Jesus said in John 14:14, “If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.”
While this is a powerful promise that encourages us to pray for all things, in all places and at all times, it is not to be considered a blank check. To pray in the name of Jesus means that we are praying in accordance with His nature and in line with His will. For that is what prayer is all about, communing with God as we seek to get His will done. When we pray we should seek to get His will accomplished and not our own. It has been said, “prayer is enlisting us in what God is doing.”
Below are 7 Things that will hinder prayer:
- Ignorance. We have not sought the Lord in His Word to find out His nature and plan and character and will. Thus we are left praying in ignorance and perhaps even aimlessly, shooting up myriads of prayers to God hoping something will stick.
- Selfishness. James 4:3 states, “You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.” When we pray selfishly and not in accordance with God’s will and plan, our prayers will not be received.
- Rejecting God’s Word. If we are learning the truths and commandments of God, yet not obeying them, our prayers will be hindered. Solomon exhorted his son in Proverbs 28:9, “One who turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer is an abomination.” When the Word of God is rejected, Solomon here suggests that prayers from such a hard heart is considered to be an abomination to God. While His ear is open to the repentant sinner, why would God commune with a person who is rebellious and does not want anything to do with His principles?
- Unforgiveness. Forgiveness is so central in the Christian life, that God links the forgiveness extended to us with our forgiveness of others. Jesus said in Mark 11:25-26, “… if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.” The principle is this: If God forgave us of much, why can’t we forgive others for that which is rather insignificant in comparison?
- Iniquity. It was the repentant David who probably penned the words found in Psalm 66:18, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear.” Our prayers may be hindered if there is un-confessed sin in our lives. God wants us to be right with Him so much so He sent Jesus to die a brutal and excruciating death on our behalf. That being said, we should be diligent when it comes to being right with God.
- Discord with your spouse. We read in 1 Peter 3:7 that if a man is not honoring his wife, his prayers will be hindered. Peter, a married man himself, exhorts husbands to extend grace and honor to their wives, which follows the example of Christ extending grace to His bride. I believe that it is fair and reasonable to apply this to both husband and wife.
- Lastly is doubt. James 1:5-7 deals with this and states that we should be praying in faith and not doubting that the Lord will hear and work and answer on our behalf. When we pray, we should be praying in God’s will and be found standing on His promises. Hebrews 4:16 echoes this, “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
If we do not wish for our prayers to be hindered, it would be important to consider these truths found in God’s word. Prayer is an exciting endeavor when we consider that we are conversing with the true and living God. But who wants to have their prayers hindered?