Ever really wondered what it is that actually stops us from praying? The Bible is very clear that there are times when God doesn't hear our prayer. This should be a great concern for every born again believer. Now there could be more...but here are at least 14 OBSTACLES TO PRAYER:
1. REJECTION OF TRUTH…Proverbs 28:9 One who turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer is an abomination." This is the person who hears the truth…he is not ignorant of the law…he knows it…but instead he chooses unbelief and they fail to walk by faith or to pray in faith. Someone has wisely stated: “Stopped ears…stop praying!”
2. PRIDE…James 4:6; 2 Chronicles 7:14 I suppose it would be accurate to say that a lot of what stops usfrom praying is actually personal pride. But what does God say on pride? James 4:6 “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” · God’s Word is clear on this point…PRIDE stops us from prayer. The Lord resists/opposes the proud. The proud are self sufficient, they think they are okay…You and I are no match for God…so we must humble ourselves.
Humble dependency upon God is basically knowing that we need Him every hour. "If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
3. HARD-HEARTS…Zechariah 7:8-13 To God’s people (post exile) God spoke through Zechariah…but they refused to hear…they made their hearts as hard as stone. When we refuse to hear, heed and obey God’s Word…i.e. when you or I refuse to apply it to my life…our hearts become as hard as stone. "Nothing gets in man! I don’t want to hear it! I don’t accept it! WARNING: When we harden our hearts the Lord gives us back what we have sown. “…so they called out….and I would not listen says the Lord of hosts.." Beware the hardness of heart…when we refuse to heed God’s Word…
4. LACK OF COMPASSION…Proverbs 21:13 When we don’t care about the situations of others…“Whoever shuts his ear to the cry of the poor will also cry himself and not be heard.” We cannot neglect justice and we must show compassion to others less fortunate than ourselves...if we want God to hear our prayer.
5. UNCONFESSED SIN…Isaiah 59:2; Psalm 32 Isaiah 59:2 “Your iniquities have separated you from your God…and your sins have hidden his face from you, so that He will not hear.” Sin separates us from Him and hinders our prayers. If we refuse to give up our sin, how can the Lord honor our prayers? Our life must be one of obedience and service to Him. Psalm 66:18 “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear.” This teaches us that there is a direct correlation between prayer and purity. “…power in prayer is connected to purity in the heart.”
6. WRONG MOTIVES…James 4:3 “You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may
spend it on your pleasures." · Often times our own personal agenda is what we pray about…God is not our servant! Rather we are His servants and we must keep our hearts and motives focused on His will…not our own!
7. UNBELIEF…Hebrews 11:6; Matthew 17:20-21; 21:22 Lack of faith…Unbelief hinders prayer…and when unbelief goes unchecked it will produce uncertainty and distrust of God, the Church and cause us to become skeptics.
8. NOT SERIOUSLY ASKING…James 4:2 Thinking about it is not enough…we must ask…and ask
in faith. Believing about what we are praying for and about.
9. BROKEN RELATIONSHIPS…1 Peter 3:7 “Husbands dwell with them (wives) with understanding giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered.” How often does broken relationships with our spouses hinder our prayers? An extended application of this principle points not only to our marriage relationship but all of our relationships, in our homes, workplace as well as in the church.
10. VAIN REPETITION…Matthew 6:7 Many people pray the same things time after time…just going through the motions without really opening their heart to God and or getting through to the heart of God.
11. LACK OF FORGIVENESS…Matthew 6:14-15 We need to cultivate a forgiving spirit, this is one of the greatest problems in churches today. With lack of forgiveness in our hearts for fellow believers, how can God hear us when we ask Him for forgiveness?
12. HYPOCRISY…Luke 18:9-14 In this story the Pharisee, the religious professional felt that he was so much better than the sinner,...as if God could not see his heart. But the tax collector prayed for mercy before God with no pretense and with an obvious awareness that God knows what his heart is like. He went away justified, he prayed honestly with no reliance on self...he was genuine before God in prayer.
13. DOUBLE MINDEDNESS…James 1:5-8 Double mindedness is basically thinking one thing and saying another. Praying doubtfully is asking faithlessly. And God says if we do this we should not expect an answer.
14. IDOLATRY…Ezekiel 14:3 We create our own idols, like prestige, power, leisure, wealth, work and family anything and everything else that we put on the throne of our life, instead of the Lord. We must remember that God will not and does not share His glory with another.
And so we pray with David: “Search my heart O God and make it ever true…” Psalm 139:24 This is why it is so important for us to pray: “Lord…put the searchlight of your Holy Spirit on my heart.” In order that we may maintain a close and clean and intimate relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. Ask God today to reveal any of these hindrances to prayer in your life, and repent of them, turn away from them and seek the Lord in prayer today!
About our Pastor...