Yesterday I talked about, learning to pray by giving everything to God. That includes the ugliest parts of us.
Today I want to talk about something that prevents God from answering our prayers. Remember, He’s not a genie in a bottle granting arbitrary wishes. He is a holy and just God. He is a God that desires to give good gifts to His children (Mat. 7:11). So if He isn’t answering, He’s got a good reason. That reason may be you.
1. “God detests the prayers of a person who ignores the law” (Proverbs 28:9).
How often do you read your bible? Right now do you know where you bible is? Have you opened it with the purpose of being convicted? Have you read it, studied it, but neglected to do anything it says? Our attitude toward the scriptures have a direct correlation to the action God takes on our behalf. If you find your prayers seem like they are hitting the ceiling and bouncing back, start re-evaluating the attention you pay to God’s law. If you don’t value His written word it tells God you don’t really value Him.
2. “If I had not confessed the sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened” (Psalm 66:18).
Another prayer blocker is a sinful heart. I don’t believe for a moment that we have to come to God in a state of perfection. However, if you have some unresolved sin or lingering mistakes that you’ve never faced, that may be the reason He is choosing to not listen. You will know if you are in sin by taking care of #1, reading His word. If you find yourself living in disobedience to Him you are in sin and your prayers will keep coming back void.
3. “And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure” (James 4:3).
Motive is everything. We may be coming to God with virtually the same request but our heart distinguishes the motive. I have heard prayer request for healing. Some will say, “I haven’t had a chance to accomplish my dreams Lord, please heal me.” Yet others have said, “Lord, my life is in your hands. I ask for healing so that I can provide for my family.” Or, “Lord please give us this house, it is exactly what we want.” Compared to, “Lord, if you allow us to have this home we will dedicate it to you. We will be hospitable and use it to provide refuge from the world to weary travelers.” Check your motives before you pray. Are you praying for your own pleasure or are you making requests without regard for self.
So before you start blaming God, or doubting Him, check yourself first. Make sure you have the right attitude about His law, your heart is clean, and your motives are pure.
Tomorrow the discussion will be, “What Do You Do When God Says No?”