“Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us” (1 John 5:14). It is a blessing to have the assurance that God hears our prayers. But the Bible also tells us that it is possible for our prayers to be hindered. What are some reasons prayers can be hindered?
“Likewise you husbands, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered” (1 Peter 3:7). “Hindered” carries the idea of “cutting off.” Men, we must dwell with our wives with understanding and give honor to our wives, giving them the greater care. If we fail to do this, our prayers will be hindered.
“For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Matthew 6:14-15). Our forgiveness, which for the Christian is obtained through repentance and confession of sins to the Father, is contingent upon our forgiving others. Think about it – you repent and confess your own sin to God, asking Him for forgiveness, but you yourself won’t forgive another. The result? Your pleading for forgiveness will be hindered – cut off. Let us therefore rid ourselves of the sin of un-forgiveness by forgiving others and praying as Jesus taught us, “And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors” (Matthew 6:12).
“For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayers; but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil” (1 Peter 3:12). God hears the prayers of the righteous, and “he who practices righteousness is righteous” (1 John 3:7). Then what about those who do not practice righteousness, who “walk in darkness…and do not practice the truth” (1 John 1:6)? They are practicing evil, and the Lord’s face is against them. When Christians persist in sin, their prayers will be hindered.
“You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures. Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God” (James 4:3-4)? Selfish and unholy motives in our prayers are a hindrance to receiving what we request from God. James describes such people as spiritual adulterers – they are married to Christ but desire to be joined to the unholy ways of the world. Unrighteous motives will hinder our prayers.
Let us be “continuing steadfastly in prayer” (Romans 12:12) and also be careful to shun those things which would cause our prayers to be hindered.