Growing up, my dad would periodically announce garage cleaning days. Whatever plans we had for the day were dropped, and all four of us siblings would troop out to the garage to start tackling the piles of bikes, sports equipment, and car parts that would inevitably collect. Toward the end of the day, one of us girls would pick up a broom and start to sweep the evident dust covering the floor. Of course, everyone would start to cough, and we’d hurry along the sweeping, skip the corners, and move on.
Last year, I vividly remember praying, “Lord, I don’t want any hidden corners in my life anymore. Please shine your light and reveal all.” I had been through the hardest trial that had hit me so far, and it felt like all the dust in my life, so unnoticeably collecting on the floor of my heart, had suddenly been swept out, leaving me coughing and sputtering.
God had revealed so much about my girlhood hopes and dreams that had to change: I had come face-to-face with that divine broom. And yet, there was almost something refreshing about being on the other side of the sweeping, leaving me—clean.
But, I also had this longing that I didn’t merely want to be cleaner, but clean. And so, getting on my knees once more, I asked God to search me deeper. If that trial had swept most of the rooms of my heart out into the open, to be dealt with before the Lord, surely there were cobwebs and dust in the nooks and crannies I could not yet see?
There is a power to prayer when we’ve honestly assessed ourselves and been assured that we are clean before the Lord before we approach Him. “If I regard iniquity in my heart, The Lord will not hear. But certainly God has heard me; He has attended to the voice of my prayer.” (Ps. 66:18). It’s not at all that I have to be sinless before I can pray (or I never could!). Rather, I have the privilege of coming before the Lord, laying open my heart, and asking Him if He sees anything displeasing to Him.
And the beauty of it is that I have an immediate remedy—the blood of Christ.
This practice of confession brings so much power to prayer! Last year, I joined a small group of students interceding each week for our campus. We decided to take Ps. 66:18 seriously and take a few minutes as a group to silently confess our sins before the Lord before we delved into the needs of the campus.
The effect was powerful. After the stress of college and work and roommates and whatever else that day had held, we were still before the Lord, ensuring our hearts were at peace with Him.
Truly the effectual, fervent prayer of the righteous — the one who is clean before God because of Christ’s righteousness—avails much!
The Lord answered my prayer that day standing on the ebb of that trial. Little did I know, I was on the brink of a far more ardent “sweeping,” one that would shake me up, reach into the farthest corners of my heart, and force me to rethink where my hope lay. There is a lot more in those corners than I ever imagined!
But like our garage, dust collects fast. No matter how thankful I am for God’s “sweeping,” the prayer of “search me, O God, and know my heart” (Ps. 139:23) is a daily one. No wonder, for every time I turn around, there’s more dust in those corners!
But I’m thankful. Christ’s blood is all-sufficient, and He does answer prayer. The process isn’t always easy, but the results are so worth it!
Your fellow-sister in Christ,