Some Roadblocks to Prayer
We have been thinking about prayer with the help of Steve Gaines’ little book, Pray Like It Matters. In our last post we discussed The Power of Praying Together. I mentioned two other outstanding chapters in his book. Today let’s think about some roadblocks (Gaines’ Chapter 5: What Hinders Our Prayers) to our praying so we can help our groups learn to pray as the Bible teaches us.
What can get in the way of our prayers? Avoid the traps in your praying.
What can block your prayers?
- Busyness – As Gaines points out, if Satan can make you busy, he doesn’t have to make you bad. Jesus taught us to seek the Kingdom of God first (Matt. 6:33). We must choose the first priority and let the distractions of busyness (and usually useless effort) fall away.
- Disobedience – Obedience interacts with our praying and makes our praying effective (1 John 3:22). Is there an area of disobedience in your life? Obedience does not happen by accident; we must choose obedience.
- Laziness – A Forbes article acknowledged how much time employees waste on the clock, a whopping 89% of employees in their study waste upwards to three hours a day. But 1 Peter 4:7 exhorts us to be earnest and diligent in our prayers. James 4:2 warns us that lazy praying does not entreat the hand of the Lord to act.
- Idolatry – We are too sophisticated to bow down to statues and images, but like the ancient Israelites, we have our ways of committing spiritual adultery against the Lord. Is there anything between you and God?
- Unforgiveness – Matthew 6:14-15 reminds us that we will not receive God’s forgiveness unless we forgive those who hurt us. We don’t earn His forgiveness by offering forgiveness to our offenders; we forgive our offenders because He forgave us.
- Unconfessed Sin – A believer cannot lose his or her salvation. Yet, treasuring sin and indulging in it interrupts our relationship with God (Ps. 66:18). If you have unconfessed sin, now is the time to confess it and have done with it.
- Family Strife – This roadblock may have escaped your notice. A good example is Peter’s warning in 1 Peter 3:7. Wrong treatment a husband directs toward his wife can hinder his prayers.
- Lack of Faith – James 1:5-8 tells us that one who lacks faith in his or her prayers should not expect to receive anything from God. Faith is always connected in some way to receiving answers to our petitions to God.
Do you ever feel as if your prayers just bounce off the ceiling? I have at times. Sometimes it was no fault of my own, but at other times, some of the roadblocks above were in the way. I imagine our small group members have felt the same as well. An old Jewish proverb says, “There is no roof overhead unless you build it.” So, give attention to clearing the roadblocks from your praying and help your group members do the same.
Scripture: Look back over this post. Ask God to identify any of these barriers that may be occurring as you pray. Look up the Scripture references provided and determine how you can increase your obedience to the Lord.
Dig Deeper: Read Pray Like It Matters by Steve Gaines. Please note that small group teaching plans for Pray Like It Matters are available from the publisher’s site.