When Prayer Doesn't Work


Does your prayer life feel blocked? There may be a reason.

If prayer is the pipeline through which we communicate with God, do you ever feel like your plumbing is blocked? Have you ever felt like when you pray, your words get stuck somewhere between your mouth and God's heart? Do you ever get the sense that prayer simply doesn't work?

Me too.

I think most Christians face seasons when their prayers feel blocked. The standard answer I hear others give for this problem is "Sometimes God answers ‘Yes.' Sometimes He says ‘No' and sometimes He says ‘Not yet.'"

There's some truth to that statement. Just because God doesn't answer my prayers in the way that I want Him to doesn't mean He isn't getting the message. But the answer to a clogged prayer life may not be as simple as an unexpected answer.

Did you know that the Bible actually gives at least eight specific reasons why our connection to God gets blocked?

Check them out:

  • Sin (Isaiah 59:1–2)
  • Disregarding God's law (Proverbs 28:9)
  • Lack of compassion for those in need (Proverbs 21:13)
  • Pride (James 4:6)
  • Disobedience (Deuteronomy 1:43–45)
  • Wrong motives (James 4:1–3)
  • Doubt (James 1:5–7)
  • Broken relationships (Matthew 5:23–26)

Big list, huh? As I started digging into God's Word for answers for my own weak prayer life recently, I was amazed to find all of the reasons the Bible gives for why my prayers may not be working. As I think back over the 15 years I've known Jesus as my Savior, I can think of many, many times when I've felt disconnected from God but didn't have the spiritual Drano to push through the clog. I was tickled pink to discover that God's Word actually outlines the specific reasons why our prayers don't always work. Instead of looking at the list of prayer blockers above as a minefield waiting to derail my prayers, I see them as an action plan to get back on track any time my prayer life seems to hit a wall.

My hope and prayer is that each of us will examine any areas that are hindering our prayers and allow God's truth to be the force to push through the clog and strengthen our connection with our Savior.

This is important stuff! So many of you have committed to start reading God's Word daily. That thrills me. Can you imagine how your life would change this year if you read God's Word daily and got serious about doing whatever is necessary to strengthen your connection to Jesus through prayer? Now that's exciting!

Does your prayer life feel blocked? What areas from the list above do you think might be the cause?

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