When I was a child, our church choir sang a “prayer response” song after the pastor’s prayer every Sunday. Here are the words: “Hear our prayer, O Lord. Hear our prayer, O Lord. Incline Thine ear to us, and grant us thy peace. Amen” As a kid, I was intrigued by the word incline. Just what does that mean…and doesn’t God always want to hear our prayers?
In my Bible readings this week, I came upon the word “incline” in Deuteronomy 5:29. This time, it is God who wants us to be inclined to do something.
“Oh, that their hearts would be inclined to fear me and keep all my commands always, so that it might go well with them and their children forever!”
The dictionary says the word incline means to feel willing or favorably disposed toward (an action, belief, or attitude). In this case, we are being asked to be favorably disposed to revere, honor, and respect God enough to keep all his commands – always. Wow, that’s a tall order! A few verses later, Deuteronomy 6:5 is the verse that Jesus confirmed as the greatest commandment. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.”
Our inclinations come down to who or what we love most. If we love God most, we will incline our hearts to obedience. If we love ourselves most, we want God to incline his ear to us, but usually it’s for selfish reasons. As we go through this new series in the book of James with Pastor Trey, let’s incline our hearts to obey God’s commands and follow His will! Then we will not only know wisdom, but also follow God’s wisdom in this foolish age.