Make sure we agree with God. His word can change the very direction of our lives. Prayer is communication with God. Communication with God is listening to make sure we hear what God is telling us to do. If he hears us, we have the petitions we ask of Him. However, sometimes we have signal loss. We may have a problem with the environment. God wants to answer prayer. However, we can’t have unconfessed sin in our lives.
Psalm 66:16-19 (NLT) says,
16 Come and listen, all you who fear God,
and I will tell you what he did for me.
17 For I cried out to him for help,
praising him as I spoke.
18 If I had not confessed the sin in my heart,
the Lord would not have listened.
19 But God did listen!
He paid attention to my prayer.”
Hindrances to prayer
I must examine my own heart. I do not need to harbor all the stuff in my heart. He sees my heart before I start to pray. Emotional integrity has not been modeled for us. We fail to be the caretaker of our own hearts! I cannot bring unconfessed sin before God.
Ask with no doubting, no wavering, no hesitation. If you doubt, you’re like a wave, that is like the irregular motion in rough waters. You are blown like the waves in your mind – your emotions are up and down and in and out. That person needs to ask in faith. Let not that man even think he is going to receive anything. You are a double-minded man. Don’t even think you will receive something from the Lord!
The man that goes to God and asking for wisdom and doubting–you are treating prayer like the lottery—you may win, or you may not win. Prayer is not a lottery system. Prayer is not subject to the laws of probability and change. God WILL DO what he says! He requires our trust. God’s dependability is part of his character. Ask for wisdom – he says he will or he won’t. We are literally attacking his character when we doubt him.
Parents – even if your children make you mad – and they come to you and needed some wisdom- you are a parent and you love them. God says to us, “Don’t you know who I am? I am longing to give you this wisdom and now you come up doubting that I will give you the insight, the wisdom? If I said it, I am going to do it. Make sure we are not double-minded.
James 4:1-3. Where do these battles come from? They come from your desire for pleasure – you lust, you long for, you covet, you fight verbally, you fight physically! You don’t have because you don’t ask. When you do ask, you ask with improper motives. How do you know this? Because you ask that you may squander it on your own pleasure. You’ve got a war going on the inside. You don’t have – your motives are self-satisfying—you are not including God in your prayers, you just want stuff. God is not going to fund hedonism.
- Do I really need what I’ve asked God for? Don’t you know you’re rich!
- Am I asking for special treatment–all the time!
- Is it in the best interest of God’s kingdom and His will?
- What do I plan to do when God grants my request? What if you hit the lottery! If he answered some of us, we would never see you again in church!
- Am I asking with pure motives? Settle this question.
- Ask am I double-minded? Settle this question.
- Unconfessed sin – confess it.
These are the hindrances that will hinder us in our prayers.