By Commissioner James Condon, Salvation Army, chairman of the National Day of Prayer & Fasting, 22 February 2020.

Preparing our hearts for God to hear our prayers.

“If I had not confessed the sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.” “But God did listen. He paid attention to my prayer.” “Praise God. He did not ignore my prayer or withdraw His unfailing love from me.” Psalm 66:18 – 20 (NLT)

We spend a lot of time in life preparing for things – for the upcoming holiday; and if we are driving, we prepare the car. We plan the trip and pack the necessary items for the trip.

Some of us have to prepare speeches or sermons. Some of us have to prepare meals for the family or guests who come to visit us. We get ready or prepare ourselves for our day’s work.

But how often do we stop and prepare our hearts before we pray?

Isaiah 1:15 NLT “When you lift up your hands in prayer, I will not look. Though you offer many prayers I will not listen.”

Verse 16“Wash yourselves and be clean. Get your sins out of my sight.”

We all want to be able to say like David – God did listen. He paid attention to my prayer and did not ignore my prayer.

So I want to emphasise the importance of preparation and in particular, dealing with sin in our hearts as part of the preparation for prayer.

Surely we want nothing to hinder our praying.

Notice that God did not say that if I had sinned He will not hear me. No. what is being said here is that if I hold any particular sin in my heart and make it an alibi, an excuse, cover it up God will not hear my prayer. But as he has promised in 1 John 1:9 “if we confess our sins to God, he will keep his promise and do what is right: he will forgive us our sins and purify us from all our wrongdoing..”

Our Lord our God we come to you in the name of Jesus Christ and we confess our sin; the sin that so easily trips us up. We seek your forgiveness. We seek your freedom from this sin. We want to come before you today with clean hands and a pure heart. We thank you for Jesus who cries from the cross “Father, forgive them.” Forgive us for our personal sins. Forgive us for our nation’s sins. Lord have mercy. Christ have mercy on us and prepare us for these days of prayer and fasting.

Create in Me a Clean Heart