“These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:” – 1 John 5:13-14
Ever wonder why sometimes your prayers have so much power and sometimes they seem to do nothing at all? In scripture there are several things clearly listed as instant nullifiers of your prayers. These things will cause God not to even hear your prayers much less answer them. What are these prayer killers you might ask?
The first is sin. This might seem like an obvious one but since we don’t always see our own guilt it can sometimes be easy to miss. If it seems that your prayers are not being heard, try repenting. Seek God humbly and ask Him if there is anything displeasing in you, your actions, or your character that may be separating Him from you. A Holy God will not hearken to the voice of an unholy man/woman except that voice come in humble repentance.
“Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.” – Isaiah 59:1-2
The next prayer killer on our list is unforgiveness. In Matthew 18:21-35, Jesus tells us a parable of a man who is forgiven his debts by his master. However, when a fellow servant becomes indebted to him he does not forgive him as he was forgiven. Therefore, the master revokes his forgiveness and punishes him all the more harshly, making it very clear that if you do not forgive others when they wrong you then God will not forgive you for wronging Him. Jesus again reiterates this point in the “Our Father” when He prays, “forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us“.
“For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” – Matthew 6:14-15
The third prayer killer on our list is a bit less known or thought about. It’s disunity in the family between the husband and the wife. The marriage of a man and woman represents the marriage of Christ to the Church. If that holy representation is desecrated or falls into disarray then God will have no part in it until all guilty parties humble themselves and repent under the mighty hand of God. This applies to both but falls more heavily on the husband because he is the spiritual priest of the family and the priest must strive to resemble Christ in both selflessness and sacrifice toward his bride. He must love, honor, protect, and provide for her even as Christ does for the church being the physically weaker vessel. Yet not dominate over her spiritually realizing that they are equal heirs of God’s grace (favor and power), even as we as the bride of Christ are joint heirs with Christ of God’s grace, power, and authority as stated in Romans 8:17. Failing to protect the weaker among you, especially those of your own household, or choosing to oppress or dominate over them physically or spiritually will cause God to turn a def ear to your prayers.
“Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.” – 1 Peter 3:7
Now assuming that I am not actively sinning, I am holding no unforgiveness or bitterness toward anyone, and I am honoring the weak amongst me and not seeking or forcing preeminence. I seem to be doing everything right but my prayers are not as effective as I see other peoples prayers being and not as effective as my own prayers sometimes are. What’s the difference?
What and how you pray matters! All too often we simply pray for what we want. We beg, and cry, and even sometimes command God to bring our will to pass. That’s not how real prayer works. True prayer is never selfish or self willed, but humble and exists for the sole purpose of asking God to help us and others attain to His will, not our own. Even Jesus himself prayed those famous words, “not my will but thy will be done“.
“And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:” – 1 John 5:14
The truth is that the world has it backwards. Too often when we pray we ask for things that we want according to our own will. The humble truth of the matter is that God is not here to serve us, we are here to serve Him. He is not a tooth fairy to ask or demand our wishes to. He is our Lord and King! We should start speaking to Him as such in humble reverence, seeking His will, instruction, and correction. We must stop throwing orders at Him and start asking Him to give us “His” orders that we can start being effective in the fight. When you learn how to talk “to” God (rather then talking “at” Him), you will be surprised at how much He has to tell you, and how blessed you will be by His wisdom, council, and generosity.
“Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.” – James 4:3
“But without faith (trust) it is impossible to please God: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is (God), and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him (and His will).” – Hebrews 11:6