Jun P. Espina         7 min read
Updated on February 17th, 2020
The only prayer that gives delight to God is the Christian prayer or the prayer of the upright. True Christians are the only upright in this world in the eyes of the Christian God according to the apostle Paul. He wrote in Romans 3:22: there is a “righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe.” All unbelievers of Christ, therefore, are not upright or righteous in the eyes of our Lord.
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Says Proverbs 15:8: “The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD, But the prayer of the upright is His delight.” On TV, we see Muslim radicals praying before launching an attack. This kind of praying in the spirit of killing will not give joy to the only true God—the Creator of heaven and earth, the God of Moses (the God of the Holy Bible)—who is the Father of Christ! This prayerfulness is an ABOMINATION to the Lord. Observe the first part of the verse: “The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD.” It is no surprise to us that even the priests and “pastors” of the Christian faith may have made abominable prayers to God, for God’s word in Proverbs 15:8 states that “the prayer of the upright is His delight.” Yes, you and I may have prayed unto the Father in heaven a prayer that didn’t please Him. How to be UPRIGHT or RIGHTEOUS then so that our prayer gives delight to God?
The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD, But the prayer of the upright is His delight. Proverbs 15:8
The Christian Prayer is Righteous
The prayer that gives delight to God is the Christian prayer; righteous in the eyes of God because of Christ’s blood. It is not uprightness in the eyes of men. The practice of bowing to the ground five times a day in prayer is impressive. But it is not so with God, for God sees the heart!
As mentioned above, the Christian prayer of the real followers of Christ are a delight to Christ. Observe John 14:13: “Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.”
But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”—1 Samuel 16:7
The Christian Prayer of One Born of God
If God’s doctrine focuses on the condition of the heart, then no one—even the most religious of men and women in the monasteries!—is upright and righteous. (See: Rom. 3:10) Here’s God’s own diagnostics on the condition of the human heart:
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?—Jeremiah 17:9
It says, in other versions of the Holy Bible, that the heart is “desperately sick.” Our tendency thus, when we pray, is to give glory to ourselves, instead of giving glory to God. The act of praying itself can provide us with a sense of satisfaction we are obedient to Him; we’re doing God a sacrificial service; we’re doing a good work. Such faith or practice, or call it mindset, lacks the element of an upright or righteous prayer. It is not the Christian prayer that gives delight to God.
A prayer that is self-centered and unacceptable to God, for example, happened during the time of Elijah. As they prayed to Baal, the priests of Baal danced and leaped around cutting themselves. God does not need that.
On a useless prayer, the Bible said in 1 Kings 18:
Today, there are millions of so-called Christians who are doing the same form of doctrine in their prayers, as if our God is asleep and needs to be awakened. They called such a dramatized and overplayed worship a form of a Christian prayer. Yes, they are dancing in their worship services—you can watch them on TV! But it is not dancing or loud music that which proves a heart to be upright and righteous. It is not even the giving of your tithes and offerings or your attending church that can make your heart upright and righteous. No, it is not what you are doing for God. A big NO! The Christian prayer that gives delight to our Father is heaven always comes from a repentant, forgiven, and upright heart.
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Said the apostle Paul that, as Christians, it is our FAITH in (not our works for) Christ that brings us closer to God. A prayer that gives delight to God, therefore, is a prayer full of faith in what Christ did for us on the cross. That’s what we call the real Christian prayer. Observe Galatians 2:16:
The prayer that gives delight to God is the prayer of the righteous, and the righteous are those MADE RIGHTEOUS [or justified] by faith in Christ.
A Pleasing Christian Prayer
The only prayer that gives delight to God is the prayer of the made-righteous (the true Christians) by faith in Christ’s atoning blood. The prayer of the thief on the cross is a good example we can use here:
First off, note the prayer of the first thief which goes like this: “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us.” He WAS NOT MADE RIGHTEOUS BY FAITH IN CHRIST. “Are you not the Christ?”—a clear expression of doubt, the same feeling felt by our majority today.
But the other thief said “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!” The FAITH of this thief is crystal clear:
- remember me—meaning he believes that Christ will rise again, for the Latter was about to die already;
- when You come in Your kingdom—meaning, he believes that Christ has a kingdom, and that Christ is King.
This thief was “MADE RIGHTEOUS” by faith in Christ. The Lord was delighted of his prayer. It was an instance of the real Christian prayer. Hence, the greatest answer of all:
Why is Faith in Christ Can Make Us Righteous Before God?
An excellent question requiring a biblical answer: we can never be made RIGHTEOUS before God on our own efforts. (See: Gal. 2:16)
In Genesis 6:5, the Scripture also taught about man’s depravity: “Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. The LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.” See! Every intent of the thoughts of our heart is only evil—based on God’s standard of righteousness.
Hence, we need to be made righteous by faith in Christ, or we will return to God as one who’s already declared by Him as a sinner and unrighteous. Self-made righteousness such as giving money to the less privileged, no matter how much virtue there is, does not please God. “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags.” (Isaiah 64:6). We can not purchase in whatever form a righteousness that is God-approved. Christ said, “I am the way” to the Father. Give all your money to the poor outside of Christ, if you want your generosity to be just an abomination in the sight of God. “For without Me,” Christ said, “you can do nothing.” (John 15:5).
Borrow Christ’s Righteousness
Faith in Christ is the only way for a prayer to be delightful to God. But what is this faith? Well, faith that we are not righteous, but then Christ went to the cross, died for OUR SINS according to the Scriptures (the evidence!), so that we will become righteous in the eyes of Father God.
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. (John 3:16)
Here’s God’s word according to the apostle Paul in Philippians 3:9: “and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith.” The following verses support our teaching that we are made righteous by God if we have true faith in Christ Jesus, our Lord.
- The righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. (Rom. 3:22)
- Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Rom. 5:1)
- He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (2 Cor. 5:21)
- For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” (Rom. 4:3)
- “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds have been forgiven, And whose sins have been covered. (Rom. 4:7)
- “Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will not take into account.” (Rom. 4:8)
Our righteousness, therefore, is imputed or given to us for free by faith in Christ. Do you want your prayers to be a delight to God? Then, be a real Christian. For, the prayer of a true Christian is the only prayer that gives joy to God.