Swimming in Blue Jeans- aka Hindrances in Prayer (pt 1)

It was a serene Summer morning in the late 60’s. My friend Charlie and I, both around 10 at the time, were fishing in a lake on his grandparents’ farm. I was used to fishing from the bank.  So when we climbed aboard his aluminum boat, I thought I was hot stuff.

As the hours ticked by, the fish weren’t biting and we grew bored. On top of that, the sun, having reached its peak, made it a hot afternoon. The blue jeans I wore, which served me well in the cooler morning, were becoming increasingly uncomfortable.

Suddenly, one of us had the bright idea of jumping out of the boat and into the water to cool off. Once in, we decided to abandon the boat and swim to the bank. There were a few problems, however.  In addition to being far from the bank, I wasn’t that great of a swimmer –not to mention those cumbersome  long pants!

Despite growing tired and out of breath, I thrashed on toward the bank. The jeans certainly weren’t making it any easier. Reaching a point I could no longer continue, my limp legs dropped. Thankfully, my feet sank into the cool, soft, muddy bottom of the lake, which was only three feet deep in that spot.

Just as those wet, water-logged jeans made swimming difficult that memorable morning, transgressions in our lives obstruct the quest for answered prayer. As we address this sometimes painful but always necessary subject, note clearly that sin will sabotage your prayer life.

The Psalmist acknowledged, “If I had cherished sin in my heart, the LORD would not have listened” (Psalm 66:18). The Bible also says, “Surely the arm of the LORD is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God, your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear” (Isaiah 59:1,2).

We can’t lose our salvation because of sin. However, unconfessed sin creates major interference in our connection with God. Let’s say I put one small drop of gasoline in a big glass of water you are about to consume. Will you drink from it?  But why not? One little drop in such a big glass probably wouldn’t hurt you, would it? Still, I’m guessing you aren’t drinking. It’s the same with sin.  What many consider to be a little thing is a big deal to God. As the famed preacher from a previous generation R.G. Lee writes,  “So long as there is any known sin or sins in our hearts, a sin or sins which we have not forsaken, such will act as a barrier between us and God –whether the sin be just one or many.”

hindrances-to-prayerWho may ascend the hill of the LORD? Who may stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart” (Psalm 24:3). Scripture promises that “If our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask . . .” (1 John 3:21,22). Take the time now to confess all known sin in your life and clear the way for the blessings God wants to provide for you.

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