Consider the words of Isaiah in Isaiah 59:1-2: “Indeed, the Lord’s arm is not too weak to save, and his ear is not too deaf to hear. But your iniquities are separating you from your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not listen.”
To be clear, we will not be teaching our students that God is somehow prohibited from hearing all prayers or attempts at prayer. Scripture is perfectly clear that God is omniscient (all-knowing); thus, He clearly knows all things and is aware when people pray, whether they do so correctly or incorrectly. However, Isaiah tells us here (as do many other texts in scripture) that God Himself will not relationally commune with those who walk in sin. This should come as no surprise to us. After all, isn’t this exactly what happened in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve were forced to leave the presence of God?
We serve a God who is loving and compassionate. But he is also HOLY. As such, God hates sin – and has declared throughout scripture that He will not commune with those who walk in sin or celebrate sin. God is always ready to receive those into fellowship with Him who are willing to place their faith and trust in Jesus Christ and repent of their sins. But God is not an emotionally detached robot; He will not turn His ear towards those who practice the very sins that His Son died for.
How then should we respond as Christians? Simple: we need to repent. This is the exact message that Jesus Christ preached while on earth, and this is the “golden ticket” per se that leads us into proper fellowship with God. ***Please pray that our students will understand this truth and respond accordingly this week!
Here’s how you can pray for our students this week!
- Continue to pray for salvation among our students. James 4:2 says that “we do not have, because we do not ask”. Likewise, Jesus Himself tells us in John 14:13 – “Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” If we want people to get saved, the first step is to pray and ask God to be gracious to reveal the truth of the Gospel to unsaved individuals. Please join us in praying for our students who may not be saved!
- Pray that our unsaved students would not have a peace until they get saved. This statement sounds harsh when you first read it off the page, but I assure you that it comes from a place a true compassion and love. The worst possible place for our students (or anyone for that matter) is to be unsaved and comfortable with that reality. I would much rather God not give them a peace of mind or conscious until they submit their lives to Christ. Please pray that the ministry of the Holy Spirit (to convict men of sin and testify to the Lordship of Christ) would continue through the lives of our students.
- Pray that our students would commit themselves to prayer. Can you imagine where we would be without the book of Psalms? That, after all, is what Psalms is: a collection of prayers turned into worship hymns. God’s people have ALWAYS been in the habit of praying, and they show their true commitment to God in doing so. Wouldn’t it be great to see our students completely committed to prayer on a daily basis in this fashion? This is our goal!
- Pray that our students would intentionally REPENT. Sadly, too many people think “repenting” is simply telling someone that a sin they’ve committed is wrong. While this is a good thing to do, that is simply a part of repentance – but not full repentance. To fully repent, we must confess our sins to God and literally turn away from them. No person does this perfectly; not even the Apostle Paul or Peter did so perfectly. And yet, Jesus informs us that His covenant people are those who are characteristically known for turning away from sin so that they can live in faithful obedience to God. *Please pray that our students receive this truth!
Here are some questions that you can ask your students following Wednesday’s lesson.
- What does it mean that God is holy? (A: The word “holy” literally means “set apart”; meaning that God is so pure in His nature that He “set apart” from anything else in the universe.)
- To have proper relationship with God, does this mean that we have to be holy too? (A: Yes. However, we do not achieve this by our own effort. Jesus Christ makes us “set apart” when we become saved through His work in salvation.)
- As Christians, how do we live “holy” lives? (A: By turning away from sinful living, and living in faithful obedience to Jesus Christ and the Bible.)
- Do you believe that God is pleased with us when we live holy lives? If he is, how does this affect how we pray? (A: Of course He is pleased with this! This allows our prayer to be genuine and intimate with Him.)
- Do you think that praying with God is still the same if we live in open sin on a regular basis? (A: Discuss).