Prayer is Your Place of Safety (Part 14)
May 31, 2020
Prayer is Your Place of Safety (Part 14):
Seven Hindrances to Answered Prayer (part 1)
Since the first of the year, I have been teaching a series on prayer.
I took a few Sundays to address the Corona crisis, since we have been unable to meet together.
You never live past your prayer life…
In this series, we are addressing the importance of prayer in 2020, and how your prayer life can become the most important part of your day.
Week 1, we saw that Jesus lived out of His prayer life, and that He spent a lot of time praying before ministry.
Weeks 2 through 4, we talked about why we must pray.
Then, we started looking at 8 Different Kinds of Prayer
Ephesians 6:18 (NIV)
And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.
1. The prayer of faith – (primarily a prayer for yourself)
2. The prayer of consecration (relinquishing personal control)
3. The prayer of supplication (prayer for others)
4. The prayer of intercession (taking another’s place)
5. The prayer of agreement (when your faith needs a boost)
6. The prayer of worship (focussing on God)
7. United praying (tremendous power)
8. Praying in the spirit (beyond your own knowledge)
Today: Hindrances to prayer
The premise is that God answers our prayers! This is a fundamental promise from God.
Matthew 21:22 (NKJV)
And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.
Mark 11:24 (NKJV)
Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.
John 15:7 (NKJV)
If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.
John 16:23-24 (NKJV)
And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you. (24) Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.
1 John 3:22 (NKJV)
And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.
1 John 5:14-15 (NKJV)
Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. (15) And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.
If I am praying and don’t get results, I find out why! See if there is something that may be hindering your prayers from being answered.
I have a shortwave radio with a sideband on it, and you can get broadcasts from all over the world not found on the internet. But, you have to tune in to the frequency to hear it clearly. With your prayer life, you sometimes must “tune in” and get rid of distractions to receive an answer.
By nature I am a problem-solver. If something is not working as designed, I go through a process of elimination to see what is keeping a device from working.
Sometimes you need to follow that same logic in getting your prayers answered.
Here are seven hindrances to answered prayer.
1. Selfish purposes in prayer
James 4:3 (NKJV)
You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.
Asking purely from selfish motives and personal profit alone can hinder answered prayer.
Put yourself last, and others 1st in prayer.
Kenneth Hagin…prophecy to church…pray for other churches 1st…
Proper motives for prayer should be that God be glorified in the answer.
Job 42:10 (NKJV)
And the Lord restored Job’s losses when he prayed for his friends. Indeed the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before.
A church can pray for revival so that the church can grow – selfish motive!
A wife can pray for the salvation of her husband so that she can get relief – selfish motive!
Isaiah 59:1-4 (NLT)
Listen! The Lord’s arm is not too weak to save you, nor is His ear too deaf to hear you call. (2) It’s your sins that have cut you off from God. Because of your sins, He has turned away and will not listen anymore. (3) Your hands are the hands of murderers, and your fingers are filthy with sin. Your lips are full of lies, and your mouth spews corruption. (4) No one cares about being fair and honest. The people’s lawsuits are based on lies. They conceive evil deeds and then give birth to sin.
Psalms 66:18-20 (NKJV)
If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear. (19) But certainly God has heard me; He has attended to the voice of my prayer. (20) Blessed be God, Who has not turned away my prayer, nor His mercy from me!
Unconfessed sin breaks our fellowship with God.
1 John 1:8 – 2:2 (TPT)
If we boast that we have no sin, we’re only fooling ourselves and are strangers to the truth. (9) But if we freely admit our sins when His light uncovers them, He will be faithful to forgive us every time. God is just to forgive us our sins because of Christ, and He will continue to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (10) If we claim that we’re not guilty of sin when God uncovers it with His light, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us. (2:1) You are my dear children, and I write these things to you so that you won’t sin. But if anyone does sin, we continually have a forgiving Redeemer who is face-to-face with the Father: Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. (2:2) He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.
Deal with sin immediately. Don’t allow it to linger in your life. It will produce a cloud of condemnation.
1 John 3:20-22 (NKJV)
For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things. (21) Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God. (22) And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.
1 John 3:20-22 (TPT)
Whenever our hearts make us feel guilty and remind us of our failures, we know that God is much greater and more merciful than our conscience, and He knows everything there is to know about us. (21) My delightfully loved friends, when our hearts don’t condemn us, we have a bold freedom to speak face-to-face with God. (22) And whatever we ask of Him we receive, because we keep His commands. And by our beautiful intentions we continue to do what brings pleasure to Him.
