9 Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.
11 Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.
Psalms 51:9-12 (ESV)
How many times have we tried to pray about something but felt God wasn't letting us past the fact that we had some unconfessed sin in our hearts? You may be saying something like, "But God, that's not why I am praying." God's Word is very clear that until we get things right with Him, our prayer lives are hindered. 18 If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened. Psalms 66:18 (ESV)
So how do we get things right with God?
1. ASK GOD TO FORGIVE ALL OF YOUR SINS AND NAME THEM SPECIFICALLY. 10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. When my boys were school, I would not have wanted one of them to come into the house and say 'Dad, I got into trouble today at school... see you after while!". I would have stopped them and asked 'EXACTLY what did you do?". God already knows what we have done but He wants us to confess it to Him and not try to cover it up with the old "God, please forgive me of all of sins (whatever they are)".
2. ASK GOD TO GIVE YOU A FRESH START BY REPLACING THE DESIRES THAT GOT YOU INTO TROUBLE. 10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. If we try to change our habits without changing the desire to do such things, we will always struggle and be upset with ourselves. A clean heart and a right spirit is the only way to see a real change take place that will last.
3. ASK GOD TO HELP YOU STAY CLOSE TO HIM. 11 Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. The Bible says that the Holy Spirit does so many things and yet so many of us don't realize how much we need His presence in our lives. The Holy Spirit is responsible for convicting us and drawing us to Jesus, He helps us understand God's Word, He comforts and guides us, and so much more. I can't make it without Him in my life, can you?
4. ASK GOD TO GIVE YOU REAL JOY AND STRENGTH TO HELP YOU OVERCOME YOUR PRESENT SITUATIONS. 12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit. People of all cultures are still trying to find joy in the things that the world offers but they will always come up empty. You will never find true joy apart from Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God. 11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. John 15:11 (ESV)
I hope and pray that you start this New Year with a clean slate, a focused mind, and a committed heart for God this coming year. God bless you!