SICKENING GOD OR PLEASING HIM IN PRAYER
“For it is love that I desire, not sacrifice, and knowledge of God rather than holocausts.” –Hosea 6:6
We can go to church and spend our time thinking of ourselves rather than of God. We can put down other people rather than lift up the Lord (see Lk 18:11). We can say words in our prayer that are quite wonderful – if we only lived as if we believed in them (see Hos 6:1-3). We can so nauseate God (see Rv 3:16) in our prayers that He asks the question: “What can I do with you?” (Hos 6:4)
Because of our sin and rebellion, our prayer can be an abomination to the Lord (Prv 28:9). The Lord may even detest, get tired of, and be burdened by our church services (Is 1:14). The Lord has said: “I hate, I spurn your feasts, I take no pleasure in your solemnities” (Am 5:21). The Lord has had enough of our hypocrisy, so He declares: “When you spread out your hands, I close My eyes to you; though you pray the more, I will not listen. Your hands are full of blood! Wash yourselves clean!” (Is 1:15-16)
On the other hand, our prayers can be as sweet-smelling incense to the Lord (see Ps 141:2). We can be a joy and a delight to the Lord (Is 65:18). Our lives, prayers, and church services can be so pleasing to the Lord that He rejoices over us with gladness, renews us in His love, and sings joyfully because of us, “as one sings at festivals” (Zep 3:17, 18).
What is God getting out of hearing your prayers and your church services?
PRAYER: Father, teach me to live and pray to please You.
PROMISE: “Believe Me, this man went home from the temple justified but the other did not.” –Lk 18:14
PRAISE: John thanks God he found the Catholic Church, Confession, and the Eucharist. He takes the call to repentance very seriously as he begins each Lent by going to the Sacrament of Reconciliation.