The promises and possibilities of prayer for the child of God are absolutely “off the charts”! God wants to show us “great and mighty things, which thou knowest not of”. But while there are things that may merely hinder or weaken the effectiveness of prayer, I believe there are seven elements that will absolutely block or bring our prayer lives to a disabling halt. With this in mind, consider:
1. HARBORED SIN.
Psalms 66:18 says "If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me:" It’s not that God cannot hear us, but He will not hear us. This “harbored” sin grieves and quenches the Holy Spirit, which is the very vehicle of prayer.
2. FORSAKING GOD’S WORD.
"If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you." No relationship is effective when it is one-sided. While we must talk with God, He must have a way to speak to us. God alone is the one that can really teach us to pray.
The Bible says in Matthew 21:22 "And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive." If we do not believe that He will do it, then why are we asking for it? I’m not trying to insult anyone’s intelligence, but this becomes the vehicle of our desire. What a promise!
And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him. We must ask in His will not our will. Humility comes into play here, and without humility we don’t even have an audience with God
James 4:3 "Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts." God will not get glory from such an attitude of prayer.
6. NOT ASKING.
"Ye have not, because ye ask not." This sounds like a moot point and so elementary, but it easily becomes true when worry overrides our focus on the Lord. If he is willing to answer, why are we not willing to ask for it?
7. UNPASSIONATE PRAYING.
This becomes more than a hindrance, that is, if you and I want a prayer life that avails much. Effectual praying is “hard work”. It will take something out of us. Prayer is not for God’s sake; rather, to keep us focused on our dependence on and faith in God! God knows our desires and needs before we pray, but our faith must be fervently centered on Him.
For me, GOD is my Equalizer in life! Everything in life trumps my abilities to handle them, but God trumps everything that comes my way. My prayer life is what “taps” into my Equalizer, God! When I’m backed to the wall with nowhere to turn; when all other effort is exhausted; when no one else understands; when I don’t understand; when all others have forsaken me; when I’m about to LOSE IT, I, have an Equalizer!
Maybe you need a “Red Sea” or “Jordan River” parting, but don’t forget the “little” things God wants to answer in prayer. No prayer is insignificant! The song says,
Prayer is just as big as God is big,
Prayer is just as strong as God is strong
Prayer can reach as far as God can reach,
Don’t ever give up, JUST PRAY!