Do you find yourself saying this as much as I do? When my children come in from playing outside they always want to come talk to me right away. They want to tattle or they want to tell me a funny story or they want to complain about a “buzzing sound” or some swing set injustice. Whatever it is, I find myself telling them to go wash their hands-FIRST. It’s almost like I can’t even hear them without clean hands. They aren’t thinking about all the dirt or sand or mud they are leaving on my walls and railings, they just want to be able to instantly tell me what’s on their mind.
The more I’ve heard myself saying this, the more the Holy Spirit has reminded me of this scripture in Psalms:
“Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord? Or who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted up his soul to an idol, not sworn deceitfully. He shall receive blessing from the Lord, and righteousness from the God of his Salvation.”
Psalm 24: 3-5
How many times have I come to throne room, ready to tell the Lord what’s on my mind and I just walk in there and have at it. Blah Blah Blah Just like my children when they come in the house. But the Lord requires something more.
He is holy.
When we pray we are entering a Holy Place. We’ve got to wash the dirt of our day and of our minds off, before we start talking to Him.
For me this happens with confession. I am constantly aware of my shortcomings and my sins. Oh how I must disappoint the Lord sometimes. So I confess it all, and I repent. Then, before I make any requests, I praise Him. God is so good. He is so worthy to be praised! Praise pushes all of the “self” out of me, it cleans my heart and makes it pure.
Confession + Praise = Clean hands and pure heart
Now I’m ready to enter in. I’m ready to talk to the Lord, to tell Him what’s on my mind and in my heart and more importantly, He’s ready to hear me. And you know what happens, in the time it takes me to confess and pray, I usually forgot whatever the “urgent” thing was, because that urgent thing became so dim in the light of God’s presence in that throne room. Just like my children, who come in ready to tattle or complain, but the action of washing their hands makes them completely forget about it and instead they come to me smiling. Happy.
So next time you tell your children to go wash their hands, remember what scripture says:
“Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord? Or who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart…”
Then take some time to get clean before you pray, the outcome will far out-weight the effort:
“He shall receive blessing from the Lord, and righteousness from the God of his Salvation.”