"First things first"--you've heard that before, haven't you? Your mom yelled, "Come to lunch! Wash your hands first!"Your boss told you, "Don't ever take out the company car without checking the oil first."
Your spouse warned, "I just vacuumed the carpet. Take your shoes off before you come in."
You know your car won't start unless you turn the ignition key first, and you can't read your email without booting up the computer first; but did you know there is a "first thing first" in prayer too? Let's see what the Lord says.
ReceiveYou are probably aware that your relationship to God should be right if you expect Him to answer your prayers. Proverbs 15:29 (ESV) says:
"The LORD is far from the wicked,
but he hears the prayer of the righteous."
But there's another condition to be met before your prayers can be effective--something that Jesus said you need to consider before you approach God. He said: "So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift" (Matthew 5:23-24, ESV).
"And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses" (Mark 11:25, ESV).
Jesus is saying that "first things first" applies when we go to the Lord in prayer. God looks at our prayers as offerings to Him (See Revelation 8:4.). If you go to the altar of prayer and your brother has something against you, your offering won't be acceptable to the Lord until you have restored your human relationships. If you go to prayer with an unforgiving spirit, God will be deaf until you have first forgiven the one who offended you.
ReflectLook up these verses and answer the questions:
- Psalm 145:18--What is God's condition for nearness to those who call on Him?
- Proverbs 15:8--Whose prayer is acceptable to God?
- Proverbs 28:9--Whose prayer is an abomination?
- John 15:7--Who may ask what they wish, and it will be done?
RespondYou should be very careful about rushing into the presence of God. A little preparation time before you go to the Lord can help you be on better "praying ground." Yes, Christ has given us the right to appear confidently before the throne of grace (Hebrews 4:16), but He has also warned us not to appear disobediently.
Set aside a few minutes in your devotional time to prepare to meet with the Lord. Ask Him to show you anything in your life that is hindering prayer. Try doing this for the next several days and see if it doesn't make a difference in the way you come before the Lord. Keep the first things first.
By: Back to the Bible Ministries
My Comments: When we accept the Lord Jesus as our Savior by accepting His gift that is the first thing one must do and the only thing one must do to receive the gift of salvation. It is free yet we must accept the free gift. When a gift comes in the mail say by Fed Ex first you must accept it and then you may open it. When you want dinner someone has to cook it first before you may eat of it. When you want to take a bath first you must have water. So when we want salvation we must first accept His Sacrifice.
My prayer is that you will afirst ccept then follow Jesus the just and righteous who can make you righteous and spotless before the Father.
Abba help us to know our sin nature has seperated us from You and only through accepting Your Son who You allowed to die on the Cross for our salvation, may we be cleansed from sin and given the strength, Your strength to resist our sin nature. Help us to flee evil and stand straight as we go through adversities relying not on others or ourselves for strength but only on You. Direct our paths oh, Lord and give us grace, peace and discernment so we will make the choices in our lives that You would have us to make. Help us to flee from sin and to not trust our sin natures that have led us astray as did the sin natures of Adam and Eve. We place our hope, trust and faith in You and desire to be Yours and to do Your will always in thought, word and deed. Help us to put You first in our lives. In Jesus name. Amen, Amen, Amen.