This is a very well known verse. It tells us why our prayers sometimes meet with an iron sky. The Psalmist praises God for hearing his prayer and answering him and then concludes, “If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.” Then he adds in the next verse, “But truly God has listened; he has attended to the voice of my prayer.”

One essential ingredient for coming into the presence of God is a “pure” heart. Christianity has is and always has been a matter of the heart. Psalm 24 teaches us “Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD? And who shall stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart…” Paul seeks this for his young disciple, Timothy. He charges him with his duties and explains, “The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.” Later he says to Timothy, “So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.” Peter also charges us similarly. He writes, “Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God.”

Max Lucado writes, “Real change is an inside job. You might alter things a day or two with money and systems, but the heart of the matter is and always will be, the matter of the heart. Allow me to get specific. Our problem is sin. Not finances. Not budgets.… Our problem is sin. We are in rebellion against our Creator. We are separated from our Father. We are cut off from the source of life. A new president or policy won’t fix that. It can only be solved by God. That’s why the Bible uses drastic terms like conversion, repentance, and lost and found. Society may renovate, but only God re-creates.”

The godly will rejoice in the Lord and find shelter in him. And those who do what is right will praise him. (Psalm 64:10)