No one likes to be hindered. We all want to operate, compete, or work at our fullest capacity—whether we are a student, athlete, salesmen, or parent. Like playing a guitar with a broken string or auto racing with 7 cylinders instead of 8 … it won’t be long before we pursue solutions in order to get back in working order.
Did you know that our prayers can be hindered? God makes it clear that certain soul and spiritual issues can clip the communication between our heart and His. And like anything else, if we know something isn’t operating at it’s fullest potential, we ought to seek the remedy.
Recently I read an old book written by author, R.A. Torrey (1856-1928). In his book “How to Pray” he outlines 7 scripturally substantiated issues that will hinder our prayers. Though written over a century ago, his words still hold true today. Removing these obstacles from my life has increased the success of my prayers dramatically, so I thought I would pass them on.
7 hindrances to prayer:
- Selfish and self-serving motives. “And even when you do ask you don’t get it because your whole aim is wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure.” (Holy Bible, James 4:3)
- Unrepented sin and iniquity. “Listen! The Lord’s arm is not too weak to save you, nor is his ear too deaf to hear you call. It’s your sins that have cut you off from God. Because of your sins, he has turned away and will not listen anymore.” (Holy Bible, Isaiah 59:1-2)
- A stingy and ungenerous heart. “Those who shut their ears to the cries of the poor will be ignored in their own time of need.” (Proverbs 21:13)
- Idols that have taken the central place of devotion and worship. “Son of man, these leaders have set up idols[a] in their hearts. They have embraced things that will make them fall into sin. Why should I listen to their requests?” (Holy Bible, Ezekiel 14:3)
- An unforgiving spirit. “But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too.” (Holy Bible, Mark 11:25)
- Dishonoring your spouse. “In the same way, you husbands must give honor to your wives. Treat your wife with understanding as you live together. She may be weaker than you are, but she is your equal partner in God’s gift of new life. Treat her as you should so your prayers will not be hindered.” (Holy Bible, 1 Peter 3:7)
- Unbelief and doubt. “If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.” (Holy Bible, James 1:5-7)
If you are hindered by any of these issues, my hope is that you will seek to remove them in order to be fully connected to the Father in Heaven. If “unrepented sin” is one of your hindrances, I plead with you to seek Jesus Christ—He is the only One who can forgive sins and give you grace in God’s eyes. It is written, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. ‘He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.’” (Holy Bible, John 3:16-20)