Avoiding Obstacles to Effective Prayer

James 1:5-8

Some of King David’s prayers are recorded in the Psalms. There we read how he praised the Lord, confessed sin, and cried out about his troubles. He also asked God to hear his prayers and not be silent.

We all want to pray effectively like David. To do so, we must avoid certain hindrances, such as:

Wavering faith. Doubts about God’s character or dependability diminish our trust in Him. Therefore, we must not allow feelings to dictate what we believe.

Wrong motives (James 4:3). Petitions motivated by selfish desires won’t receive an affirmative answer. God wants us to pray for His will to be done—not ours.

Conflict in relationships. Being resentful or argumentative with others will affect communication with the Father.

Lack of generosity (Proverbs 21:13). God is displeased when we ignore people’s needs or give begrudgingly to the church. He hears us asking for a blessing yet sees us refusing to obey Him in our giving (1 Timothy 6:17-19).

Indifference (Proverbs 28:9). Apathy to the Scriptures is another stumbling block. God has given us the Bible so that we might know Him and serve Him wholeheartedly. Failure to read and apply His Word consistently will diminish our ability to maintain a godly lifestyle.

It takes effort and commitment to develop a strong prayer life, but the rewards are great. If your prayers have not been answered, consider which, if any, of the above issues may need correction. Then, start by personalizing the prayers you read in the Psalms or elsewhere in God’s Word.

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