Q. The other week a friend of mine asked me to pray for her and I said I would. I really want to but will God answer a prayer if I haven’t asked for forgiveness of all the sins I have committed since the last time I confessed my sin? I want to pray over so many things but I feel like I can’t until I have asked for forgiveness first. Part of the reason I stop my daily bible reading and prayer time is because I feel it turns into a habit with no meaning. When I do confess my sin daily I don’t “feel” it. I do it because I know I should. I hope I am making sense.
A. The Bible doesn’t say, “Pray when you feel like it.” It says, “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thes. 5:17-18). And it doesn’t say confess when you feel like it. It says, “If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). Nor does it ever promise a certain feeling after doing these things.
Most people think feelings are the proper guide to behavior, when the truth is only choices can be proper guides to behavior. Feelings come later. Here’s an example. Athletes choose to work out whether they feel like it or not because they know working out is necessary in order to stay in top condition. Staying in top condition is essential to victory.
Believers choose to confess and pray whether we feel like it or not because we know they’re necessary in order to stay in fellowship with God. Being in fellowship with God is essential to living our life in a manner pleasing to Him, and receiving the blessings that flow from Him.
Like the athlete, we find that by choosing to do what we know is right even when we don’t feel like it, we will soon discover that we’re beginning to feel like doing it more consistently. It’s called aligning our feelings with our choices.