When I started to grasp my own wickedness prayer got harder. My pride, self-will, lust, anger, hatred, fear, distrust, frustration, and anxiety left me incapacitated before a holy God. At first prayer made me feel fake, and eventually hopeless.
I knew that I needed God to satisfy my heart, so I tied to whitewash my sin, hoping that he would love me and hear me. It never worked. Inevitably, I sinned and fell back into despondency.
When I read verses like Isaiah 62:6-7, “You who put the LORD in remembrance, take no rest, and give him no rest [in your prayers],” I felt confused. How can someone so sinful pray so boldly?
Does your shame keep you from prayer? We struggle to pray boldly, because we do not understand the gospel.
By our sinful rebellion we threw out our right to be heard by God. Only Jesus lived a perfect life, and thereby deserved to be heard.
On the day before Jesus died, he prayed boldly to his father and asked him to take away the terrible death he was about to face. God said no. Jesus asked again. God said no. So Jesus followed his father’s will all the way to the cross. Then, as he died in terrible misery, Jesus’ father turned away from him, forsaking Jesus’ prayers.
In love, on the cross, Jesus took our place. God told Jesus ‘no’ instead of us. Christ’s prayers went unheard, so our prayers might be heard.
If we get the gospel, then we pray boldly for God’s kingdom, because we understand that we do not pray to the father by our own righteousness, but by Christ’s. The Father loves Jesus, and when we pray through Jesus he loves us and hears us.