“I said to Jehovah, You are my God; O Jehovah, hear the voice of my prayers”, Ps.140:6 

In this Psalm we hear a voice in between words which is seldom heard among people of God. Here we hear David asking God to throw people in hell if we understand correctly the words “Let burning coals fall on them; let them be cast into the fire; into deep pits, so that they do not rise up again”, Ps.140:10.

This is a prayer, I believe, no Christian will easily offer up and we may easily understand and grasp why. It seems that David had been persecuted and he thought people were on the evil side, bringing harm to God’s own Kingdom, on anything good he tried to promote among them. That's why he was that willing to offer such a prayer. And he was heard. There was a voice, a deep cry for holiness among all people, in this prayer alone, that ungodliness would be dealt with in such a way “that they do not rise up again”. Jesus is the answer to it and all power has been given to Him and taken from them all, from the devil himself as well.

If and when your prayers seem selfish, is there a voice of true motives in them? Could you pray as David did, even  being a King and his throne be part of the request? Is there a voice that can reach God still? When you are poor and hungry, can you still ask for money and food without being selfish about any of it? Will there be a voice in it as well? Or will you be selfish concerning it all just on account of your hunger? It is easy not to be selfish about food if you are not hungry. It is hard to ask God to destroy people if you are king over Israel.

We may offer the perfect prayer in words and feeling, yet what counts is the voice it has or has not in itself, one that is heard above, whether it takes heavenly things into consideration alone or not. We may offer very few words in a prayer which will be regarded by on-hearers as a bad prayer. Yet, it may have such a voice in itself that will shake heaven. It is after this voice that God is after, so as to hear prayers. It is very easy not to be greedy when we are not in deep need, not to experience lust when there is no nakedness to be seen. But to be holy and pure on earth as it is done and accomplished in heaven, that will glorify God - that is God's will!

To offer a prayer for fulfillment once we are in deep need might just show what we really are made of, just how holy we may be! That prayer will touch the nerve, the root of whatever is deep within the heart of man for real! (read PRAY WITHOUT CEASING as a complement to all of this message, please) One should not disdain to offer such a prayer, but rather come to offer it and be heard still. It has got to have a voice, crying from deep within, a holy cry of war which will even shake heaven!

A prayer may seem selfish and yet be spotless, or it may look as an unselfish one alone and go unheard. Yet, little does it concern God how it looks like, if it has a voice in it. Scripture has a voice, and we may read all about it without perceiving it at all, God has a voice, and so  should people have and carry one as well. We read Moses speaking “And Jehovah heard the voice of your words when you spoke to me. And Jehovah said to me, I have heard the voice of the words of this people, which they have spoken to you. They have well said all that they have spoken”, Deut.5:28. We read not that God heard the words, but the voice of them. Is there such a voice in your words? If there is, then, you should not care about the contents of vocabulary, whether they seem selfish or not, for God will hear the voice it has and not the words it is able to use and conceive to speak out concerning something - anything - at all. This is why most prayers offered unto G0 leave the rooms of the memories of men – they stay there. A prayer that has a voice is often soon forgotten about, so natural and so spontaneous are the words and the motives in them; and unless a person writes it down, it will seldom be recalled again. But with God they will never be forgotten, if it has that voice in them. This is the only danger of right prayers: people easily forget them! One day God answers upon them and there is the sin of ingratitude or of not recalling and testifying of how God answers prayer, no thanksgiving, no rejoicing upon mercy found upon request.

If people have a voice towards God, they will also hear a voice towards them. Love listens to love and fully understands it; hatred hears its kind. In the same manner of speech, we may state that voice people hear a voice often. They know what it is. Andrew Murray said once “A prayer is not a one-way monologue, but rather a dialogue; to hear God’s voice in it, is the sacred part of all prayer. To hear God’s voice in prayer is the secret of assurance, for if I hear His, I can rest assured He has heard mine too”.

