Let me start out by asking you the question “Does God answer your prayers?” What would you say? Does He answer all the time, usually, some of the time or never? We all would like God to answer our prayers all the time, but that doesn’t happen for many us. Why not?
Unanswered prayer is a big topic and there are many reasons for unanswered prayer. One of the reasons for unanswered prayer is that the content of the prayer is not right. What you are praying for is not in line with God’s will.
However, even if your prayer is in line with God’s will, you may not get an answer. Today, I’m going to look at one of the big reasons why even a good prayer will not get answered. It’s a reason that I believe most believers are not aware of and so is a major cause of unanswered prayer.
My message today is entitled “Hindrances to Prayer.” Let me begin by reminding you that prayer is communication with God. Anything that hinders that communication with God may lead to unanswered prayer. So what could hinder your communication with God?
Psalms 66:18 (NIV) If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened;
The Psalmist here says that if someone cherishes sin in the heart, God does not listen to their prayers. If God does not listen to your prayers, you certainly are not going to get an answer. What does it mean to cherish sin in your heart? Another translation of the verse says
Psalms 66:18 (NLT) If I had not confessed the sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.
To cherish sin in your heart is to love your sin more than God. To cherish sin in your heart is to love that sin so much that you don’t want to confess it to God and stop doing it. Might be a big sin, might be a little sin in your own mind, but if you hang on to it, God will not listen to your prayers and they won’t be answered.
Disobedience or sin in one area of your life, can short circuit an answer to prayer in another area of your life. Today, we’re going to look at how disobedience or obedience affects our lives and prayers. I’m going to look at a story from the life of David, one of the kings of Israel in the Old Testament. I’d encourage you to read the whole story this week, which is found in 2 Samuel 11-12.
The story begins with David taking it easy in the palace while his army was out fighting an intense battle. One day David was walking around on the palace roof and his eyes wandered down to a beautiful married woman bathing on her rooftop. David had her brought to the palace, committed adultery with her and she became pregnant. The Bible calls that sin. So let’s see what we can learn from what happened in David’s life.
Listen to my August 15, 2010 message “Hindrances to Prayer.”