1 Corinthians 11:31 – For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. But when we are judged we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned by the world.
Pray Psalm 139:23-24 –
Psalms 139:23-24 (TPT)
God, I invite Your searching gaze into my heart. Examine me through and through; find out everything that may be hidden within me. Put me to the test and sift through all my anxious cares. (24) See if there is any path of pain I’m walking on, and lead me back to Your glorious, everlasting ways — the path that brings me back to You.
3. Idolatry in the Heart
Son of man, these men have set up idols in their hearts, and put before them that which causes them to stumble into iniquity. Should I let myself be inquired of at all by them?
Ezekiel 14:1-6 (NLT)
Then some of the leaders of Israel visited me, and while they were sitting with me, (2) this message came to me from the Lord: (3) “Son of man, these leaders have set up idols in their hearts. They have embraced things that will make them fall into sin. Why should I listen to their requests? (4) Tell them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: The people of Israel have set up idols in their hearts and fallen into sin, and then they go to a prophet asking for a message. So I, the Lord, will give them the kind of answer their great idolatry deserves. (5) I will do this to capture the minds and hearts of all my people who have turned from me to worship their detestable idols.’ (6) “Therefore, tell the people of Israel, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Repent and turn away from your idols, and stop all your detestable sins.’”
An extravagant admiration of the heart; Anything that is the supreme object of our affection; Any object of ardent or excessive admiration or affection; Meeting a legitimate need in an illegitimate way.
Smith Wigglesworth: That which cools my affection towards God.
Jeremiah 29:13 (NKJV)
And you will seek me and find me when you search for me with all your heart.
Potential idols: Spouse, children, money, job, hobbies, pleasure, entertainment, reputation, things.
Abraham had made an idol out of his son. God came for his idol!
Genesis 22:1-18 (NLT)
Some time later, God tested Abraham’s faith. “Abraham!” God called. “Yes,” he replied. “Here I am.” (2) “Take your son, your only son—yes, Isaac, whom you love so much — and go to the land of Moriah. Go and sacrifice him as a burnt offering on one of the mountains, which I will show you.” (3) The next morning Abraham got up early. He saddled his donkey and took two of his servants with him, along with his son, Isaac. Then he chopped wood for a fire for a burnt offering and set out for the place God had told him about. (4) On the third day of their journey, Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. (5) “Stay here with the donkey,” Abraham told the servants. “The boy and I will travel a little farther. We will worship there, and then we will come right back.” (6) So Abraham placed the wood for the burnt offering on Isaac’s shoulders, while he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them walked on together, (7) Isaac turned to Abraham and said, “Father?” “Yes, my son?” Abraham replied. “We have the fire and the wood,” the boy said, “but where is the sheep for the burnt offering?” (8) “God will provide a sheep for the burnt offering, my son,” Abraham answered. And they both walked on together. (9) When they arrived at the place where God had told him to go, Abraham built an altar and arranged the wood on it. Then he tied his son, Isaac, and laid him on the altar on top of the wood. (10) And Abraham picked up the knife to kill his son as a sacrifice. (11) At that moment the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!” “Yes,” Abraham replied. “Here I am!” (12) “Don’t lay a hand on the boy!” the angel said. “Do not hurt him in any way, for now I know that you truly fear God. You have not withheld from me even your son, your only son.” (13) Then Abraham looked up and saw a ram caught by its horns in a thicket. So he took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering in place of his son. (14) Abraham named the place Yahweh-Yireh (which means “the Lord will provide”). To this day, people still use that name as a proverb: “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.” (15) Then the angel of the Lord called again to Abraham from heaven. (16) “This is what the Lord says: Because you have obeyed me and have not withheld even your son, your only son, I swear by my own name that (17) I will certainly bless you. I will multiply your descendants beyond number, like the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will conquer the cities of their enemies. (18) And through your descendants all the nations of the earth will be blessed—all because you have obeyed me.”
Personal example – 30 years ago as I was praying for finances, I heard the word “paint” from the Lord. God wanted me to start a business painting houses. I didn’t want to do it. In me starting this business, God was seeking to root out an idol in my life, ministry. Ministry had become my idol. I got my self-worth from doing ministry things and not from the Lord. Personal pride was an idol, and this business cut me to the core with respect to personal pride!
- Prayer is a heart to heart experience with God. What am I doing to keep my heart honest and open to God who sees and knows all?
- Is there any unconfessed sin in my life?
- What idols do I need to remove from my life?
- Am I expecting God to answer my prayers, or, am I just using prayer as a religious exercise to comfort my conscience?