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Hindrances to Prayer

Hindrances to Prayer - The Problem
The Bible is clear that there are hindrances to prayer. Have you ever felt like your prayers are hitting the ceiling and going no further? Let’s study what the Bible says about effective prayer.

Hindrances to Prayer – The Reasons
The Bible lists several hindrances to prayer. Here are a few of them:

  1. Unconfessed Sin - Probably the most common prayer killer. Psalm 66:18 "If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear." The good news is that when we confess sin, God forgives it, and it’s gone. The slate is clean and we are no longer held accountable. 1 John 1:9 says, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness."
  2. Unforgiveness - Matthew 6:14-15 says, "For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you, but if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins." When a person refuses to forgive another, he is hurting himself, because his lack of forgiveness will inevitably create bitterness. A person cannot pray with bitterness and expect blessings. An unforgiving spirit strain relationships especially in marriage. 1 Peter 3:7 says "You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered." Jesus said, "Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone" (Mark 11:25). If you hold on to resentment and/or unforgiveness toward anyone or anything (including situations and even God) it will be a primary hindrance to your prayer life. Also, see Ephesians 4:31-32, Matthew 18:21-35; Colossians 3:13.
  3. Wrong Motives - When our motives are not right in prayer, our prayers have no power. James 4:3 says, "When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives." Jesus taught us to pray in Matthew 6:10 "Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven." Pray in accord with His will (1 John 5:14-15). When we know we are praying in line with His will, we can have faith and confidence He will grant the petitions we desire of Him.
  4. Idols in our Lives - Exodus 20:3-6 says "You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing loving kindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments." God does not even want an idol worshiper to talk to Him. On the other hand, when we remove idols from our lives, we become ripe for a personal revival. One way to know that something in your life is an idol is to ask yourself, "If God asked, would I be willing to give this thing up?" Look honestly at your career, possessions, and family. If there are things you wouldn't release to God, then they’re blocking access to Him.
  5. Doubt, Unbelief and Lack of Faith - Without faith, prayer has no power. Even Jesus was powerless to perform any miracles in Nazareth because of the people’s lack of faith (Mark 6:1-6). James 1:6 states about someone who asks God for wisdom, "he must ask in faith without any doubting, ...for that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord." Hebrews 11:6 says, "Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him." Jesus said, "All things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive" (Matthew 21:22). There is power in believing God. Romans 10:17 says "So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ."
  6. Neglect and indifference to the Word of God - Proverbs 28:9 says, "He who turns away his ear from listening to the law, even his prayer is an abomination". Hebrews 4:16 says, "Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need." See: James 1:22-25; Hebrews 2:1-3; 1 Peter 2:2; Psalms 1:2-3; Joshua 1:8 and John 15:17 for more.
  7. Disobedience - If we are to mature in our relationship with God and become affective in prayer, we must learn to obey. Keeping free from sin is not enough. Neither is faith. If our mouths say that we believe, but our actions don't back up that belief with a strong display of obedience. Obedience should be a natural outgrowth of faith in God. He that obeys God, trusts Him; he that trusts Him, obeys Him. 1 Samuel 15:22 says "It is better to obey (listen to God) than to sacrifice". Ongoing disobedience is the fruit of an unsurrendered will: a person whose will is surrendered to God has a relationship with Him similar to the one described in the parable of the vine and the branches. (John 15:7). There are great benefits of surrendering your will to God. One is that God promises to answer your prayers and grant your requests. Another is that we get to receive the power of Christ through the Holy Spirit. Just as with the vine and the branches, He flows through us, gives us power, and produces fruit.
  8. Satanic Resistance - We are in a continual fight against the powers of darkness (Ephesians 6:10-12). Our enemy, Satan, hates praying people. Prayer is more than just asking and receiving, it is a spiritual battle. We must bind the strong man (Mark 3:27; Matthew 16:19; 18:18-20); join in agreement with other believers (Matthew 18:18-20; Acts 4:23-24; 12:5; 12:12); pray in the spirit (Ephesians 6:18); persist in prayer (Genesis 32; Luke 18:1-8; Daniel 10:12-13); and, even fast as God directs if we are to gain ground in prayer.

Hindrances to Prayer - The Remedy
All hindrances to prayer can be remedied by confession and repentance. God doesn’t want your prayers to be hindered. He desires intimate fellowship with His children and for the lines of communication to remain open. 1 John 1:9 says, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness."

Prayer: Father, we humbly come to You requesting You to aid us in removing all hindrances to an effective and powerful prayer life with you. Forgive us where we fell short and allowed those hindrances into our life. We commit to pray. Aid our faith so that we can believe You for great blessings. In Jesus' name we pray, Amen!

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