Shoe Repair Shop
An old man operated a shoe repair shop with a young apprentice. The apprentice had become an outstanding musician by simply playing his harp as he worked the long hours in the humble store. He had acquired such an art with his harp that he could almost make it talk.
The shoe repairman was deaf. He wrote a note on a brown paper bag to a customer. Having heard about his accomplishments, the visitor was eager to hear the boy in person. The repairman walked over to the boy, picked up the harp and made the motions with his hands that told the young harpist that the customer wanted to hear him play. And play he did!
While he was filling that shop with enchanting music, the old man picked up an old poker lying beside the stove. He placed one end of it between his teeth and the other on the harp as the lad played it. The old man’s face lit up with delight.
Afterwards, the customer also wrote on the old brown paper bag, asking if the man had actually heard the sounds that way.
The man replied on the backside of the paper bag with these written words: “All that you heard, I heard.”
That piece of metal took the sound from the harp to the old man’s teeth, and from his teeth to his brain.
By the same token, prayer is the method that we get in touch with God, and through which he produces “music” in our lives. But to have this God-given “music” we must put forth the effort and make use of the medium God has given us. That is, we have got to pray.
Since many, many people have not found the method too successful in times past there is no “music being produced in their lives. Despite all the claims of others of answered prayers and direct interventions by God in their behalf, it just did not work for them. So, needless to say, they are not trying to pray. Prayer is an art that they simply did not master.
But since prayer is an art, and this is the art of happy, and holy living, one of the best ways to acquire the art is to look at why and how it did not work for others and maybe even you.
Since the Bible has statement after statement about the benefits of prayer, and since it also contains promise after promise that prayer would be answered, every unanswered prayer has got to be attributed to the one who prays [or tries to pray], rather than to God. Look closely at the reasons for unsuccessful prayer. There are many, but not all apply to every person. It is a matter of ”if the shoe fits, wear it.”
In Psalms 66:18, one vital reason for praying in vain is listed this way, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.”
“Iniquity” is anything that is evil, it can be more than unrighteousness, crime, murder, and theft. You can be a solid law-abiding, well-respected, and admired citizen and still be guilty of regarding evil in your heart.