Obstacles to Answered Prayer
Listen! The Lord’s arm is not too weak to save you, nor is his ear too deaf to hear you call. It’s your sins that have cut you off from God. Because of your sins, he has turned away and will not listen anymore. —Isaiah 59:1–2
One of the reasons our prayers may not be answered is because of unconfessed sin in our lives. Nothing will bring a prayer life to a halt faster than unconfessed sin. Psalm 66:18 says, “If I had not confessed the sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.” And Isaiah tells us, “Listen! The Lord’s arm is not too weak to save you, nor is his ear too deaf to hear you call. It’s your sins that have cut you off from God. Because of your sins, he has turned away and will not listen anymore” (59:1–2).
The problems is that we don’t want to call sin what it is anymore. We will call it a weakness or a mistake or a shortcoming or a sickness. But why don’t we call it what it is—a sin? And why don’t we admit it is there? Why don’t we ask God to forgive us as we turn from it? If we will not deal with our sins, God will not hear our prayers.
Idolatry, or putting something in our lives into a place of prominence over God himself, can also be a hindrance to prayer. In Ezekiel 14:3, God said, “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?”
Is there someone or something that is more important to you than God himself? Anyone or anything that becomes more important to you than God can potentially become your idol. Any object, idea, philosophy, habit, occupation, or sport that has your primary concern and loyalty—or to any degree, decreases your trust and loyalty to God—could potentially become an idol. And it could stop your prayers from being answered.
Copyright © 2016 by Harvest Ministries. All rights reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996, 2004. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.
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3:16 – The Numbers of Hope
The entire Bible can be summarized in one sentence: John 3:16. So much power, so much doctrine, so much hope packed into one verse. Spend some time unpacking it with Max Lucado’s 3:16 – The Numbers of Hope.
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