There can be many obstacles to prayer. A believer may feel that God is not ‘listening’, or they seem to be going through a barren, desert experience, when God seems silent. The truth, however, is that God always hears our prayers. Sometimes, His reply is delayed, though, if we have some issues that we need to first deal with. Every believer should examine himself regularly for these issues that present obstacles to prayer. Once you have cleansed your heart and life of such barriers, you will find hearing God’s voice much easier. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you as you examine your heart before the Lord. If, after you have eliminated these barriers, you still do not feel that you are getting through to God, or His answer is not evident, take heart. Be assured that He is listening and working behind the scenes of your life. Have you perhaps been prescribing an answer to God, expecting a certain outcome? If so, lay down your will, and allow God’s will to be the driving force behind all your requests and petitions. After all, He is God; not you.
1.Conscious, unconfessed sin (Psalm 66:18; Isaiah 59:1-2)
If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear. (Psalm 66:18).
Behold, the LORD’S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; nor His ear heavy, that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear. (Isaiah 59:1-2).
2.Idolatry and/or occult involvement (Ezekiel 14:3)
Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their hearts, and put before them that which causes them to stumble into iniquity. Should I let Myself be enquired of at all by them?
3.Stingy and/or covetous behaviour (Proverbs 21:13; 1 Timothy 6:10)
Whoever shuts his ears to the cry of the poor will also cry himself and not be heard. (Proverbs 21:13).
For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. (1 Timothy 6:10).
4.Unbelief and doubt (John 16:9; James 1:6-8)
… of sin, because they do not believe in Me… (John 16:9).
But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. (James 1:6-8).
5.Unforgiveness and bitterness/resentment (Matthew 6:14-15)
For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
6.Wrong attitudes towards your spouse (1 Peter 3:7)
Husbands, likewise, dwell with them [your spouse] with understanding, giving honour to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered.
7.Haughtiness/pride (James 4:6)
… “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
8.Selfish motives in prayer (James 4:3)
You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.
9.A critical spirit (Matthew 7:1; Romans 14:10)
Judge not, that you not be judged. (Matthew 7:1).
But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. (Romans 14:10).
10.Ingratitude (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
…in everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
11.Neglecting to make restitution (Leviticus 6:4-5)
…then it shall be, because he has sinned and is guilty, that he shall restore what he has stolen, or the thing which he has exhorted, or what was delivered to him for safekeeping, or the lost thing which he found, or all that about which he has sworn falsely. He shall restore its full value, add one-fifth more to it, and give it to whomever it belongs, on the day of his trespass offering.
12.Love of the world, worldliness (1 John 2:15)
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
13.Not praying in Jesus’ name (John 14:14)
If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.
14.Not praying according to God’s will (1 John 5:14)
Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.