James 1:5-8 (NIV)
5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. 6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.
Some of King David’s prayers are recorded in the Psalms. There we can read how he praised God, confessed sin, and cried out about his troubles. He also asked God to hear his prayers and not be silent. We all want to pray effectively like David did. To do this however, we need to avoid certain obstacles that can hinder the effectiveness of our prayers, such as:
Doubts about God’s character or dependability diminish our trust in Him. Therefore we must not allow feelings to dictate what we believe.
James 4:3 (NIV)
3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.
Petitions motivated by selfish desires won’t receive a yes from God. He wants us to pray for His will to be done, not ours.
Conflict in Relationships
Being resentful or argumentative with others will affect our communication with God.
Lack of Generosity
Proverbs 21:13 (NIV)
13 Whoever shuts their ears to the cry of the poor
will also cry out and not be answered.
God is displeased when we ignore people’s needs or give begrudgingly to the church. He hears us asking for a blessing yet he sees us refusing to obey Him in our giving.
1 Timothy 6:17-19 (NIV)
17 Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.18 Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. 19 In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.
Proverbs 28:9 (NIV)
9 If anyone turns a deaf ear to my instruction,
even their prayers are detestable.
Apathy to the Scriptures is another stumbling block. God has given us the Bible so that we might know Him and serve Him wholeheartedly. Failure to read and apply His Word consistently will diminish our ability to maintain a godly lifestyle.
It takes effort and commitment to develop a strong prayer life, but the rewards are great. If your prayers have not been answered, consider if any of the above issues may need correction. Then, start by personalizing the prayers you read in the Psalms or elsewhere in God’s Word.
Remember that God will grant us anything we ask for, but only if what we are asking for is in line with God’s will. Having a close relationship with God, through studying and mediating on the Bible and then trying to live it out, will put us into that flow of God’s will and then our prayers will be much more likely to be answered. God only wants the very best for you, do you?
Be sure to read Part 2 of this blog to check out some more obstacles to our prayers. Everyone have a great weekend!