To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices to Me [unless they are the offering of the heart]? says the Lord. I have had enough of the burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fed beasts [without obedience]; and I do not delight in the blood of bulls or of lambs or of he-goats [without righteousness]. When you come to appear before Me, who requires of you that your [unholy feet] trample My courts? Bring no more offerings of vanity (emptiness, falsity, vainglory, and futility); [your hollow offering of] incense is an abomination to Me; the New Moons and Sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot endure—[it is] iniquity and profanation, even the solemn meeting. Your New Moon festivals and your [hypocritical] appointed feasts My soul hates. They are an oppressive burden to Me; I am weary of bearing them. And when you spread forth your hands [in prayer, imploring help], I will hide My eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, I will not hear... Isaiah 1:11-15
In this chapter from which these words are taken we have God’s accusation against His own people’s Prayers and Sacrifices... God is both accuser and judge here. The external of their religion was perfect, but it was a religion without experience; it was the shell without the seed. So, in the absence of a heartbeat, this form of religion became an abomination in the sight of God.
Writing with caution and humility I put forth to you this statement, that I believe there are Prayers that hinder Prayer, there are Prayers that Quench the Spirit, that there are prayers that carry within themselves the seed of their own defeat; that there are prayers that have a form of godliness, but in their very exclamation they deny the Power thereof. There is a ritualism that has no genuine experience in the NEW life. These prayers therefore that are a mere empty form become in fact a hindrance rather than a help in the life of the Spirit in us.
Prayer that is Formal never Prevails…. A formal prayer is nothing more than a mental exercise. It may in fact be nothing more than the product of a carnal mind which of itself is enmity, hostility against God, and therefore has no prevailing power, and more alarmingly has no defensive power against the principalities and powers and the rulers of this world’s present darkness. We may under these carnal conditions pray for things that are in fact contrary to God’s Will and
That which is born of The Spirit is spirit, that which is born of the flesh is flesh; and the flesh has within it the seed of corruption. So, let’s analyze our prayers, let’s question the motive of our prayer, let’s pray for our prayers, so that our prayers may be sanctified and separated completely from all that which is carnal or natural, from all that which is not of God; so that we may worship Him in spirit and in truth.
Prayer is too precious to be entrusted to our carnal minds. We must be led by The Spirit in prayer, we must pray His will not our wants…
Selfish Motives can be an obstruction to our prayers… We must ask only for things that are consistent with the character and nature of God. We must ask for things that are for the spiritual benefit of ourselves or for the person on whose behalf we pray. God will not answer our self-centered, self-serving prayers. “You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, (you ask with wrong purpose and evil, selfish motives) to spend it on your passions.” James 4:3
Rejecting the Truth of scripture can be an obstruction to our prayers… If we are not spending time immersing ourselves in Scripture and are not obeying what we have already learned, we should not expect God to answer our prayers. Our defiance in ignoring the life-giving Words of the Bible may hinder us from having our prayers answered. Solomon goes so far as to suggest that prayers made from such a hardened heart are an abomination to God. “He who turns away his ear from hearing the law [of God and man], even his prayer is an abomination, hateful
and revolting [to God].” Proverbs 28:9
Family Disharmony can be an obstruction to our prayers… It is God’s will that families live together in peace and harmony. It is, of course, impossible for us to live in perfect peace, but God demands that we maintain close relationships and that we seek harmony in our family relationships. When discord does exist, especially in the relationship of a husband to his wife, our prayers may very well be hindered. The apostle Peter, a married man himself, exhorted husbands to live with their wives in an understanding way, being sensitive to their needs, “In the
same way you married men should live considerately with [your wives], with an intelligent recognition [of the marriage relation], honoring the woman as [physically] the weaker, but [realizing that you] are joint heirs of the grace (God’s unmerited favor) of life, in order that your prayers may not be hindered and cut off. [Otherwise you cannot pray effectively.]” 1 Peter 3:7
Unacknowledged Sin can be an obstruction to our prayers… “If I regard (cherish) iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me” Psalm 66:18. Before we conclude that God has simply not heard or prayers or that it is not His will to give us what we ask, we need to examine our hearts to see if unconfessed sin, actions, attitudes, or personal attributes in our lives that we have refused to confess before God stand as a barrier between ourselves and God.
A Lack of Confidence can be an obstruction to our prayers… God wants us to have confidence in His ability and willingness to provide what is necessary for us to attain to godliness. He wants us to believe that He can and will do what He says. Thus when we doubt—when we ask expecting rejection and when we ask almost hoping for rejection—we will hinder our prayers. “Only it must be in faith that he asks with no wavering (no hesitating, no doubting). For the one who wavers (hesitates, doubts) is like the billowing surge out at sea that is blown hither and thither and tossed by the wind. For truly, let not such a person imagine that he will receive anything [he asks for] from the Lord..” James 1:6-7
We “Never Asked” can be an obstruction to our prayers…Perhaps the greatest obstruction to answered prayer is the prayer we never asked. “You do not have, because you do not ask…” James 4:2
Whatever your “Enemy” is to your Prayer life Kill it, Conquer it, Crush it…
Let’s not let anything we do or say obstruct our prayers, the lost need us to pray with power and authority…
Let’s Pray BIG!