Swimming in Blue Jeans- aka Hindrances in Prayer (pt 2).

Have you ever tried swimming in blue jeans?  And I’m not talking about cut offs—but rather straight legged and full length. I did once, and it wasn’t a pleasant experience, as I thought  I might drown.

Prayer can be like that, especially when earthly distractions derail what we’re trying to accomplish. Picking up from last time, below are three hindrances that must be overcome if we expect to maintain a clear connection with God.

Doubt —Which is arguably the number one reason for our prayerlessness and lack of answers.  Some have not because they ask not. Others have not because they believe not. Just like we are brought into the fold by faith, we are sustained there by faith—especially when it comes to prayer.

Recall these words from Jesus and His half brother: “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. 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” (Mark 11:24, James 1:6, emphasis added). Embrace faith as a verb. Rather than being a passive spectator viewing from the stands, become an active participant on the field. See yourself the victor instead of a victim.

Johann Wolfgang van Goeth, 19th century German novelist, poet, scientist, and philosopher, said, “Give me the benefits of your convictions, if you have any; but keep your doubts to yourself, for I have enough of my own.” That brings to mind “doubting Thomas” the disciple who insisted that he touch Jesus’ scars before he would believe. Getting that opportunity, he exclaimed, “My Lord and my God!” –to which the Lord responded, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen me and yet have believed” (John 20:29).

If you are a born again believer, you’re going to get your chance to see and touch the wounds Jesus received for you one day in heaven. In the meantime, be among those who have not seen, yet firmly believe that God loves you and earnestly desires to bless you with unsearchable things.

 Disobedience- The Bible says: “If our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask because we obey his commands and do what pleases him” (1 John 3:22). Why should we expect more from God if we have not acted on what He has already revealed?

Through one of His major prophets, the LORD said to the people, “When you spread out your hands in prayer, I will hide my eyes from you; even if you offer many prayers, I will not listen. . . Take your evil deeds out of my sight! Stop doing wrong, learn to do right” (Isaiah 1:15-17).

To another prophet the LORD said, “When I called, they did not listen; so when they called, I would not listen” (Zechariah 7:13). Although God had blessed His chosen people throughout the generations, most recently delivering them from Babylonian bondage, when He spoke to them, “They refused to pay attention; stubbornly they turned their back and stopped up their ears. They made their hearts as hard as flint and would not listen to the law or the words the LORD Almighty had sent by his Spirit through the earlier prophets” (Zechariah 7:11,12).

Whether it’s doing what we shouldn’t or not doing whindrances-to-prayer-part-2hat we should, God takes obedience very seriously. According to saints of a previous generation, one’s not on “praying ground” if their heart was not right before God. Getting on the same page with the Lord means practicing obedience.

 Apathy- I heard about a college that wanted to start an Apathy Club. They advertised it all over campus for weeks. In the end, it failed. It seems everyone was too apathetic to attend.

Whether it’s corporately or privately, most people aren’t praying because they’ve stopped caring. To another of the major prophets, the LORD said, “Son of man, you are living among a rebellious people. They have eyes to see but do not see and ears to hear but do not hear, for they are a rebellious people” (Ezekiel 12:2).

Often times, apathy manifests itself as passive rebellion. We’ve grown weary in well doing. “We’ve done our due. It’s time for some of these young people to step up and pull the wagon for awhile.”

A Finnish atheist stipulated in his will that he wanted to leave his farm to the devil.  When he died, the legal system was dumbfounded over how to grant his wishes. Finally, after weeks of deliberation, the court decided that the best way to carry out the farmer’s request was to let the weeds and briers take over the land, to allow the house and barn to go unpainted and eventually rot, and to let the soil erode and wash away.  The court declared in its ruling, “The best way to let the devil have possession of anything is to do nothing.”

This sounds similar to the quote from Edmund Burke, the Irish statesman sympathetic to America during the Revolutionary War. “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” That said, our most accessible and powerful weapon against evil is persistent prayer in the name of Jesus. Let nothing hinder you in that effort.

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