The Habit of Prayer: Keeping the Line Open
Practicing the habit of prayer demonstrates whether we are really serious about living and leading like Jesus. Prayer is the line of communication, the direct link, that each of us has with God. But the scriptures teach that if we are not careful, we can actually hinder our prayers. In other words, we can cut off this important link to communicating with God. Here are a few ways that the Bible teaches we can hinder our prayers:
Sin hinders prayer. “If I regard wickedness in my heart, the Lord will not hear” (Psalm 66:18). Sin that is not confessed or repented of hinders our prayers.
Selfishness hinders prayer. “You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures” (James 4:3). If your prayers are just motivated by selfish desires, your prayers may be hindered.
Doubt hinders prayer. “But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord” (James 1:6-7). Trust God, even when you sometimes have doubts.
Pride hinders prayer. Jesus told the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector who were both praying. The Pharisee boasted about himself while the tax collector asked for mercy from God. Jesus said, “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted” (Luke 18:14).
Strained relationships can hinder prayer. Problems in our relationships with our neighbors, co-workers, fellow Christians and especially our spouse and other close family members can hinder our prayers. Peter wrote “Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers” (1 Peter 3:7).
Do any of these apply to you? If so, go to the Lord, confess your sins and repent. He will be faithful and forgive you. Prayer is a powerful and essential tool for the servant leader, so make sure that you keep the line of communication open and let nothing hinder your prayers.
Written by Fred Waggoner