Mobilising, training and equipping Christians for prayer

When dealing with our sin and lifestyle, it is helpful to begin with 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. To a large extent, this passage gives  guidelines for a positive lifestyle:
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful. It does not rejoice at wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

The following is a summary of some of the things that may hinder our prayers and influence our relationship with God. When we start to apply the principles found in the passage above, the sins mentioned below will start to fall away:

  1. Unconfessed sin. 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).
  2. Idolatry, occult involvement. These men have set up idols in their hearts and put wicked stumbling blocks before their faces. Should I let them inquire of Me at all? (Ezekiel 14:3).
  3. Stinginess, greed, the love of money. If a man shuts his ears to the cry of the poor, he too will cry out and not be answered. (Proverbs 21:13). The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith. (1 Timothy 6:10).
  4. Unbelief and doubt. When He [the Holy Spirit] comes, He will convict the world of sin…because men do not believe in Me [Jesus]. (John 16:9). But when he asks [prays], he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts…should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does. (James 1:6-8).
  5. Refusing to forgive and bitterness. If you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. (Matthew 6:14-15).
  6. Wrong behaviour towards your spouse. Husbands, in the same way, be considerate as you live with your wives and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life so that nothing will hinder your prayers. (1 Peter 3:7).
  7. God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. (James 4:6).
  8. Selfish motives when we pray. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with the wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. (James 4:3).
  9. A critical spirit. Do not judge, or you too will be judged. (Matthew 7:1). You then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. (Romans 14:10).
  10. Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
  11. Failing to make full restitution (if you don’t right past wrongs). When he thus sins and becomes guilty, he must return what he has stolen or taken by extortion, or what was entrusted to him, or the lost property he found, or about whatever it was he swore falsely. He must make restitution in full, add a fifth of the value to it and give it all to the owner on the day he presents his guilt offering. (Leviticus 6:4-5).
  12. Love of the world and worldliness. Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. (1 John 2:15).
  13. Neglecting to pray in Jesus’ Name. You may ask Me for anything in My name, and I will do it. (John 14:14).
  14. When you don’t pray according to the will of God. This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. (1 John 5:14).
  15. Negative emotions and attitudes. The following attitudes will greatly hinder hearing God’s voice and knowing His will: greed, anger, bitterness, unforgiveness, self-pity, jealousy, envy, fear, rejection and feelings of inferiority. All of us struggle with at least some of these emotions, if not all of them. They are great hindrances when we try to listen to God’s voice. We have to deal with them; otherwise, we will not be able to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit.
  16. Works of the flesh. We need to ask the Holy Spirit to show us any involvement or activities in relation to the evident works of the flesh, as stated in Galatians 5:19-21: Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. Confess such sins when the Holy Spirit points them out to you.

This article was taken from “Knowing the will of God” by Bennie Mostert.
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