Life often puts barriers in front of our hopes and plans, and we cannot see why we do not move forward with projects, opportunities, or dreams. I have considered the reasons that I have seemed stuck in life, have not received answers to prayers, have not been able to travel, or have not been able to speak as I once did. I have observed six kinds of obstacles. Let’s examine each kind of obstacle that could block each one of us from receiving an answer to our earnest and genuine prayers.
1) Sin: Isaiah 59:2 says “Your persistent wrongdoing has come between you and your God.” Deuteronomy 28:23 tells us “the heavens over your head shall be brass,” because of disobedience. Confession of sin is critical to moving forward.
2) Warfare: In Daniel 9-10, what I call the “Danielic Blockage,” reveals spiritual warfare. The Prince of Persia (a leader of the demons) had opposed Michael the Archangel in Michael’s delivering the answer to Daniel’s prayers. Daniel had to wait a while for the warfare to stop in order to receive God’s answer.
3) Placement: Sometimes the obstacle may seem like warfare, but God has a greater place for us to minister or a better answer to our prayers. What I call the “Pauline Blockage” (Acts 16:6-7) occurred when the Holy Spirit did not permit Paul and his friends to go to Asia. Instead, Paul and his team went to Philippi. Although Paul and Silas were obedient to go and preach in Macedonia, they experienced hardship, even being put in prison. This can sometimes make us wonder if we have heard the Lord correctly. However, while in prison in Philippi (16:25-30), Paul and Silas had doors of ministry open—not only to the prisoners—but to the entire region of Macedonia (Acts 16; 2 Cor 8:1-9:5).
4) Timing: The Lord may delay the timing. We may need to wait. Waiting presents one of the hardest parts of our ministries and plans. However, while waiting, we can listen for God’s voice and let Him change our hearts to agree with His timing.
5) Preparation: My former pastor Rob Zinn, at Immanuel Baptist Church in San Bernardino, once preached that “wait” means that the Lord is preparing the person (us), the place, and other people. The Lord knows what preparations need to happen for the best opportunities.
6) Protection: Moving forward too soon may put us in danger. So in some instances the Lord may block us to protect us.
While we wait for God to remove the blocks, we should pray and wait with anticipation and patience. Galatians 5:23 says we have all the patience we need, but we have to exercise it. 2 Peter 1:3-4 tells us that we have all we need for life and godliness and that through these things we can gain true knowledge of Him who has called us to glory and excellence. Let us wait patiently on the Lord for we know that as we wait, He will renew our strength (Isaiah 40:31).
B.H. Carroll has formed The Carroll Prayer Network. Recently B.H. Carroll President, Dr. Gene Wilkes wrote “Our number one goal in this academic year is to ‘make prayer truly the top priority by recruiting, tracking and engaging with prayer partners.’ I am convinced that God answers prayers—specific prayers of his people. I also believe that prayer is our most valued resource.” We invite you to join the Carroll Prayer Network. You will receive regular prayer requests, answered prayers, and stories of God’s work in the lives of the Carroll Family…and you will be interceding on behalf of your brothers and sisters in Christ here and around the world.