Recently Ive been reading a lot of the old testament while working through a book on the prophets by the renowned Jewish scholar Abraham Heschel called The Prophets as well as continuing to work on my prayer life and reading a short devo book by Andrew Murray titled Absolute Surrender and there have been some startling conclusions Ive drawn. Let my point out a few things, I havent had a lot of time to look deeply into this, so there will more then likely be more in the future.
Throughout the Old Testament the prophets warn of imminent disaster for the people of Judea and Ephraim. Warning them to turn from their ways and back towards God, that only once they turn from their ways will their lives and souls be saved from certain doom. I just started the book of Jeremiah and in chapter 5 he hints at the notion that the people have ceased to be grateful to got, but are grateful for the gifts God has bestowed them. Loosing focus of where they came from, and focusing their praise upon their presence (modern examples would be grateful for work and a job, for friends, for a sunny day, street lamps that turn on at night, air you get the idea). This lack of sight past the present thing made it so that they fell away from God. Not just a tiny bit, but to the point where God slaughtered and captured the WHOLE of Ephraim (the northern kingdom is isreal), and later would do the same to the land of Judea (southern kingdom). That it got past the point where it would have caused God imperfection for Him to supply it with grace, that his righteousness forced wrath upon His people (un-confessed sin is very similar btw).
So how the heck does any of this have to do with prayer or surrender. The false prophets, laymen, leaders, and priests all sat in prayers that were never answered. They spoke of prosperity and of Gods unfailing protection all the while under the down swinging hammer of divine justice. Who spared the lives of the masses? The prophets. Next we have to has what key characteristic caused God to listen so intently (aside from being filled with the spirit of God, as Christians we all are filled in this same way)? It was their surrender. When their heard their called from God they surrendered their lives for the sake of God and his people.
The difference now is that this is not an exclusive club, Christ cames and gave his spirit freely to all who will call upon the name of the Lord and KNOW Him (personally). How have we as a body been so blinded to our need for this type of surrender, the surrender that causes angles to weep and the heavens to shake at the utterances off our lips. Being surrendered to God, letting Him conform you into the likeness of Christ, into alignment with His will (not the other way), and the hardest of all, giving everything you ever thought of as yours up for the sake of God. Just as the apostles did to follow Christ, we today must still do if we are to see the change God desires to see in His creation. It will require daily absolute surrender of our lives to Christ, to save His world from His judgment and punishment that it is slowly beginning to feel.