What Hinders Prayer
God has made it possible for us to enter the Holy of Holies through the atoning blood of His Son, Jesus Christ. At the moment of His death, the veil that separated man from God’s most holy place was rent in two, from the top to the bottom. In other words, the Way was opened from the top, where God is, to the bottom, where man is. That’s significant.
When Esther wanted to see the king—her own husband—she could not just enter the throne room. To do so without the king’s summons could mean death. But if he held out his scepter, it meant she had found favor with him and could enter the throne room. It is significant that God is both husband and king (Isaiah 54:5). He invites us into His presence.
The Amplified Bible shows more fully the great privilege we enjoy in approaching the throne of grace.
Hebrews 4:16 reads: “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need (NIV).”
“Therefore let us [with privilege] approach the throne of grace [that is, the throne of God’s gracious favor] with confidence and without fear, so that we may receive mercy [for our failures] and find [His amazing] grace to help in time of need [an appropriate blessing, coming just at the right moment] (Hebrews 4:16 AMP).”
There are, however, some things that can hinder our prayers to our gracious Father.
1. Ephesians 4:26-27 shows us that we can give the devil a foothold, The Greek word topos means foothold and indicates a room or a place. We can’t expect to waltz into the throne of grace dragging a demon!
2. We give the devil a foothold when we have unconfessed pride, rebellion, deception, sexual impurity, and any other ungodly thing in which we participate.
3. Sometimes, we think so highly of ourselves that we try to usurp Jesus’ place as Savior and the Holy Spirit’s place as Counselor. We don’t trust the Holy Spirit in others but expect them to trust Him in us, ourselves.
4. Mark is very clear in his Gospel that forgiveness is necessary to an ongoing, deep relationship with God (Mark 11:25). We cannot expect God to listen to our pleas for help when we ignore the needs others have for our forgiveness.
5. Unconfessed sin of any kind will disrupt our intimate relationship with our Father.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12:1-2 NIV).”
The “race set before us” requires faith, stamina, commitment, and discipline. What athlete thinks he can win a contest without those four things.
The race’s parameters are set by God. They are encompassed in the meaning of the word holiness.
The Hebrew word kadosh (קָדוֹשׁ) doesn’t mean individual righteousness. Instead it indicates something set apart for a particular purpose, one of God’s choosing. If we desire that our prayers remain unhindered, we must remain “set apart” from the world. “Holy” is the exact opposite of “common.”
The cloud of witnesses are those who have already finished the race and have left behind a pattern for us to follow. If we follow their lead, we are sure to finish well.
Habitual sin will hold you in bondage. So how do you know if you are in habitual sin? Here are some clues.
You feel hopeless. You “did it again” even though you promised yourself you wouldn’t.
You see yourself as worthless.
You believe the lies the enemy is feeding you.
You feel like giving up.
You spend less time with God.
You feel ashamed and keep it to yourself.
Your sin is always on your mind and you feel helpless to overcome it.
It is interesting to me that Hebrews 12:1-2 says “the sin” and not “sins.” So what sin is this referring to? It is always the same sin that so easily entangles us. And that is thinking that Jesus’ blood was not sufficient for our lives. Yet we know that 2 Peter 1:3 tells us that we have everything we need.
When all is said and done, only pride will hinder your prayers. Because pride keeps you from coming humbly to God when sin has run roughshod over you and left you weeping once again. God told Cain that sin crouched at his door (Genesis 4:7), but the only thing we need to overcome sin in our lives, habitual or not, is reliance on Jesus.
“”For His divine power has bestowed on us [absolutely] everything necessary for [a dynamic spiritual] life and godliness, through true and personal knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence (2 Peter 1:3 AMP).”
You can do this. You can close the door Satan and not let crouching sin enter. The solution to the problem (hindered prayers) is contained in the problem. More prayer, unencumbered by sin!