Ray Ortlund on Prayers of the Hypocrite

“Ask, and it will be given to you” (Matthew 7:7).

Does prayer really come with a guarantee?  Here is one prayer God will surely answer.  It’s implied in the context.

In verse 3 Jesus says, “Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?”  The key words are “but do not notice.”  The problem is not intentional.  We just don’t notice.  And in verse 5, Jesus calls it hypocrisy: “You hypocrite . . . .”

Hypocrisy is more than conscious self-excusing.  It is also just not seeing who we are, because we don’t want to see, we don’t even want to think about it.

Here is a prayer with no guarantee of an answer: “Father, help my brother see his hypocrisy.”  Here is a prayer with a guaranteed answer: “Father, I am a hypocrite, more than I know.  Please help me see myself.  And help me to change.”

With that prayer come humility, reality with God, growth in grace, happiness of conscience, freedom of heart, mercy toward my brother, and much more – all “good things” gladly given by our Father in heaven (Matthew 7:11).

“Ask, and it will be given to you.”

-Ray Ortlund


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