1 Behold, the Lord’s hand is not so short
That it cannot save;
Nor is His ear so dull
That it cannot hear.
2 But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God,
And your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear.

If you haven’t thought it or said it, you’ve likely heard it: “I pray, but I just don’t feel like God is there.” That’s where the people of Judah were in Isaiah 59. They were complaining that God was no longer able to hear them or save them. They thought the problem of prayer was on His end.

Isaiah responded by telling them nothing could be further from the truth. There is not one word thought or spoken that is out of reach of God’s ears. There is not one person or situation that is beyond the power of His hand to save. God hears everything and can save anyone. If our prayers are ineffective, the problem isn’t with God. It’s with us. Sin is the only thing that separates any person from God.

For our prayers to be effective, we must realize how significant our separation from God really is. We must acknowledge that we need to be saved from our sin. In His holiness, God has the right and the will to hide His face from sinful people. Our hope and confidence, though, is in Christ. Jesus came to reconcile us to God. He took our sin and death upon Himself so that we might receive salvation and be restored to fellowship with the Father. Effective prayer doesn’t depend on your feelings; it depends on turning to Jesus in faith and repentance.

• When was a time you felt that God was absent but later realized that you were having a hard time seeing His presence due to your own sin?

• How does the reminder that God always hears the prayers of those who are found in Jesus encourage you?

• Thank God that He no longer hides His face from us thanks to the finished work of Jesus on our behalf.