“Fret not yourself( heat yourself in anger/vexation) because of evildoers;
be not envious of wrongdoers!
For they will soon fade like the grass
and wither like the green herb.
Trust in the Lord, and do good;
dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.
Delight yourself in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart. – (Psalm 37: 1-4 ESV)
There are lots of reasons for unanswered prayer. God often delays answers, or he answers differently than we would like. Delays can be for building character in our lives. If it’s a loved one we are praying for, God could be dealing with them in ways we can’t discern. Some of our requests are not in alignment with God’s will. But we must remain consistent in asking and knocking on heaven’s door until He says yes or no.
A lack of integrity can be a hindrance to answered prayer. The NET Bible translates the word faithfulness as integrity:
Trust in the Lord and do what is right.
Settle in the land and maintain your integrity. (1)
Then you will take delight in the Lord,
and he will answer your prayers. (2) – (NET Psalm 37: 3-4)
What “land” have you received from God? Your home and family, your city, and your Church are places God has planted you. King David sought to walk in integrity in his home.
I will sing of steadfast love and justice;
to you, O Lord, I will make music.
I will ponder the way that is blameless.
Oh when will you come to me?
I will walk with integrity of heart
within my house;
I will not set before my eyes
anything that is worthless.
I hate the work of those who fall away;
it shall not cling to me.
A perverse heart shall be far from me;
I will know nothing of evil.” – Psalm 101: 1-4 ESV
We know of David’s colossal failure with Bathsheba. His sin was costly, but he repented. He was a man after God’s heart because he sought to honor God’s word by keeping the covenant.
It takes discipline to live a life of integrity while being bombarded by media – allured by the pied pipers of Hollywood and big tech. Evil people are not a reason to fret. I believe the Bible teaches an acceleration of wickedness in the last days (2 Timothy 3:1.) Our response to evil is to share the gospel and prayer. And to overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21.)
We must learn to carve out time to be alone with God and our thoughts. Learning to pray short prayers throughout our busy days will help us maintain our focus on God.
(1) Integrity – “Tend, Shepard, watch over, guard, faithfulness, honesty, and integrity. Or [feed] security, if the audience is likened to sheep.” – NET Bible (with notes)
(2) Answer your prayers – “or “and he will give you what you desire most.” Heb “and he will grant to you the request of your heart.” – Net Bible (with notes)