“It Didn’t Work”

Series: Proverbs

by Bruce Garver July 29, 2014 Scripture: Proverbs 28:9

Proverbs 28:9

If one turns away his ear from hearing the law,
    even his prayer is an abomination.  

“I prayed, but it didn’t work.” How many times have you heard someone say this—or maybe even have said or thought it yourself?

“Great reason there is that God will refuse to hear him who refuses to hear God.” (Bishop Reynolds).

This is a Proverb of judgment. God is saying to the ungodly man, “You may pray, but it won’t work.” This is a serious warning not to disregard God in our life and then expect that he will regard us.

However, besides the warning there is a hint of instruction to those who do regard God in their life. Our ears (and heart) must be listening to the law—the Word of God. In Martin Luther’s A Simple Way to Pray (which was his letter of instruction to Peter, his barber), his first point is Instruction. Instruction was to take place at the beginning of prayer by reading and meditating on a Biblical text which by the Spirit would guide the prayer. It would be followed by Thanksgiving as it relates to the text, Confession as it relates to the text and our experience, and finally Prayer (or supplication). This is similar to the ACTS (adoration, confession, thanksgiving, supplication) that Dr. Boice often spoke of, but it highlights the importance of hearing the law.

In the Lord’s Prayer, we are instructed to pray that Your will be done. In other words, Your law be fulfilled. The law may seem harsh and difficult, but consider this: Jesus has fulfilled that law. We are forgiven because of His work. We come in Jesus’ name to Our Father in heaven who is good and sovereign. When we pray today to our heavenly Father that His will be done, what better thing could we ask for ourselves and others? God’s will “works” for His glory and our good.  

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