9 common hindrances to answered prayer

Episode 26

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Hosted by
Carl Joseph

Carl is a biblical scholar, minister, husband, father and life coach. In his mid-twenties he had a powerful encounter with God and saw miraculous healings as a result. He passionately shares these stories and empowers others to fulfill their God-given potential.

Is it possible to pray beyond God’s ability? Most would respond saying, ‘of course not…God can do anything!’ In actuality, God is restricted by His logos word and for Him to contradict it, would be an act of hypocrisy. The manifestation of His will not only depends upon our knowledge of His promises but faith to see them materialize. This broadcast continues to explore the boundaries of God’s sovereignty and presents nine reasons why your prayers may not be answered. Get ready for an ‘a-ha’ moment and for hindrances to be broken off your prayer life…Tune in now.

Here is a complete transcript of the podcast…(below)

“I’m going to talk to you today, about a topic that will no doubt raise some eyebrows, but it has to be discussed, nonetheless. I’m sure you’ve realized by now, there are statutes and boundaries laid down in the Bible that restrict God’s ability to move in our lives under certain conditions because God honors His word. In a previous broadcast I listed 17 things that God cannot do, as laid out by His word in a segment entitled, “Is God Sovereign?” You could consider this broadcast to be a follow up or second part of that prior broadcast, so please go to our website if you missed that. Now, as Christians we should focus our attention on the NT rather than the OT for our covenant promises in this dispensation of Grace and particular attention should be paid to the Epistles because these are letters written to us, the church. It’s important that we read the OT in light of the NT, in other words there is a measure of revelation and understanding that has been granted to us about God and his ways, that was not available to the prophets, priests and Kings of old. For example, Satan is sparsely mentioned in the OT, save in perhaps, Genesis, Job, Isaiah and Ezekiel but in the NT, particularly the Epistles, we are given specific details of his stratagems and machinations.

Let me ask you this question, if I were to say to you, hey let’s meet at 9 am tomorrow at a coffee shop at this location, and you agree to it. The next day you arrive at 9am and I am not there, you wait patiently until 9:30 but still no show. You end up leaving as there is no phone call or any indication of my soon appearance. The next day you bump into me on the street and ask me, “where were you yesterday?” To which I respond, well I didn’t mean what I said to you literally about meeting up, I meant it metaphorically…. Now friend you wouldn’t be too happy would you, but this is the very same thing that we’ve done to God’s word down the years. The old adage for Biblical interpretation is, “if the plain sense of the text makes sense, seek no other sense.” In some rare instances metaphor, simile, allegory and other figures of speech are used on occasion but this is rare in scripture, and it is usually obvious when it is used. We should take God’s word literally, and when he said in Mk 11:24 ” What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them,” then we should believe what God says about prayer in this verse.

Therefore, within the context of Gods written Logo’s word He is only obligated to do precisely what He has promised to do. Therefore, we have to ask this question, is it possible that you can pray beyond God’s ability? Doesn’t the bible say that “all things are possible to him that believes” (Mark 9:23)? Yet, we know that in the context of scripture, all things are possible to him that believes — within certain guidelines, limitations and boundaries that are clearly laid out by God’s word. As long as we follow His statues and obey His instructions, we will prosper in due season despite trials, temptations and persecution which may come our way. Certain limitations are set by God for our own benefit or protection and for others, which is an act of His mercy, and He is long-suffering towards us. Not all prayers keep God’s uppermost, nor do they seek His Kingdom first. With hindsight, there are some prayers down the years that I’m glad were never answered!
The following discussion revolves around our ‘wants’ and the ‘desires of our heart’. When it comes to ‘wants’, we must use wisdom and have patience to believe for God’s best for us in His timing.

I’d like to give a shout out to the late great teacher Dr. Roy Hicks for listing these nine reasons of why our prayers might go unanswered on occasion:-

