FRUITLESS PRAYER

Isaiah 66:1-2

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart—These, O God, You will not despise. Psalm 51:17

In Shakespeare’s play Hamlet, King Claudius of Denmark steps into a chapel in his castle to pray, an act to which he is unaccustomed. But his nephew, Hamlet, has murder on his mind and stands outside the door, deciding whether he will rush in and kill the king. When Hamlet hears him trying to pray, he backs down from his plan for the moment and walks away.

What Hamlet misses, however, is the ending to the king’s fruitless prayer: “My words fly up, my thoughts remain below: Words without thoughts never to heaven go.” In other words, the king realized that he was not sincere in his prayers, and that God would not honor his unrepentant heart.

God’s message to Israel through Isaiah pertains to the same issue of spiritual heart condition. God did not recognize their sacrifices because the Israelites did not offer them in true repentance, did not follow God’s laws concerning sacrifices, and continued in their lifestyles of sin.

God wanted their hearts to be truly His; He desired genuine relationship with them, and He desires the same with you. Are you holding back by refusing to admit how much you need His cleansing? When you humble yourself before the Lord, you open the door for sincere and pure fellowship.

Lord, I humble myself before You today to open the door for sincere and pure fellowship with You.

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