February 7, 2014
By Skip Heitzig
Back in the 1940s, the Navy invented the first computer. It was huge; it filled an entire room, with thousands of mechanical devices making connections. When it suddenly broke down, they searched and searched for the problem. Finally, deep inside the computer, they found a moth was stuck between two contacts. They pulled the moth out, cleaned up the contacts, and it worked again. That’s where we get the expression of “a bug in the system.”
I want to talk about some possible “bugs” in your system of communication with God. By that I mean some barriers or hindrances to prayer, things that make it seem like your prayers are bouncing off the ceiling. Here are three of them.
The first is unconfessed sin. David said, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear” (Psalm 66:18). God does not demand that we are sinless before He answers prayer, but deliberate sin without confession and repentance breaks fellowship with Him. Isaiah wrote, “Your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden His face from you so that He will not hear” (Isaiah 59:2).
God’s remedy? “Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes. Cease to do evil” (Isaiah 1:16). In Jesus’ parable about the Pharisee and the tax collector in Luke 18, it was the tax collector who humbly prayed, “God be merciful to me a sinner,” and Jesus said he was the one who was justified.
The second barrier is unforgiveness in your heart. God has forgiven us, and we must forgive others. Ephesians 4:31-32 says, “Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another just as God in Christ forgave you.”
The parable of the unforgiving servant in Matthew 18:21-35 teaches that to not forgive is to be a hypocrite, it hurts you, and it hinders your communication with God.
And the third barrier is selfishness in your prayers. James 4:3, “You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your own pleasures.” You’re asking amiss when you pray for something for your own benefit only, not for the glory of God.
We serve a heavenly Father who will not always give us what we ask, because He knows what we need. When we ask for something, He might say no because it would ruin us or others.
When there are barriers in your prayer, “bugs” that disturb your communication with God, remove them. If there is unconfessed sin, confess it and repent. If you have an unforgiving heart, let go of your grudge; it’ll eat you up. If you’re praying selfishly, ask God to realign your thoughts to build up His kingdom, not your own.
“The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them” (Psalm 34:17), and we are called righteous by God because of the blood of Jesus. So keep those lines of communication open!
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