  1. You ask amiss (James 4:3) – Your relationship with the Father is not strong enough to sustain what you are asking for. In other words, you’re asking with a selfish motive that does not fit God’s divine purpose and plan for your life. God will only answer prayer that is in the best interests of all those concerned, according to His will as He is the perfect judge seeing both the future and the past. To grant you this selfish desire would be injurious for you in the long run.
  2. Pride (James 4:6) – Pride comes before the fall (Proverbs 16:18) and the success that you’re asking for, may hinder your relationship with the Father if you lack the maturity to handle it. In fact, it was in times of affluence (not hardship), that the Jews in the Old Testament moved away from God and his ideals. Pride is the reason for Lucifer’s fall (Ezekiel 28:17) and we all need to keep our pride level in check. God resists the proud (James 4:6) but gives grace to the humble and much is written in scripture to warn us against pride.
  3. Your petition is out of God’s perfect will for your life – Are you asking God to move your mountain but at the same time building one? Some wisdom is required to remove detrimental habits in our lives. Remember mountain-moving faith requires that we walk in forgiveness otherwise it will be vain and futile. Are you trying to write Chapter 6 in your destiny when God wants you to finish chapter 2 first? There is a time and season for all things (Ecclesiastes 3:1). Taking on responsibilities when we’re not mature enough to handle them is a sure path to frustration and wounding. There is a perfect, good and acceptable will of God (Romans 12:2) and we should always seek His perfect will first and foremost. However, if we press and press, He will ‘allow’ the acceptable which is not His first choice for you. God does not approve of everything that He allows as He respects your free will to choose, good or evil (1st Samuel 8:6).
  4. Timing – Although it may be His desire to grant your petition, it just isn’t God’s time for it to be manifest right now, although at some point in the future when you’re ready, God will grant your petition. Those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength (Isaiah 40:31, Psalm 31:14-15). Consider the prayer answered now but the manifestation of it; is in His timing and the way in which it manifests is up to Him also.
  5. If God answered you in this particular situation, He would be showing partiality, – which goes against His nature as He is not a ‘respecter of persons’ (Acts 10:34). In other words what He has done for one person He will do for another as long as that person is willing to believe. Praying for sports events is a classic example; God sits on His throne and says, “May the best team win!” God is equitable to all His children and does not show partiality just to answer your prayers.
  6. You simply don’t believe what you are praying for – The scripture informs us in Mk 11:24, that at the time of prayer, if we believe those things that we are praying for, then we shall have them. We should not pray to God for things we don’t believe He can do for us. Simply, if we don’t believe at the time of prayer, then we will not receive. A better way is to meditate on God’s word in the area you’re believing for (i.e., finances or health etc.) build up your faith in that area and then pray when you’re ready to believe. Better to build up your faith level to the point where you can conceive in your heart the promise and then pray in faith, as the prayer of faith is always answered (James 5:15).
  7. Unforgiveness – God’s ability to work on your behalf is a function of your ability to walk in forgiveness (even up to 490 times in one day: Matt 18:22). Symptoms of sickness (mental and physical) many times in the body (but not always) can be traced to a root of unforgiveness that has not been dealt with (Mark 11:25, James 5:14, 1 John 5:16). Unforgiveness, I believe is responsible for many of our ailments and it often goes undiagnosed.
  8. Not walking in love – Love is a command not a suggestion; it’s expected from God and remember that faith itself works by love (Galatians 5:6). Therefore, our prayers can be severely hindered by a lack of love in our relationships towards others and God himself (Matthew 5:22-26). Not walking in love towards your spouse can also hinder your prayers (1st Peter 3:7).
  9. Lack of Maturity – You are simply not mature enough to handle the blessings and responsibilities that come with your specific petition. God is protecting you because He knows what you can or cannot handle, although many of us don’t want to hear this. The age and mental capacity of a child will dictate the father’s ability to communicate to and grant requests from his son or daughter. The father would not give a loaded gun to a 7 yr. old because of the immediate danger caused by the child’s incapacity to handle such a request. Likewise, your spiritual capacity or maturity is an indicator of how much God himself will allow you to steward at this time. God knows your maturity level and exactly what you’re capable of handling. Perhaps the Lord dislikes spoiled brats as much as we do.

The two greatest gifts God gave to man are choice and time. God lets us choose every day and He lets us use our allocated time to worship, pray and serve Him or downright disobey Him if we choose to. God will resist selfish prayers; He is reluctant to answer them even though we may not deem them to be selfish. We must search our hearts before we pray. Any prayer that stems from the wrong motive should not be answered by God in our best interests, because it promotes the wrong use of His will. We understand His will for our lives primarily through His written word and the unction in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. Remember that God allowed Israel to have Kings instead of Judges. It was not His will, but He allowed their petitions, nonetheless. God also allowed Abraham, to have child with Hagar and give birth to Ishmael, but this was not His perfect will either. We need to be patient when we pray knowing that God’s best will manifest in His perfect timing, knowing that Gods best is usually fought vehemently by Satan along the way.

Lastly, when we petition God for something, we are not to ask how He will do it, but to trust Him in the manner in which He will answer our prayers. We are to emphatically trust Him, knowing the outcome is in His hands, and not manage or manipulate circumstances in our favor, as that is a sign of distrust. If you’re in a pickle, ask the Lord for wisdom and He will grant it to you (James 1:5). We’re not saying decision making is easy and it can take time to mull over decisions before a clear path of peace is revealed to us, but we should seek the Lord in all things. Don’t give up on your petitions; hold fast to God’s promises because He is a good God and can be trusted to fulfill on His promises.”

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