Hindrances to a Proper Prayer Life
Statistics show that many Christians do not pray as much as God encourages through His word. Prayer is such a vital part of the life of a Christian; yet, because it takes time and effort, many put very little forth to develop a necessary prayer life. What a shame, knowing that God actually encourages us to pray:
Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him? (Matt. 7:7-11).
Notice some hindrances to a proper prayer life.
Note the hindrance of a real relationship. Under the Old Testament, humanity addressed God with such terms as “Almighty God,” “Jehovah,” and other terms relating to His role of Creator and God. However, when Christ taught His disciples to pray, He informed them that through the new covenant and because of God’s completion of redemption, humanity can form a new relationship with him as “Our Father, which art in heaven” (Matt. 6:9). God took the analogy of being His children to a completely higher level. Note the personal pronoun—He is not simply to be a God of the world; rather, He is inviting us to develop a personal relationship with Him as “our Father.” Without a real and sustaining relationship developed through love, trust and communication, we can definitely hinder our prayers.
Note the hindrance of a real faith. In the aforementioned request to pray by Jesus in Matthew 7, the verbs “ask…seek” and “knock” are petitions that require faith. James would offer his commentary on the subject when he wrote, “…ye have not, because ye ask not” (James 4:2). In his first chapter, he already discussed the need for faith in our prayers:
If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God…and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. (James 1:5-7)
One cannot pray without faith—it will do absolutely no good whatsoever. Therefore, one must develop a daily lifestyle of faith to go with his prayer life so that he will not hinder his prayers.
Note the hindrance of real perseverance. In the great chapter on prayer of Luke 18, the text begins with Jesus teaching through a parable “…that men ought always to pray, and not to faint” (Luke 18:1). He concluded His parable with the principle: “And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?” (Luke 18:7). Note the allusion to the forbearance and patience of God to the perseverant pleas of His faithful. Many times, we are tempted to pray for something once, and expecting an immediate answer, we quit and refuse to persevere in our prayers. Faithful children never stop praying for righteous things!
Any one of these three can hinder our prayer life. May we all strive daily to improve our prayer life in our relationship with our Heavenly Father through a deep faith in Him expressed in perseverance.