Reverence Is A Kingdom Key
Knowing that this is a key, if not the key to answered prayer, perhaps we should take stock. How do we approach God? Is it with flippancy, thinking we can approach a holy God lightly because of grace? Is it from habit or religious duty, thinking He’ll hear us because of carnal sacrifice? Perhaps for some, it is simply a matter of covering every base. In other words, praying as a last resort, just in case God might want to help out.
In all of these scenarios, I believe God does answer some prayers. I’ve experienced it myself. But it is simply out of the rich kindness of His heart and His great faithfulness that He does so. He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. But the answers to prayers that intermittently filter through from such conditions are meant to whet our appetites, not to affirm our apathy.
Romans 2:4 Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? –ESV
His Kindness Runs Out
So let’s not presume on the riches of His kindness and forbearance and patience. If we do presume, we are in constant danger of those running out. He will let His kindness, forbearance and patience run out, if it is needed to wake us up. If this happens, we can quickly be caught in a world of trouble and then we are glad to approach the throne of God properly, since the stakes are so high.
But God gives us keys throughout His inspired Word so we don’t have to learn everything the hard way. I confess that personally I did learn this lesson the hard way. To be honest, far into my Christian walk, I would only learn things the hard way.
Psalm 32:8-9 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you. Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding, which must be curbed with bit and bridle, or it will not stay near you. –ESV
This verse really convicted me recently and it goes nicely with what I’m writing about. Are we willing to humble ourselves in reverence to God without a bit or bridle to guide us there? Can we lay our stubbornness aside and follow God passionately and with reverence because we love Him, and not because He guides us with external forces?
It’s All About Perspective
Let’s meditate on God’s kindness, forbearance and patience. If we review all He has done for us in light of the fact that we are undeserving wretches, I believe reverence will be a natural outcome. But if we cannot get a perspective of just how undeserving, filthy and sinful we are in our natural state, it is hard to be thankful for all God does for us, since these things seem like they should come as a matter of course.
So how do we gain that perspective? The best way I’ve found, is to simply read the Bible continually with an open heart. If we do, we will gain God’s perspective and see just how far we are from His standards. And this in itself should cause us to gain a holy fear or reverence of God. And as we gain this fear or reverence, and let it season every prayer, we will find that God hears and He answers.