I cried to him for help;
I praised him with songs. – Psalm 66:17 GNT
This is where I see prayer and praise going together hand in hand. Some see them as separate but I am not sure how that works. The only difference for me would be one requires me to be eloquent with my tongue and the other with my heart.
If I had ignored my sins,
the Lord would not have listened to me. – Psalm 66:18 GNT
Basically, if I looked at my sin, not glancing at it, I may find myself cherishing it, possibly loving it, at least excusing it. If so, another reason God may not be listening to my prayer. It is almost like I have made a decision to not hear God’s voice. I have been here and know what this is like. Most of us who have stayed here longer than we have ever wanted can feel what it is like to be considered a hypocrite.
But God has indeed heard me;
he has listened to my prayer. – Psalm 66:19 GNT
Freedom from sin is the sign of answered prayer and confidence in my sincere heart to God. It is not a hope, rationale, or dream, it is definitive. Is it not true that I can sense God’s heart as He loves me when my own heart is sincere? There is something about knowing that God is listening to my voice, my cries – most importantly He interprets them correctly, accepts them and then replies. His grace on my heart as I stand right with Him.
I praise God,
because he did not reject my prayer
or keep back his constant love from me. – Psalm 66:20 GNT
I honour and love Him because He has not withdrawn His love from me nor the ability to pray freely. He did not throw out my prayer. Praise is part of my prayer and I am grateful to be able to enter into it.
I find myself be welcomed into God’s presence.
Come to the Lord, the living stone rejected by people as worthless but chosen by God as valuable. – 1 Peter 2:4 GNT
“Come” means it is an open door for me to “keep coming.” So I come for salvation, and also for worship, prayer and God’s Word every day.
If wrestling in prayer becomes a hard and bitter struggle, and you feel that your soul is out of touch and tune with God, and your prayers only empty words, then pray trustingly for the Spirit of prayer. He will point out the sin which is acting as a hindrance to your prayers and will help you to acknowledge it. And then He will make Christ so precious to you that you will voluntarily give up that sin which is threatening to sever your connection with God. – Ole Hallesby