Question: WHAT ARE THE HINDERANCES TO PRAYER?
Study References: Psalm 66:18, Acts 17:30, James 4:3, Matt. 5:23-24, James 4:6
Prayer is important for many reasons. But prayer can be hindered. So that your prayers might be as affective as possible, a discussion of the hindrances of prayer is necessary.
Sin hinders prayer. "If I regard wickedness in my heart, the Lord will not hear," (Psalm 66:18). We all sin, but do you have unconfessed and unrepented sin in your life? If so, confess your sin, repent from it as you are commanded in Acts 17:30, and continue in prayer.
Selfishness hinders prayer. "You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures" (James 4:3). Examine yourself. Make sure your prayers are not motivated by selfish desires. If you find that selfishness is a factor then confess it and repent.
Doubt hinders prayer. "But let him ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea driven and tossed by the wind," (James 1:6). We all doubt. We all fail. But when you doubt be reminded of the man who said to Jesus, "Lord I believe, help my unbelief" (Mark 9:24). He believed and yet doubted and Jesus granted his request. Remember that God has given a measure of faith to every man (Rom. 12:3). Trust God, even when you have doubts. It does not matter necessarily how much faith you have as much as who your faith is in. Put what faith you have in Jesus. Trust Him. Watch Him being faithful to you.
Pride hinders prayer. Jesus spoke of the Pharisee and the tax-collector who were both praying. The Pharisee boasted about himself while the tax-collector asked for mercy from God. Jesus said in Luke 18:14 regarding the tax-collector, "I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other." Jesus shows us that pride is sin and that it hinders prayer (James 4:6). Have the same attitude that Jesus had in heaven in His full glory as He had on Earth as a man. He was humble. If you are prideful, confess it as sin, repent, and continue in humility.