Jeremiah the prophet asked this probing question of his people, “Will ye steal, murder, commit adultery, and swear falsely…And come and stand before me in this house.” (Jeremiah 7:9-10) It was a rhetorical question the point of which was: You cannot live wicked lives and expect to come before God in worship and be accepted. Right living has always been a prerequisite to acceptable worship.
The Psalmist David raised this question: “Lord who shall abide in thy tabernacle? Who shall dwell in thy holy hill?” He then answers: “He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart.” (Psalm 15:1-2) He continues with a list of things involved in right living. No one should expect to come before God in worship and be accepted if he is not trying to live right.
This is what Paul meant when he wrote: “I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.” (1 Timothy 2:8) In order for our prayers to be accepted our lives must be right.