Monday, April 27, 2009

Praying like Ezra

Ezra 9 is an awe inspiring prayer. We are struck by his compassion, his humility, his raw exposure. Ezra cries out for the nation and their rebellion before God. Ezra sinks to his knees in verse 5 and lifts up his hands just after he has torn his garment and plucked his beard! Then he pours out his heart.

He says "I am ashamed and blush to lift up my face to you, O God".
Do you ever think that sometimes your sin isn't actually that bad and God is more like a mate then a Holy God? Do we ever sink to our knees and blush in the presence of God because we know that our hearts are corrupt?

I find our attitude to prayer is sometimes off target. We forget that we are in the presence of a Holy God. But Ezra makes a point of uncovering the nations sin. Its not just about Him, but about Israel and how God saved Israel and showed favor and Grace towards them, yet they turn from Him and corrupt themselves with idols.

You can hear the cry in Ezra's heart. There is such love and passion there. My prayers are generally a quick thank you, please give me this, oh and im sorry... ! Flippantly I know that Jesus will forgive me, because that's what God is all about right?

Yet Ezra lays his whole self out to God and repents, seeking God for Grace and Mercy, yet knows full well that he doesn't deserve it. He seeks repentance for the whole of Israel and reminds God of His truth and faithfulness.

I praise God that He is very patient towards me and my half hearted prayers. My heart needs to be reminded that I don't deserve forgiveness, but God does forgive me because of His Grace. I want my prayers to be like Ezra, an outpouring of compassion, love, repentance and seeking Gods heart. I am reminded that we stand before a Holy God and there is nothing more we can do then fall to our knees and lift up our hands for v15 says, "none can stand before you because of this". But by the blood of Christ we are forgiven, but that doesn't mean we don't stand there trembling or being flippant. Pray like Ezra.

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