Swimming in blue jeans-aka Hindrances to prayer (pt 4).

I tried swimming in blue jeans once but will never do it again. I found it to be extremely difficult—even dangerous. The same is true when you try to pray while dealing with baggage such as: 

 Strife—The Bible says, “Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker pahindrances-to-prayer-part-4rtner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers” (1 Peter 3:7, emphasis added).

I find it nearly impossible to pray, together or alone, if my wife and I have had a serious disagreement. The same applies to the connection with prayer and our relationships with those around us.                                                     

 Over the years, I’ve observed particularly in the church, what I call the porcupine theory.  People discover one another, drawing closer as they worship and socialize together. But then, huddling together, they prick one another with their quills. Jealousy, competitiveness, peer pressure, and selfishness sometimes infiltrate the group, producing pain and pushing the people apart. This threat must be dealt with quickly and completely, otherwise it has a tendency to digress into:

 Unforgiveness—What a tragedy it is that dear brothers and sisters excel in so many facets of their walks with Christ, exercising their gifts and utilizing their talents; yet fail so miserably at forgiveness. They quickly forget the names of recent visitors to their Bible classes but remember in great detail wrongs done against them years ago. Thousands of believers, many who once took an active part in their churches, will stay home this Sunday because of unforgiveness and unresolved conflict. Even though Christ died for them, they haven’t died to themselves.

According to Leslie Flynn in The Master’s Plan of Prayer, when Leonardo Da Vinci was working on his painting The Last Supper, he became angry with a man, lost his temper, and lashed out bitterly at him.  Back at his canvas, he attempted to continue his work on the face of Jesus, but because he was so upset, he couldn’t compose himself for the delicate task.  Finally, he put down his brush, sought out the man, and asked his forgiveness.  With apology accepted the artist was able to return to his workshop and finish painting the face of Jesus.

Whether you need to seek or offer forgiveness, your lifeline to Jesus will remain garbled until you do so. The only antidote to this, or any other of the debilitating conditions described above, is a repentance that restores your prayer life.  As Scripture says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us from our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

I read in Our Daily Bread  about a gentleman, who, after tearing down an old building that had stood for many years, smoothed over the ground and left it. When spring rains and sunshine came, multitudes of flowers unlike any growing in the neighborhood came up. The explanation was simple. A garden grew on that spot.  Yet, for years, the seeds had lain in the soil without moisture, light, or warmth.  However, as soon as the sunshine and rain touched them, they sprang into life and beauty.

Rip away those old rotten and decaying boards of doubt, disobedience, apathy, pride, busyness, selfishness, strife, and unbelief that stymie you. If you’re saved, you have seeds of eternity planted in your heart. As the Holy Spirit rains down and the Son breaks through, unsearchable things like you never imagined will take root and grow.

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