When you spread out your hands, I will hide my eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, I will not listen; your hands are full of blood. Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause. (Isaiah 1:15-17 ESV)
God will not listen to the prayer of man who is unrepentant. Our words and offerings to him become meaningless when we willfully sin. I think God would rather have us keep quiet until we learn to change our ways. Why should he reward us with his time for bad behavior? He will have nothing to do sin and evil, let alone bless us for disobedience.
I once read in a Studer Group management book that leaders should spend the most time with their high performers and the least amount of time with low performers. It sends a message that high-functioning, responsible, and trustworthy team members get the most attention, while the slouches, troublemakers, and complainers get the least attention, especially when they do not bother to put forth their best efforts on the job. High performers win their supervisors’ favor, receive special recognition, and often get promoted within the company. Low performers remain stagnant or quit, unless they take initiative and make self-improvements.
Now I am not saying that the we should repent so that we can receive a blessing or an answer to prayer. We can’t fool God because he knows when we don’t mean it! What I do know is that he will bless people of good conduct and punish the wicked. The good news is that he allows us to make a choice. He gave us free will so that our relationship with him might be established with sincerity, not by compulsion.
“If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land; but if you refuse and rebel, you shall be eaten by the sword; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken” (Isaiah 1:19-20 ESV).
I think it’s also important to note that God-fearing bosses have the ability to detect false motives. You might wonder, “How would they ever know?” Well, I believe God would tell them! It’s just best to do the right thing, period.