The effectiveness of Prayer


Lamentations 3:43–48 – “You have covered yourself with anger and pursued us;
you have slain without pity.
You have covered yourself with a cloud
so that no prayer can get through.
You have made us scum and refuse
among the nations.”

Jerusalem and the temple lie in ruins with no immediate hope of reconstruction, demonstrating the pain of the exile. Here it seems that the Lord does not hear or answer the heartfelt cries of his people. It appears as if no prayer is getting through because nothing is changing. Jeremiah keeps pressing the people to confront their sin, but they are too dismayed at the terror God has brought upon them. Until they confront the sin that caused their nation to disintegrate, all prayer will be futile.

Sin blocks the effectiveness of prayer. An effective prayer comes from, one having a pure heart and mind (see Ps 51:10). Only then can one have clear communication with God, both in speaking and listening to him. God will listen to Israel’s needs and speak to her only when she repents. When we cast off the weight of sin (see Heb 10:19–22; 12:1–2) we can know that God hears us and responds to our prayers.

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