Just as we have a hard time communicating with someone we have hurt, or who has hurt us, oftentimes we sense that our prayers our bouncing off the ceiling and God is far away. When God seems distant and we are out of fellowship with Him it appears that our prayers are being hindered – because they are! The problem in this case is NEVER with God – it’s ALWAYS with us. God is perfect, transcendent and immanent [near, operating within] in His presence and activity. Therefore, when we feel that God is distant – it’s very important that we evaluate every possible hindrance to our prayers. Here are several passages of Scripture that elucidate hindrances to our effective communication and fellowship with our Heavenly Father. Take the time to prayerfully consider and evaluate your walk with Him. Remember that God is quick to forgive and wants to draw near to you as you draw near to Him.
“Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.” – James 4:8a
(1) Carnal motives – “You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions” (James 4:3).
(2) Cherishing Sin – “If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened” (Psalm 66:18).
(3) Concealing Sin – “Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy” (Proverbs 28:13).
(4) Domestic Disputing – “Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered” (1 Peter 3:7).
(5) Hypocrisy – “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward” (Matthew 6:5).
(6) Ignoring God’s Law – “If one turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer is an abomination” (Proverbs 28:9).
(7) Pride – “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted” (Luke 18:10-14)
(8) Robbing God – “Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say, ‘How have we robbed you?’ In your tithes and contributions. You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me, the whole nation of you. Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need” (Malachi 3:8-10).
(9) Unbelief – “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind” (James 1:5-6).
(10) Withholding Forgiveness – “and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Matthew 6:12-15).