Job 16:17

Job 16:17 (last clause, "My prayer is pure")
The impure prayer cannot be heard by God. It may be earnest, passionate, vehement, yet it must fall back rejected and confounded. Let us, then, consider in what purity of prayer consists.

I. REALITY. The prayer that is not felt and meant in the heart is an impure offering of hypocrisy. Though it be uttered in the becoming phrases of devotion, it is to God as the howling of blasphemous demons. If there be no other sin in our prayer, insincerity is fatal. But it is not easy to be always true and real, especially in public acts of devotion, when a multitude of people are expected to be joining in the same prayer at the same moment. If, however, the heart is set on truly seeking God, he will not count the wandering thought of casual distractions as a mark of insincerity. The spirit may be willing while the flesh is weak (Matthew 26:41), and God looks to the heart. What is essential is a true purpose and effort to worship God, who is a Spirit, in spirit and i, truth (John 4:24).

II. PENITENCE. We are all sinners, and therefore can only come to God as suppliants confessing our sin. Any other method of approach is false to our character and deeds. In the parable of the publican and the Pharisee it is just the contrition of the publican that meets with God's approval. If we hold to our sin we cannot be received m our prayer. Though we may forget the ugly thing, or suppose that we have left it behind us, it is with us in the very house of God; it is even standing between us and God, a black and impenetrable barrier.

III. FAITH. We cannot pray purely till we trust God. The prayer of unbelief is a wild cry in the darkness wrung from a soul by its utter distress. Surely God will pity such a cry, and in his infinite compassion he will do what is possible to save his benighted child. But the strength of communion with God that comes in prayer is only possible when we can trust God as our Father and completely confide in him. It is by believing, by trusting God, that we win great blessings in prayer.

IV. SUBMISSION. If Our prayer is a self-willed mandate claiming certain things from God which must be just according to our mind, it is defiled by impurity. We have not to dictate to God what he is to do for us. Our duty is to lay our case before God and then to leave it with him. He must do what he thinks best, not what we demand. The pure prayer will be submissive, saying, "Not as I will, but as thou wilt."

V. UNSELFLSHNESS. Even in our submission we may still be selfish, for we may be convinced that it is best for ourselves that God should do with us what he thinks best, and may think of nothing else. Such prayers as "Bless me; save me; comfort me; fill me with good things," are narrow, and when they stand alone they are selfish. Christ's model prayer is in the plural number," Our Father give us," etc. We need to enlarge our petitions with intercession for our brethren, and to include the wants of the world in our prayers. The purest prayer is one that chiefly seeks the glory of God - Christ's prayer, "Father, glorify thy Name." - W.F.A.

Not for any injustice in mine hands.
In these words Job delivers us —

1. The confidence of a godly man.

2. That kind of infirm anguish and indignation, that half-distemper, that expostulation with God, which sometimes comes to an excess even in good and godly men.

3. The foundation of his confidence, and his deliverance from this his infirmity.

(John Donne.)

My witness is in heaven and my record is on high.

1. A declaration of his belief.

2. An avowal of his sincerity.

3. A proof of his devotion.


1. In seasons of self-suspicion.

2. Under the assaults of calumny.

3. In the prospect of death.

(G. Brooks.)

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