I have heard many times from others and even asked a few times why God does not seem to answer my prayers. Our belief is that God answers ALL prayers, we just may not be getting the answer we want or in the way we want. God will answer all prayers submitted properly with a humble heart. This I truly believe, but I did learn today that there are six barriers which could prevent God from hearing, or at least answering our prayers.
Selfishness: Are we asking for things purely for self interest? James 4:3 (NASB) 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.
Ignoring the Law of God: Are we asking for something that is contradictory to the law of God? Are you truly trying to live your life within God’s law forsaking earthly desires? Proverbs 28:9 (NASB) 9 He who turns away his ear from listening to the law,
Even his prayer is an abomination.
Unforgiving Heart: Is there something or someone in our heart that we have not truly forgiven? Mark 11:25 (NASB)25 Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions.
Discord with family: Are we treating our wife/husband (family) with the kindness and honor they deserve? Have we done or said something that may still be weighing heavy on our or their mind? 1 Peter 3:7-9 (NASB) 7 You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.8 To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit; 9 not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing.
Giving credit to personal sin: Are we living in sin yet making excuses for it creating a ideology that the sin is ok, or it is not that bad. Sin is sin in God’s eyes. Psalm 66:18 (NASB) 18 If I regard wickedness in my heart, The Lord will not hear;
Doubting or lack of Faith: Be confident in our petition that God is God and has all ability to grant that which we seek. James 1:6-7 (NASB)6 But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord,
Many times when you are having a conversation with a brother or sister in Christ, specifically about prayer, Mark 11:24 will inevitably be cited.
Mark 11:24 (NASB) 24 Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you.
I, of course, would never disagree with it, but as with any biblical instruction, one must look for the corroborating scripture and ensure that all instruction is followed, not just a verse out of context. Mark 11:24 seems to allow for any prayer to be answered as we want it, but does not take into account the petitioners motive, law of God, unforgiving heart, discord, personal sin, or doubt. Without taking care of these 6 barriers before prayer, how can one be sure that God will even hear?
Eliminating these 6 barriers and petitioning with pure humility before God will better insure that ones prayers will be heard. God’s answer to prayer is another entire post, as yes I believe He answers EVERY prayer, maybe just not to our earthly satisfaction, but at least with better prayer we can insure that our prayers will be heard.