I hope you’ve been enjoying this series based on my Book, Moving Mountains: Keys to Prayer that Works. Click here to read the series in its entirety, or click on the links to order the book in paperback or in e-book format from Amazon.
Today we’re going to cover some of the roadblocks to answered prayer. It’s frustrating to lift up your prayers to the Lord and feel like you’re not seeing results.
Sometimes, things are progressing behind the scenes, and we just can’t yet see the results. Other times, mostly when we’re praying for others, the will or beliefs of those other people may be getting in the way. But when the prayers are about ourselves, I often find that there are roadblocks that we can control that are hindering God’s work in our lives.
The two main things that often get in the way of answered prayer are sin and Enemy attacks. For the next three posts, we’ll go over the 9 main types of sin that people don’t often realize they’ve fallen into, but have a major impact on answered prayer. Then, in part 4, I’ll cover how the Enemy sneaks in to throw a wrench into our spiritual warfare and block things up.
The Effects of Sin on Prayer: Part 1
What does the Word say about the effects of sin on prayer? Let’s look:
If my people, who are called by My Name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from Heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place. (2 Chronicles 7:14-15)
Psalm 66:16-20 tells us:
If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened. But God has surely listened and heard my voice in prayer. Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld His love from me!
We’ll go over more verses regarding the relationship between righteousness and answered prayer later, but the first sin that we’re going to talk about today that can hinder our prayers is:
1. Unforgiveness. Unforgiveness is one of those sneaky little hidden sins that we often don’t realize we’re committing, and it’s also a tough one to conquer in this earthly world. So many of us have been hurt terribly by others – serious, damaging hurts.
One of the verses that has really helped in my life with unforgiveness is Matthew 6:14-15:
For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
OUCH. This was one of those “wake-up call” verses for me. My right and reason to walk in unforgiveness toward the people who had hurt me suddenly seemed pretty insignificant when I realized that my unforgiveness could make the difference between my eternity in Heaven and my eternity in Hell.
So how do we forgive the people in our lives who’ve hurt us so terribly? Two keys have worked for me:
First, repent. Say, “Lord forgive me for not forgiving ___________. I choose in my heart right now to forgive him/her.
Second, bind the Enemy. Say “Devil, I reject your spirit of unforgiveness in my life.”
Do these things every single time you sense unforgiveness and bitterness trying to sneak in. Even if it doesn’t feel “real” at first, don’t worry. God’s on it, and your heart will eventually line up with your words if you choose to commit to them.
A note: I know firsthand what’s it’s like to suffer terrible things at the hands of those who are close to you. But remember the old adage about unforgiveness: It’s like drinking poison and then expecting the other person to die. Embrace the healing power of forgiveness in your life – today.
2. Pride. Pride is another area that hinders our prayers, because pride makes us believe that we are better than others. Anytime our mind is telling us that our sins, our life, our possessions, our family or whatever, is better than other people’s, the focus is on us, and therefore off of God.
This was the very first sin – Satan’s sin – from the beginning of time. Satan thought he could do a better job than God of running the universe and purposed in his heart to take over.
Pride can cause us to think that we don’t need God, and that we can do a better job of running things ourselves, and it’s this separation from God that voids answers to our prayers.
3. A lack of faith. Hebrews 11:6 tells us that “without faith, it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists, and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.
God has given us all “the measure of faith” (Romans 12:3). But it’s our job to grow that faith by reading the Word of God (Romans 10:17).
Choose to start growing your faith so that “whatever you ask for in prayer (that’s in line with God’s will), believe that you will receive it and it will be yours” (Mark 11:24) applies to your life!
May God bless you and keep you as you work toward a deeper and more intimate relationship with Him!