Hindrances to Prayer

James 4:1-10 What starts wars and fights among you? Is it not because you want many things and are fighting to have them? You want something you do not have, so you kill. You want something but cannot get it, so you fight for it. You do not get things because you do not ask for them. Or if you do ask, you do not receive because your reasons for asking are wrong. You want these things only to please yourselves.

You are as wives and husbands who are not faithful in marriage and do sex sins. Do you not know that to love the sinful things of the world and to be a friend to them is to be against God? Yes, I say it again, if you are a friend of the world, you are against God. Do you think the scriptures mean nothing when they said, “The Holy Spirit Whom God has given to live in us has a strong desire for us to be faithful to Him”?

But He gives us more grace. For the scriptures say, “God works against the proud but gives grace to those who have no pride.” So give yourselves to God. Stand against the devil and he will run away from you. Come close to God and He will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners. Clean up your hearts, you who want to follow the sinful ways of the world and God at the same time. Be sorry for your sins and cry because of them. Be sad and do not laugh. Let your joy be turned to sorrow. 10 Let yourself be brought low before the Lord. Then He will lift you up and help you.

Is God answering your prayers, or does it seem as if He’s not listening? Hearing no reply can be very discouraging, especially when you really need His help. Although it’s not always possible to know why God is silent, James offers some possible reasons:

  • Sin (James 4:1-2). Unaddressed sin hinders communication with God. This may have been the case with the recipients of James’s letter, who were quarreling and feeling animosity.
  • Wrong Motives (James 4:3). Sometimes our petitions may be self-centered. James clearly says that God won’t answer this kind of prayer, which amounts to asking for our will to be done rather than His.
  • Worldly Desires (James 4:4). The world presents deceptive philosophies that lure us away from pure devotion to Christ. When we find more pleasure in its offerings than in Jesus, we are vulnerable and can easily be distracted from things that are of eternal value. Whether we realize it or not, this puts us in opposition to God.

If you recognize any of these hindrances in your life, the solution is clear: Confess and repent of your sinful attitudes, actions, and desires (If we tell Him our sins, He is faithful and we can depend on Him to forgive us of our sins. He will make our lives clean from all sin. 1 John 1:9). Then thank God and rejoice in His cleansing.

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