Question: "What are the obstacles to an effective prayer life? "
The most common obstacle to effective prayer is the presence of unconfessed sins in the heart of the one who prays. Our God is holy and there is a barrier between him and us when we come to him with unconfessed sins in our lives. "But it was your sins that separated you from your God, your sins that hid it from you and prevented you from listening to you. (Isaiah 59: 2) David knew from experience that God is far from those who seek to hide their sins: "If I had seen injustice in my heart, the Lord would not hear me. (Psalms 66.18)
The Bible mentions many sins that stand in the way of effective prayer. First, if we live according to the flesh and not according to the Spirit, our desire to pray and our ability to communicate effectively with God will be hindered. Even if we receive a new nature at the time of our new birth, it still resides in our old carnal body, this old corrupt and sinful "tent". The flesh can take control of our actions, attitudes, and motivations if we do not apply ourselves to "making the body's ways of doing things dead" (Romans 8:13) and do not let ourselves be led by the Spirit for good relationship with God. Only then can we pray in close communion with him.
A life according to the flesh manifests itself in egoism, which is another obstacle to the efficiency of prayer. When our prayers are motivated by selfishness, when we ask God what we want rather than what He wants, our motives are a hindrance to our prayers. "We have this assurance with him: if we ask for something according to his will, he listens to us. (1 John 5:14) To ask according to the will of God is to submit to it, whether we know it or not. As in all things, Jesus must be our model in prayer. He always prayed according to the will of his Father: "However, it is not my will that is done, but yours. (Luke 22:42) Selfish prayers are those that seek to satisfy our selfish desires. We must not expect God to give such prayers. "When you ask, you do not receive because you ask badly, in order to satisfy your passions. »(James 4.3)
To live according to our selfish and carnal desires also hardens our hearts towards others, another obstacle to our prayers. If we are indifferent to the needs of others, we must expect God to be indifferent to our own needs. When we come to God through prayer, we must first seek his will, then the needs of others, because we must consider others as superior to ourselves and put their interests before ours (Philippians 2.3-4) .
The lack of forgiveness is another important obstacle to effective prayer. When we refuse to forgive others, a root of bitterness grows in our hearts and stifles our prayers. How can we hope that God will spread his blessings on the unworthy sinners we are if our hearts are full of hate and bitterness towards others? The parable of the servant, in Matthew 18: 23-35, illustrates this principle well. This story tells us that God has given us a debt (our sin) that exceeds all measure and that he expects us to forgive others as he has forgiven us. Refusing to do so will be an obstacle to our prayers.
Another important obstacle to prayer is doubt and unbelief. This does not mean, as some suggest, that if we come to God with the assurance that he will answer our request, he will be obliged to do so. To pray without doubt means to pray with a certain faith and understanding the character, nature and intentions of God. "But without faith, it is impossible to be pleasing to God, for he who comes to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who seek him. (Hebrews 11: 6) When we come to God with prayer, doubting his character, his designs, and his promises, we insult him terribly. We must have confidence in his ability to fulfill any request that suits his will and plans for our lives. We must pray, understanding that whatever his designs are, they are the best for us. "But let him ask it in faith, without doubting, for he who doubts is like the waves of the sea, which the wind raises and agitates on all sides. That such a man does not imagine that he will receive something from the Lord: he is a shared man, unstable in all his conduct. »(James 1.6-8)
Finally, discord in the home is clearly an obstacle to prayer, as Peter points out by mentioning the disrespectful attitude of a man towards his wife as an obstacle to his prayers: "Husbands, live the same way showing your wife understanding, taking into account her more delicate nature; show him esteem, for he must inherit with you the grace of life. Do this so that nothing blocks your prayers. (1 Peter 3.7) In case of serious family conflict, if the head of the family is not in the attitude described by Peter, his communication with God will be impeded. Similarly, wives must respect the biblical principles of submission to their husbands, to avoid any hindrance to their own prayers (Ephesians 5.22-24).
Fortunately, all these obstacles to prayer can be immediately eliminated by coming to God with prayers of confession and repentance. 1 John 1.9 assures us that "if we acknowledge our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from all evil". Then our communication with God will be opened again and not only will our prayers be heard and answered, but we will also be filled with deep joy.
Thanks for reading.
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