“If I regard wickedness in my heart, The Lord will not hear but certainly God has heard; He has given heed to the voice of my prayer. Blessed be God, who has not turned away my prayer nor His lovingkindness from me.” Psalm 66:18-20 NASB
As the Psalmist clearly records, God will not hear us if we regard wickedness in our heart. If we have regard toward something in our lives we have feelings for it; feelings that cause us too long for and desire what it is that we regard. If we regard wickedness we have a desire for it.
The heart is often also referred to as the sole, or the mind. It is the emotional and spiritual state of an individual. If our heart, the spiritual core of our being, regards wickedness, God will not hear our prayers.
God’s standard for His children is clear, He told us to “be holy, for I am holy.” (I Peter 1:16). If we choose to disregard God’s standard, we grieve the Holy Spirit hindering every area of our spiritual lives. A heart with regard to sin stands in contempt to a holy God and cannot be used of God.
Holiness is a choice. But, it is also an act of God. We have no ability to live in accordance to God’s standard of holiness apart from God’s work of redemption within our lives. However, if we make the choice to repent of our sin and ask God to forgive us and cleanse us, He will. (I John 1:9).
With God’s redemptive work in mind Hebrews 4:16 says, “Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Yes, I have committed many sins in my life, yet, I have repented. Because I have repented and trusted in God’s redemptive work I know I am also forgiven. “Blessed be God, who has not turned away my prayer nor His lovingkindness from me.”