This dialogue, once we know about it, consists not of the words, but of the kind of heart of the speaker and whether he is natural in them at all. You may have goodness described in good words without having goodness in itself, or your words may seem ruff and abrupt, yet they may carry all goodness in them from deep within. If prayers are not natural, they will have no voice. If these are natural, then there must be a countenance, a root of goodness within them so as to be heard, even if fire is the main request through them. John and the others asked Jesus whether they should bring down fire from heaven as Elijah did so as to consume evildoers. Yet, that request did not carry any voice in it, but Elijah's did have it. We hear David praying a worse prayer than that, having a voice in it. Can you do that? If you can't, I cannot believe you are a Child of the Most High. You might be still applying to enter heaven and have not  entered it yet.

If this is true, the opposite of these words may also carry the stamp of either the voice of it, or the absence of all ingredients it must have. Asking God to save people and pleading heaven for them or upon them, does not always have a voice in itself, in its appearance of goodness. And we should not play the hypocrite here, not in prayer at least, not before God! People may pray because they feel sorry for themselves, for the people around them, and never for their God to be glorified through them at all. And if people can't pray selfishly, they won't pray at all - this is a kind of unwillingness one usually gets to perceive from maybe Christians. This is unwillingness and an own-mindedness, a sin God classifies at the same level as witchcraft and idolatry (1Sam.15:23). Yet, it is in prayer where people are the most hypocritical: before God! If that voice is to be good, it has to carry the right motives. If your motives are aright, there is a huge chance a prayer naturally offered will be heard on the spot by God. Fasting is often needed and required not because God has great difficulty in hearing, but because during that piece of time people eventually gain a voice when they pray in fasting and abstinence or not.

If your motives are right and yet your prayer is not natural, God “will wait to have mercy” on you. He will do so too, if you have the right prayer with the wrong motives. In either case, you should wait also and never change that prayer, but reach to the heart of it alone by praying without giving up on God and fasting as God leads you to do: do not cease to pray, do not give up on God, for if you do, that shows just how much you pretend to carry on within the love towards self. To cease to pray on something means God will not deal with whatever is wrong in prayer, during such time of seeking, and any such ceaser is but thus protecting himself from being saved from himself. The quickness with which one gives up upon a right prayer, shows, among unbelief or ignorance, just the amount of love towards self there still is. To come to offer whatever will seem like a selfish prayer is the great opportunity you may have never to give up upon it and be granted a voice in it by God still: this is holiness, to pray for your dying, unconverted father on his death bed for the sake of God alone (even if you start off with the wrong motives for some reason)! God might heal your heart in the process of praying! And if you do not cease (stop) to pray because of having the wrong motives under conviction, you will both have yourself saved from self and your father from hell! By carrying on to pray you might save yourself from wrong motives. If there is but one little good thing in whatever you do, among ten wrong ones, never give up upon it, for if you come to God with it and with your whole heart, there will soon only be good things to show forth - and you will have twenty good things to show forth once God has managed to touch your nine bad ones for you. Jesus said “whoever comes to Me, I will in no way throw out”. None coming to God should throw God out either (doing back to Him as He does) by ceasing to pray when one is so close to have an answer from God.

David was made king by the will of God, his motives were to have a holy nation among the heathen for God’s glory. These people had been persecuting him, not because they hated him, but God; David knew he was king for God's sake alone and if these were his enemies, it was because they were at his height, desiring the same throne (which belonged to God). For them to have such a throne as Israel’s, God would be mystified once more. David knew he had a voice in his prayers because of that all – to notice that when your own skin is at stake, or your throne is being involved in an answer, is to be holy above measure. To pray for the condemnation of people once being persecuted, to pray for your dying, unconverted father and have an answer, requires such holiness as seldom will be seen for that prayer has a voice in it. If your father gets saved, you have a heart after the likings of God. On the other hand, to plead for heaven for people because we have come to experience the goodness of it, may never carry God’s glory into account at all. You may pray people down to hell and have a voice in your prayer, and you might desire to have heaven in people without having one. But to have a voice in so doing, we should notice how people there glorify God and just how goodness is to prevail eventually among all, for the sake of universal good. If your prayers have this voice, pray then and grant God no rest ever, until He establishes it for us all. Once your prayers gain a voice, you will not be the same man ever again: be ready to accept that as a fact as well. But to achieve that sort of things, you must never cease from the right prayer, but rather from sin while you pray. People easily cease to pray when they see they are in sin before God. They should rather carry on praying and cease with sin instead. Don't even think to cease to pray at all. Amen.

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José Mateus