- For months Job wasn't getting through to God and he believed that he was in the right and that God was in the wrong in letting him suffer. When you don't get any answers from God, stop arguing with Him and you might find that He can then bless you.
- Many of the difficulties we have in prayer are of our own making.
- There is one basic problem in prayer: unanswered prayer. Not that you don't get what you ask, but you don't get any reply; when the Heavens feel like brass. All other issues in prayer are related to this.
- Psalms is filled with such phrases as: "Answer me...Incline your ear...Hear my prayer....Hear my cry!"
- There are five major causes of this problem:
- You're not right with God - Your feelings about God may be wrong (you may be sinning against Him in attitude) or God's feelings about you may be wrong (you may be sinning against Him in action).
- You're not right with other people - God says that if husbands do not treat their wives right, their prayers will not even be heard, let alone answered (I Peter 3:7). Sometimes the issue is that you have not forgiven others for what they have done to you. When others do not forgive you, that can be a blockage to your own prayers (Matthew 5:23-24).
SIDE NOTE: I just want to inject something about this last point. About 2 years ago, there was a misunderstanding between me and a sister in the Lord. She mistakenly believed that I had ignored several communications from her and therefore broke off all interaction with me. In my heart, this was just fine with me because I simply didn't need the extra drama in my life. Well, God brought me to Matthew 5:23-24, and boy it was a hard pill for me to swallow. I had to reread the text several times, but there was no escaping God's command.
I didn't understand why "I" had to go and try to be reconciled with this person when I had done nothing wrong. The problem was of her own making, in her own mind. Yet, every time I went to pray, I would get a brick wall from God and He would bring her to my mind. I literally could not pray! I could either pretend to pray & ignore the fact that God wasn't listening or I could go attempt reconciliation with this woman.
So I reached out to the woman once more and apologized if I had done or said anything to offend her. In the course of the conversation, she found my previous responses to her inquiries and realized that the error had been hers. This woman then broke down in repentance to God and began to cry, telling me how she had suffered from rejection all of her life. Anytime she felt someone was rejecting her, she would become angry and all of the pain would surface again. She said that she realized now how blinded she had become because of that spirit and how she knew she needed to seek God for deliverance from it.
I was dumbstruck. All I could think about before was myself; how it wasn't fair for me to have to extend the olive branch since I hadn't wronged her. Yet God was teaching me a lesson in humility by taking the wrong, even if undeserved. It was the opportunity for me to deny myself that I was resisting. Too often, we allow ourselves to be puffed up in our sense of being "right" and it becomes an obstacle in our relationship with others (and God). Listening to this woman pour out her heart, I was so ashamed of myself and I repented as well for my self-righteous pride.
Matthew 5:23-24 makes it clear that God often expects us to initiate reconciliation with our brothers and sisters, even if the cause for the discord was not of our own doing. In God's economy, it matters not whether we are "in the right" because none of us are "right" when compared to Him. Don't be too proud to humble yourself by seeking reconciliation when He brings such individuals to your heart & mind, for such will hinder your prayers to God.
- You're not right with yourself - Getting on my knees doesn't change me. The problems we have in other areas of life can carry over into our prayer life. If we are undisciplined in regular life, then we will be undisciplined in prayer. If we seek mere entertainment in other areas of life, then we will lack concentration in our prayer life.
- Another hindrance to prayer can be Satan, who deliberately tries to discourage even the smallest Christian from prayer. Satan has at his command legions of angels & demons; intelligent, supernatural beings who are highly organized and charged to get in the way of prayer. In such cases, you need to pray against Satan in the name & blood of Jesus.
- The last hindrance is that God may be deliberately not replying because He wants you to move up and grow in the school of prayer.
- I CAN succeed in prayer. Many people fail because they expect to. The Holy Spirit wants to help you to succeed in prayer.
- I WILL succeed in prayer. You must set your will not to be deterred.
Monday, December 12, 2011