THINGS THAT CAN HINDER OUR PRAYERS TO GOD
A few years ago, a severe storm that produced 70-80 mile an hour winds ripped its way over our house in Glenn Heights, TX. During that intense storm, I called my brother to warn him and his family that a possible tornado was headed their way.
However, when he answered the phone, the line became static and then it went dead. That was a very scary time because I lost all communication to warn my loved ones of a possible tornado.
1. But let me tell you something that is 100 times worst than not being able to communicate with your family when the phone lines are down--not being able to get through to God in prayer.
2. When we pray to God, we want Him to hear our prayers without any static in the prayer line. We want to have our prayers heard without anything interfering with them.
THIS MORNING, I WANT TO SHARE WITH YOU THREE THINGS THAT CAN HINDER OUR PRAYERS TO GOD.
I. FIRST, AN UNFORGIVING SPIRIT CAN HINDER OUR PRAYERS TO GOD.
§ (Mk. 11:25) “And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”
1. Jesus is telling us that God will not forgive us of our sins unless we forgive others when they sin against us. So in other words, our prayer for forgiveness can be denied if we are holding grudges against others. An unforgiving spirit can hinder our prayers to God.
John Oglethorpe, in talking to John Wesley, once made the comment, “I never forgive.” Mr. Wesley wisely replied, “Then, sir, I hope that you never sin.”
2. If we want our sins forgiven and our prayers to reach God without any hindrances, we must have a forgiving spirit! We must forgive even when someone doesn't deserve it.
§ (Eph. 4:31-32) “Get rid of all bitterness, rage, and anger, brawling, and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
A good example of someone who forgave others when they did not deserve it is the story of Joseph and his brothers.
Joseph, who was the eleventh of Jacob’s twelve sons, and the firstborn son of Rachel, was grossly mistreated by some of the members of his family. First of all, his own brothers wanted to kill him because of a dream he had that pointed out that some day his whole family would bow down to the ground before him. However, instead of killing him, a few of his brothers sold Joseph as a slave to a caravan of Ishmaelites who were on their way to Egypt. While in Egypt, we read that Joseph spent years in prison because of false accusations of Potiphar’s wife who said that Joseph made improper advances toward her.
All in all, Joseph’s experienced many hardships. He was betrayed by his family, kidnapped, enslaved, and imprisoned. This is a man who had every right to have bitterness and anger toward his brothers.
However, we read in (Gen. 45:14-15) that when Joseph was reunited with his brothers in Egypt, “he threw his arms around his brother Benjamin and wept, and Benjamin embraced him, weeping. And he kissed all his brothers and wept over them.”
Although his brothers had been unfaithful to him, he graciously forgave them and shared his prosperity with them.
3. If Joseph somehow found the strength to forgive others when they mistreated him, we too can find the strength to forgive those who have mistreated us. We must forgive so that our prayers will not be hindered toward God.
II. SECOND, AN IMPROPER HUSBAND-WIFE RELATIONSHIP CAN HINDER OUR PRAYERS TO GOD.
§ (1 Peter 3:7) “Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.”
1. This verse teaches that if a man is not considerate and respectful towards his wife, his prayers will be hindered. If a husband does not treat his wife with love, honor, and respect, which she deserves, it is my option that he does not deserve to have his prayers considered by God.
2. An improper husband-wife relationship hinders prayer because to have a good relationship with God depends on right relationships with others. If we do not have a right relationship with others, then our relationship with God is affected.
A while back, I saw a story on TV about a Minister who worked at a productive church and was supposedly a successful man of God. During the program, he confessed that for years he would come home from a hard day’s work and take out his frustrations on his wife. He just didn’t verbally abuse her, but he physically beat her and on several occasions he almost killed her.
3. If you were God, would you want to hear and answer this man's prayer? Absolutely Not.
4. If we mistreat our spouse, God may not consider our prayers.
III. LASTLY, DOUBT CAN HINDER OUR PRAYERS TO GOD.
§ (Jam 1:5-7) “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.”
1. Doubt means, “to be undecided or skeptical about something." It is a lack of certainty and lack of trust! As Christians, doubt is an enemy to our faith because we are to believe what God has said will happen. If we doubt God's ability to answer our prayers, then He won't answer them.
In (Luke 1), we are introduced to two people--Zechariah who was a priest during the time of Herod king of Judea, and his wife Elizabeth. They were both very godly people who served the Lord. However, there was one thing that was lacking in their lives. They wanted a child. However, Elizabeth was barren and they were both well along in years. Over a course of time, they prayed earnestly for a child and God heard their prayers and sent an angel to them to announce the good news that He was going to grant them a child.
However, in (Luke 1:18f), Zechariah doubted and did not believe the news that the angel brought from God. Because Zechariah doubted God’s promise, he was taught a lesson. He was not able to speak until the day the child was born.
2. When we ask God for something, but deep down in our hearts we doubt that we will receive it, He teaches us a lesson by not granting our prayer requests. Doubt hinders our prayers.
3. Let us strive to have the kind of faith that Jesus commissions us to have in (Mk. 11:22-24).
§ “Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. “I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourselves in the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”
4. When we pray, let us pray with mountain moving faith. We must believe that we will receive what we ask for. Doubt kills prayer, faith on the other hand brings prayer to life.
1. Prayer is one of the great blessings we have as Christians. We need to be living such a good life that ensures that our prayers are going directly to the throne room of God without any interferences.
2. Here are three things that can hinder our prayers to God:
a. An unforgiving spirit.
b. An improper husband-wife relationship.
3. If you struggle with these things, then get them repaired today, so that your prayer lines of communication will be smooth and static free.