Bible Studies & Devotionals

From Olive Branch Ministries

By Mark and Tinsley Baker

Get all the Soul Foods online @: http://www.olivebranchministries.us

Are You Praying Effectively? Part 3

The last few lessons we have been learning about prayer, how to pray and the types of prayer. This week we are learning about hindered or unanswered prayer.

What hinders your prayer?

We must first realize that God does not hear the prayer of a sinner. The only prayer from a sinner he hears is the prayer of salvation.

John 9:31 "Now we know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does His will, He hears him.

This may seem hard on God's part but you have to remember that God restored us to fellowship with Him through the death and resurrection of His son Jesus. The acceptance of this gift and being born again is what gives you the right to pray to God as a child asking for your rights. You are born again when you accept Christ and you become a new creature and joint heirs with Christ. Then and only then do you have the right to go to the Father in prayer for your needs.

There are specific reasons Father God does not hear our prayer, let's look at each of them.

-- Living Bible

Psalms 66:17-19 For I cried to him for help, with praises ready on my tongue. He would not have listened if I had not confessed my sins. But he listened! He heard my prayer! He paid attention to it!

Isaiah 59:1-2 Behold, the Lord's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; nor His ear heavy, that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear.

God does not hear our prayers if we come before him with unforgiveness in our heart. we are to forgive as we are forgiven.

-- Revised Standard

Luke 6:37 "Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven;

We are taught in the Lords prayer-- forgive our debts as we forgive our debtors. (Mt. 6:12)

When we pray we need to ask the Father God to forgive our sins, both those we know about and those we have committed unintentionally. Intentionally and unintentionally.

Too many times we come to God when we need answers, but we concentrate on our needs and not on our relationship with Him. We are to be holy even as He is holy. If you need something in prayer be sure your heart is clean when you go to the throne of grace!

Another reason our prayers may not be heard is unforgiveness toward others. Just as we learned before, we are to forgive others as we have been forgiven. If someone hurts you intentionally or unintentionally, then you need to forgive them. Unforgiveness will block our prayers, and must be dealt with before we can receive the answer to our prayer.

How can you listen to God if you are letting anger, resentment, and unforgiveness control your thoughts?

However, this also applies to our own actions, if you have done something that has offended someone either intentionally or unintentionally, you need to go to your brother or sister and ask forgiveness. This is important for several reasons, you cleanse your heart and actions, and you help them receive forgiveness also, so that both are restored in fellowship.

Fellowship with one another as well as fellowship with the Father, so that your prayers are heard.

Matthew 5:23-24 "Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, "leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.

James 5:16 Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.

Donít let unforgiveness and strife stand between you and God!

We are to love one another, this is the commandment that Jesus gave us. If you have unforgiveness in your heart, or have offended your brother, then you are not walking in love. Therefor you are not pleasing to God.

Matthew 18:21-22 Then Peter came to Him and said, "Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?'' Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven. In other words, you are not keeping count.

Another reason our prayers are not heard is if we are not praying according to God's will, or in line with His Word. Remember God's Word is His will!

-- Living Bible

Colossians 1:9 So ever since we first heard about you we have kept on praying and asking God to help you understand what he wants you to do; asking him to make you wise about spiritual things;

As we have learned before, we must study God's Word, learn it and know it intimately.

When we know His Word, we know his plan for us, and we can remind Him while in prayer of His promises, and He will keep them. God is faithful and He does not lie! He will keep His promises always, but we must stay in a place where we can receive them.

Everything we need, all of life's questions, have answers in God's Word. Learn His promises, lean on Him, and remind Him of His promises and He will hear and answer them.

Jeremiah 1:12 Then said the Lord unto me, Thou hast well seen: for I will hasten my word to perform it.

One of the things we need to realize is that we should not pray selfishly. Even if you know God's Word and remind Him of it, if you are praying with the wrong attitude, He will not hear it.

-- Living Bible

James 4:2-3 You want what you don't have, so you kill to get it. You long for what others have, and can't afford it, so you start a fight to take it away from them. And yet the reason you don't have what you want is that you don't ask God for it. And even when you do ask you don't get it because your whole aim is wrong--you want only what will give you pleasure.

We need to examine our hearts! Are we asking God for something we want or need? Are we asking out of selfish reasons, or are we asking because it will make us look better in someone else's eyes, and make us seem more important? Are we asking for something we really want out of selfish motives, and not out of pure motives? Are we demanding an answer in our time and not God's time? Are we asking for worldly reasons and goals and not God's reasons and goals? Are we asking for something that will glorify us and not God?

-- Simple English

Galatians 6:7 Don't be fooled! You cannot mock God. A person harvests only the things which he plants.

Finally are we praying in faith? When we pray we need to believe God hears us and not just hope He does.

Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

James 1:6-7 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord;

Believe God for the answers, He will give them to you. Donít undo your prayers with doubt. After praying, many people undo their prayer by speaking doubt and unbelief. Speaking doubt and unbelief will undo your prayers. After you pray, keep your confession in line with God's Word. Don't say things like, I wonder if God heard me? God never answers my prayers. This glorifies the devil not God, and opens the door for the enemy to work and shuts the door for God to work. If your prayers are not answered, this is one of the main reasons why! We must keep our words in line with God's words. If we are constantly talking doubt and unbelief, then we are meditating on the things of the enemy and not of God.

After you have prayed, every time you think of the need, you need to thank God and praise Him for the answer.

Pray with forgiveness in your heart, asking God to forgive you of your sins.

Pray and forgive others. Forgive others as Father God has forgiven you.

Pray for the forgiveness of other that you may have offended, and make it right with them and God.

Pray according to His Word.

Pray in faith.

Prayer

Father God, Thank You for Your son Jesus, who gave everything for me. Thank You for His redemption. Thank you for my new life in Christ. Thank you for sending the Holy Spirit who will lead me and guide me unto all truth, so that I may pray according to it. Father forgive me for my sins, intentional and unintentional. I purpose in my heart to walk in love toward others, and will forgive others that my prayers will not be hindered. Father I believe Your Word, and believe You will hear my prayer and meet my needs. Thank you for teaching me to pray believing that I have the answers, in Jesus name I pray. Amen