Heartfelt Prayer

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“Let us lift up our heart with our hands unto God in the heavens.” (Lamentations 3:41)

by Dr. Henry Morris, Ph.D.
It is so easy to let our prayers become routine and repetitious, and we need to remember that God listens more closely to our hearts than the phrases from our lips. The Lord Jesus cautioned us about this: “But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him” (Matthew 6:7-8).

Many people will lift their hands to pray or prostrate themselves on the ground. Some will stand; some will kneel. Some shout, some pray silently, some even leap and dance. Some will write out their prayers and then read them to an audience; others will pray eloquently and at great length. But the thing that counts far more than posture or eloquence is our attitude of heart. We must lift up our hearts to the Lord, not just our hands or our voices. Then He will hear in heaven!

We need to feel as the psalmist felt: “As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God” (Psalm 42:1). Our hearts need first to be right, of course—pure and true in His sight. “Call on the Lord out of a pure heart” (2 Timothy 2:22). “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me” (Psalm 66:18). “Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith” (Hebrews 10:22).

Our prayers must also come from a believing heart. “Let him ask in faith, nothing wavering.” Otherwise, “let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord” (James 1:6-7). With these conditions met, the Christian is ready to pray, but then he must pray from deep within his pure, true, believing heart, and God will answer. “The effectual fervent [one word in the Greek, energeo] prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16).