When we read the life–stories of great men and women of God, we are always fascinated with their commitment and walk with the Lord. What catches our attention is their prayer life that is so effective in keeping them even in trying situations. Even James says, ‘Effective fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much’ (James 5:1). To the contrary our prayer lives are a pity. Many a times we have started to prayer only to be disappointed later.
No matter what, God’s word cannot lie. So if we don’t receive answers for prayer, it is because the problem is from our side. Let us introspect the six hindrances for our prayers so as we can see the fruit of our labors.
1. Cherishing Sin:
God is a holy God: We cannot have fellowship with God if we have any persistent problems with God. This includes sins of any kind. Sometimes we cherish sin. Cherishing sin wants to continue sinning. ‘If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened’ (Psalms 66:18 NIV). God answers our prayer because he loves us – not because we do not have sin. We have the confidence in praying because He is our father and he loves us.
2. Lack of faith:
When we have faith, our prayers will be answered. ‘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’ (James 1:6,7 KJV).
3. Lack of knowledge of the will of God:
Many a time we don’t receive because we don’t know God’s will. God’s will maybe “no” to the request or perhaps “wait”. John says ask anything according to God’s will, and then he will hear us. ‘This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us–whatever we ask–we know that we have what we asked of him’ (1 John 5:14,15 NIV).
4. Lack of knowledge of the Word of God:
Everyone need not be a teacher of Scriptures. But every Christian must be a diligent student of the Scriptures. John says, ‘If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask of me whatever you wish, then it will be answered to you’ (John 15:7). You can safely pray scriptures. Daniel prayed according to the Word of the Lord as given through Jeremiah the prophet.
God will answer your prayer, when you are relieved from bitterness about any person or situation. Real test of prayer is our personal prayer. Praying in-group is always easy. That’s why Mark says, ‘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’ (Mark 11:25 KJV). Paul also commands to, ‘Get rid of all bitterness’ (Eph. 4:31 NLT), and also to be diligently looking for bitterness from growing roots (Heb.12:15).
6. Asking with the wrong motives:
James puts it very plainly when he says, ‘When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures’ (James 4:3 NIV). Our motivation should be for the glory of God as Apostle Paul rightly put, ‘… whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God’ (1 Cor. 10:31 NIV)’.
In conclusion let me encourage you to pray because the scripture says, ‘Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him?’ (Mat 7:8–11 NIV).
Copyright © Oct 2006. R. Rajkumar