John R. Rice simplified prayer by saying, “Prayer is about two things: asking and receiving.” There is power in prayer! Prayer works! You and I are the products of prayers prayed by us and for us. “Does God do anything that is not in answer to prayer?”
There are, however, hindrances to asking and receiving. If the arteries of answers are not flowing, consider ten blockages that might be at work in our hearts and lives.
1 Praying without knowing Jesus Christ through faith as your Savior
If a man is unsaved, he has not taken Christ and his mediator (I Tim. 2:5, John 14:6).
Romans 5:2 says, By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:16)
2 Praying with an unrepentant heart
The Psalmist said, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.” Be right with God and let your family take refuge in your relationship with God. (Psalm 66:18)
3 Praying for show
And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. (Matthew 6:5)
4 Praying repetitive, empty words
But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. (Matthew 6:6-7)
5 Prayers not prayed
Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full. (John 16:24)
6 Praying with a lustful heart
God is not fooled by prayers that are more about how we can fulfill our sinful or selfish desires than how we can honor Him and fulfill His purposes.
Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full. (James 4:3)
7 Praying while mistreating your spouse
Someone said, “If you won’t listen to your spouse, then God will not listen to you.”
Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered. (I Peter 3:7)
8 Praying while ignoring the poor
If we do not cultivate a generous and compassionate heart, we become spiritually impoverished and the Lord ignores us.
Whoso stoppeth his ears at the cry of the poor, he also shall cry himself, but shall not be heard. (Proverbs 21:13)
9 Praying with bitterness toward another
Unforgiveness expresses a resistant heart in which God has not been allowed to work.
And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses. (Mark 11:25-26)
10 Praying with a faithless heart
If we don’t really believe He can, then He won’t!
But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways. (James 1:6-8)
Our families and our country need our prayers. May we not be hindered today as we approach the Father’s throne. Selah!