January 6, 2014 by Chris French
1. Unconfessed sin (1 Peter 3.12)
2. How are you treating your wife (1 Peter 3.7)
3. Are you taking care of the poor (Isaiah 58.4-9)
4. It’s possible that you’re praying with improper motives (James 4.3)
5. Are you abiding in Him (John 15.5,7)
6. Are you being reverent in your prayer (Heb. 5.7)
7. Are you praying with faith (James 1.5-8)
You know the unconfessed sin He’s talking about in 1 Peter 3.12. It’s not a surprise to you. This is the sin you keep going back to when you’re angry, lonely or tired. God pays attention to the righteous, but to the person who defiantly goes back to a particular sin and doesn’t have a strategy to get rid of that sin God doesn’t listen to them. If your prayers aren’t being answered look around at your life and find that sin. Deal with it. Find a way to kick it out of your life.
The way I treat my wife may also hinder my prayer life (1 Peter 3.7). I can’t take advantage of her, emotionally or physically, and expect my prayers to be heard. She is a co-heir of God’s grace with me. How dare I abuse God’s daughter then seek His blessing! Abuse takes many forms. Make sure you treat her like what she is, a daughter of the King.
What kind of heart does it take to see someone in need and not help? A heart that’s very far from God’s heart! Read Isaiah 58.4-9. They were fasting for all the wrong reasons. God explores the kind of fast He would have you do in verses 6-7. When you do these things, “Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer;”. If you’re not helping the helpless don’t expect your prayers to be heard. Your heart is too far from His.
Another reason He’s not hearing your prayers could be that you’re praying with improper motives (James 4.3). Our prayers should be wrapped around and focused on what God wants. James says that if our prayers are all about getting what we want God will not listen.
Jesus gives another prerequisite for our prayers being heard in John 15.5,7. We can ask anything in His Name and He’ll listen and answer, but notice how He starts this sentence, “If you abide in me”. I don’t get to live however I want to and expect God to answer my prayers. I’ve got to be completely His.
You won’t believe this unless you read it for yourself so go read Hebrews 5.7. Why was Jesus’ prayers heard? Because of His reverence? You mean that God in the flesh, perfect and sinless Being that He is was only heard because of His reverence? The word literally means cautious, so Jesus was heard not because of His perfection or holiness, but for the cautious way He approached the Father. How many times do we barge into God’s throne room and demand our own way? Hebrews 4.16 tells us that we can enter God’s presence with confidence and be frank with Him, but there’s a difference between confidence and arrogance. Sometimes we slip into arrogance. Remember who is on the other end of the conversation. You’re not speaking with an equal. The God of the Universe has deigned to care about my life and has given me free reign to bring my struggles to Him. Approach Him with caution and respect.
The last prerequisite for God hearing our prayers that we’re talking about today is my mindset when I pray. If I ask for something, but don’t really believe that He is powerful enough, loving enough or big enough to handle my situation He won’t answer my prayer. James 1.5-8 makes it pretty clear. It would be like you asking me to do something for you, then telling me that you don’t think I’m capable of doing the task so you’re just take care of it when I fail. That’s offensive to me as a human…and I might fail to do the task! When you pray believe that God can handle it.
If your prayers haven’t been answered you might want to check your life for these prayer roadblocks. If you’ve removed these roadblocks and still haven’t gotten an answer keep praying (Luke 18.1-8). If you still haven’t gotten an answer it might be time to understand that what you’re asking for isn’t in your best interest so God has said no to your prayer. He’s too loving to give you something that’s not the best for you even though you really want it.