Obstacles to Prayer Answers
We’re in a message series about prayer called “Prayer Adventure.” Prayer becomes an adventure when you hear God speaking to you. And when you receive answers to your prayers. Prayer is not an adventure when you are simply asking God for things and nothing seems to happen. Jesus said in …
John 16:24 (ESV) Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.
Jesus promised in this verse that when we ask in His name, we will receive answers and we will be filled with joy. That sounds like an adventure to me.
Today, we’re talking about “Obstacles to Prayer Answers.” Obstacles or hindrances to prayer are things that cause our prayers to not be answered. So, if we can reduce the obstacles in our prayer lives, we can expect to see more prayers answered, which will bring us joy. Sounds like a good plan, doesn’t it?
Prayer’s First Requirement
The first requirement for a prayer to be answered is that the content of the prayer needs to be in accordance with God’s will. That really is what it means to pray in Jesus’ name. To pray in His name is to pray for the things that He wants, not just for what we want. Of course, if we want what He wants, then we have the best of all worlds.
1 John 5:14-15 (ESV) And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.
John makes it clear that God hears prayers that are prayed according to His will. And if God hears our prayers, we will receive the answers. The implication of this Scripture is that if we don’t pray in keeping with God’s will, He doesn’t even hear us. And if He doesn’t hear, there will be no answer. However, things aren’t quite so simple. There is more to getting prayers answered then simply praying the right content. You can pray the right content, but still not receive an answer from God.
Character Requirements for Prayer
The prayer obstacles that we’re going to be talking about today have to do with not the content of the prayer, but the character of the person praying. Let’s look at an illustration of this from parenting. Suppose a child comes to a parent and asks them for something that would be good for them. Let’s say a bicycle, for example. However, as a parent, you know that this child was in an ongoing conflict with a sibling. In fact, asking for the bicycle was an attempt to get back at the sibling. As a parent, you may feel it’s best not to answer the request for the bicycle. Not because there was anything wrong with the content of the request. But because of an issue with the child’s character. The same is often true with God and our prayer requests.
Today, we’re going to look at three main types of obstacles to prayer. There are others, but we’re going to look at the top three this morning. The first obstacle or hindrance to prayer is …
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