Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up. — James 4:8,10, NKJV
God invites us to come to him with our burden of guilt and our heart sorrows. Sin fills us with fear of God; when we have sinned, we try to hide ourselves from him. But whatever our sin, God bids us come unto him through Jesus Christ. It is only by taking our sins to God that we can be freed from them.
Jesus taught his disciples to pray, and he often urged upon them the necessity of prayer. He did not bid them to study books to learn a form of prayer. They were not to offer prayer to men, but to make their requests known to God. He taught them that the prayer which God accepts is the simple, earnest petition from a soul that feels its need; and he promised to send the Holy Spirit to indite their prayers.
If we would offer acceptable prayer, there is a work to be done in confessing our sins to one another... So far as is possible, the one who has wronged another is to make restitution. Then in contrition he is to confess the sin to God, whose law has been transgressed. In sinning against our brother, we sin against God, and we must seek pardon from him. Whatever our sin, if we but repent and believe in the atoning blood of Christ, we shall be pardoned.
A deep sense of our need, and a great desire for the things for which we ask, must characterize our prayers, else they will not be heard. But we are not to become weary, and cease our petitions because the answer is not immediately received... but calmly, persistently, we are to press our petitions at the throne of grace. Our work is to humble our souls before God, confessing our sins, and in faith drawing nigh unto God.
God has honored us by showing how greatly he values us. We are bought with a price, even the precious blood of the Son of God. When his heritage shall conscientiously follow the word of the Lord, his blessing will rest upon them in answer to their prayers.
“The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” As in ancient times, when prayer was offered, fire descended from heaven, and consumed the sacrifice upon the altar, so in answer to our prayers, the heavenly fire will come into our souls. The light and power of the Holy Spirit will be ours.
— The Review and Herald, February 9, 1897
O my Father, with this burden of guilt and a sorrowful heart I humbly come and press my petitions to the throne of grace. I want to be freed from all sin. I confessed my sin and made things right with the one I wronged. Forgive me for causing pain to both You and a child of Yours. I need You, O Lord, and ask to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Help me as I seek to follow Your Word, for Your ways are good. You are gracious and merciful and have shown great kindness towards me. Thank You for Your promise to draw near to me when I draw near to You!