I don't know how many times I have cried out and prayed to God, for what seems to be, the same thing over and over again. I often feel like a cat chasing it's tail.... a pointless activity with no end result.
It can be very frustrating and a perfect tool for Satan to use to convince you God is not on you side. He will taunt you with the thought that God does not hear your prayers and if He does, He simply doesn't care.
Well, anyone who knows Christ and knows His word even a little bit, knows full well that praying is NEVER a pointless activity. God desires and longs for communion with His children. It brings Him great joy to hear your voice calling out to Him.
However, (you knew this was coming!! LOL) There are definitely way that our prayers can be hindered. Though there is not necessarily a right or wrong way to pray.... there are surely obstacles that can stand in the way of your prayers being answered. Let us examine these, shall we?
1. SELFISH MOTIVES- God longs to give us the desires of our hearts, scripture tells us this, however, God can also see your heart and see your motives. For example, if I am asking for a truck load of money or to win the lottery, so I can squander the royalties away on selfishness and self indulgence, it is very likely God will not see the urgency in this prayer!
"You ask and you do not receive because you ask wrongly to spend it on your own passions." James 4:3
If I am praying for my spouse to change to suit all my needs, neglecting to acknowledge my own shortcomings, God may very likely see there is more work to be done in your heart before this prayer is answered.
You see, God is more concerned with your heart as you pray, than your spouses or co workers. If He sees your motives are selfish and totally self serving, He may very likely, put this prayer on the back burner, understanding He has some work to do in your heart.
2. UNFORGIVING HEARTS- Here is a perfect example; Imagine your son or daughter having a knock down, drag out fight with their sibling. They say horrible, mean things to them, possibly get physical and absolutely refuse to see the other person's side or apologize. THEN, they mozy on downstairs and pridefully stand there asking you for $20 to go to a movie and grab some food with a friend. How likely are you to want to hand over that money?
God is no different! He is going to desire for you to make peace with your enemy and extend and offer forgiveness.
"And whenever you stand praying, forgive,if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father who is in heaven, may also forgive your trespasses." Mark 11:25
Forgiveness is key to answered prayer. God will likely not see an urgency to give to your when you are unwilling to give forgiveness He commands, to others.
3. UNREPENTANT SIN- Okay, same analogy, little different story. Your child has been extremely disrespectful lately. Talking back, being sarcastic, ignoring your directives. BUT, there is a new pair of shoes they REALLY, REALLY want and truly feel they deserve!
REALLY? Ya, think you are going to go running to the shoe store to grace their feet with the desire of their heart!
"If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened." Psalm 66:18
Do not expect God to give to you when you are choosing to sin against Him, without repentance and with self entitlement in your heart.
Each day, each hour, we much examine our hearts and ask God to reveal any sin hidden even from our own eyes, then humbly ask for forgiveness. Your prayers will most certainly be hindered by unrepentant sin.
4. DOUBT- You know, when you pray for something, but the entire time, in the back of your mind your are telling yourself, its' pointless, God will never answer this prayer?
Well, believing this lie, will very likely make the prayer hindered. God desires for us to boldly come before Him in confidence and trust that He will answer the prayer in His perfect timing, His perfect way.
When you pray, thank God in advance for the work He will do in this prayer request, believing and trusting He is already on the case.
“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord” James 1:5-7
So, there ya have it! God longs and desires for us to come to Him with our needs, requests, desires and longings, however, He also desires to mold us into the loving and godly person He created us to be. Rewarding us for bad behavior will not achieve His desired goal for us.
It truly is no different than your desire for you own children. You are not going to reward bad behavior and if you do, you wind up with a greater mess to clean up.
I pray today, for self evaluation. If you have been praying and praying and feeling as though you have not received an answer or your prayers are hindered..... take some time to specifically pray for God to reveal any areas in which you need to repent, or ask for heart change. He will faithfully show you where He longs for you to do... when you seek Him with your WHOLE heart.
Peace and Blessings