Hindered Prayer continued...
Mark 11:25-26, “And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.”
Hopefully, by now we’ve come to realize the words of Jesus are non-negotiable. Jesus didn’t make suggestions, and He didn’t offer up alternative ways of doing things. He spoke with the authority and presence of the only begotten Son of God, and when He spoke it was a command.
Jesus first tells us what we must do, and then goes on to tell us the consequences of not doing it as well.
If you have anything against anyone, in order for the Father in heaven to forgive your trespasses, you must forgive theirs. If we refuse, or otherwise fail to forgive, then Jesus is quick to point out that the Father in heaven will not forgive us our trespasses either.
Not only are we to be reconciled to a brother who has wronged us and strive to live peaceably with all men, we must forgive those who have wronged us, who have maligned us, who have deceived us and kicked us when we were down, if we hope to receive an answer to our prayers and have our trespasses forgiven in turn.
The forgiveness I speak of goes beyond speaking the words ‘I forgive you’ and requires true forgiveness, the kind that can only take place in one’s heart. If I were to sit here and tell you forgiving someone who has wronged you was easy, I would be lying to your face, and you would know it.
Let’s be honest…forgiving someone who has hurt us is never easy, but it is, nevertheless, necessary and mandatory if we hope have our prayers answered and our trespasses forgiven.
There are various areas in which we can lack love, which in turn hinder our prayers, and one area many overlook, is love within the family unit.
Did you know that when peace, love, and understanding are lacking in the family it hinders our prayers?
If a husband does not honor his wife, if a wife does not submit to the authority of her husband, if the man of the house does not take his rightful place as the head and covering of his family, these things can and do hinder our prayers.
1 Peter 3:7, “Likewise you husbands, dwell with them, with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered.”
Lack of harmony in the home, the absence of honor toward one’s wife, the absence of submission toward one’s husband, these things hinder our prayers.
We know prayer works. We know God hears it, we know God answers it, but we must also be aware of the hindrances which spring up, of the walls we erect with our own hands, that keep our prayers from reaching God, or that keep God from answering them.
If we take the time to come before God in prayer, if we take the time to beseech Him ardently and fervently, why not also take the time to examine our hearts first, to see if there is anything residing therein that could be a hindrance in the way of prayers.
Recently a friend of mine discovered he was allergic to kiwis by eating one and almost dying. His throat started to constrict, his face swelled up, and barely being able to breathe, I half carried him to my car, and drove him to the hospital. After they injected him with something or other, and the swelling around his face and throat began to go down, they did an allergy test on him, to see if he was allergic to anything else.
Since this did take place in Romania, there was no blood drawn, but rather they did a good old fashioned skin test on him using patches.
What this means is that they applied an extract of an allergen to a patch, then placed it on the skin of his forearm and waited for some sort of reaction.
By process of elimination they discovered that not only was he allergic to kiwi, he was likewise allergic to strawberries, and oranges.
So what’s the point of this quaint little story?
If you feel as though God isn’t answering your prayers, then start going through those things that hinder prayer, and by process of elimination see what it is that is keeping Him from answering. When you discover one thing, don’t stop and assume it was just the one thing, but go through the entire battery of hindrances to see if perhaps there wasn’t more than one thing keeping your prayers from reaching their desired destination.
As followers of Christ, and sons and daughters of God, it is our duty to pray, and do so without ceasing. It is likewise our duty to be aware of our hearts, of our thoughts, and keep them under submission, making certain that our prayers bring glory to God, and that nothing stands in the way of them.
Matthew 26:41, “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
And with that very timely verse, we end the first part of our series. Tomorrow we begin part two, wherein we will begin discussing, and learning from the prayers of the Old Testament. As always, thank you for taking the time to read these posts, and I pray they edify you and build up your spiritual man.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.