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Ten Hindrances to Prayer - Part 2

Updated on September 27, 2013

Prayer is a Struggle

Have you ever struggled with your prayer life? You know you should pray, but somehow it keeps getting put on the back burner? Try to get a group of people together for a prayer meeting and the problem is compounded. There are two very likely reasons for this. Every time you go to prayer you already have two enemies working against you.

Public Prayer Enemy Number One

One is the devil himself. Paul tells us in Ephesians 6:12, "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." Prayer meetings are the most spiritually demanding meetings of the church, thus making them the hardest to sustain.We are told to pray without ceasing (I Thessalonians 5:17). Any time someone sets out to obey God whether it be in prayer or any other matter, he can sure that he is being followed - and closely.

Principalities, powers (of evil), rulers of the darkness of this world, and spiritual wickedness is everywhere watching, waiting to destroy. Your battle for prayer begins with the unseen world of satan and his workers the minute you choose to drop to your knees. Multiply your effort by several in a prayer meeting and the war is on.

Prayer was never meant to be easy. By its very nature, it is a battle. Expect setbacks when you go to prayer, but know also that " . . . greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world" ( I John 4:4). The victory has been secured. You are on the winning side, so take your rightful place before the throne of God.

It was D. L. Moody who said, "The devil hates a kneeing figure." Another wise man once said, "You cannot stumble when you are on your knees." Realize that you truly are entering a battle every time you set yourself to pray. That is one reason why prayer is so difficult, but also realize that the battle has already been won by Jesus. Just go to prayer and claim the victory. Watch the devil scurry away with his tail tucked under.

Public Prayer Enemy Number Two

The second enemy of the prayer meeting is the flesh. Charles Finney, the great revivalist of the 1850s said of our enemies - "The devil has no conscience, and the flesh has no sense.”

The devil has a plan to keep us from praying, and the flesh is too insensitive to the Spirit to understand its own destructive power. Have you ever noticed your mind wandering during prayer? That is the flesh creeping in. Ever feel tired and wish you could just kick your feet up for a while and just rest instead of pray? The flesh is making its move.

When I go to prayer, I claim the blood of Jesus over my body, my soul (which includes my mind, emotions, and will), and my spirit. That takes care of the devil. But what about the flesh? The flesh has to consciously be yielded to God. That is, I must make a conscious effort to allow God to control my mind, will, and emotions, in addition to giving Him my body and spirit. He must give me His thoughts - His will - His emotions. As I intentionally yield to God and subdue the flesh I am now in a position to enter into His very presence undisturbed from outside influences.

Five Common Hindrances to Prayer

Hopefully some of these thoughts will aid you in your position as prayer warrior, either in the prayer closet or in the prayer meeting. Now I want to begin to look at the ten hindrances to prayer to which I have entitled this series. We will look at five of them today, and they apply to public prayer more so than private prayer.

Hindrances to Prayer

Prayer is the furnace that heats the church. If your church has prayer meeting and you do not attend, may I politely encourage you to get moving! You may be the reason God is holding back growth in your church. If your church does not have an organized prayer meeting, maybe God is calling you to start one.

Your church may have a wonderful teaching ministry, great fellowship, and a loving pastor, but if there is no corporate prayer, the purpose of the church cannot be realized. There simply must be hot prayer to sustain the church against the wiles of the devil. So . . .

# 1 - In the corporate prayer meeting avoid teaching prayers. Psalm 62:8 says, " Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us." The purpose of prayer to to pour out your heart to God, not teach. I have been in prayer meetings where an individual proceeds to spew out doctrine and lectures those in attendance under the guise of prayer. This is not the place for that. Rather seek God with a broken heart praying from the heart.

# 2 - Reject controlling prayers.They may be short or long, but controlling prayers change the direction of leadership away from the Holy Spirit. The direction in corporate prayer should always be toward God, not self. There is plenty of time to pray for yourself in your prayer closet. Watch the use of pronouns like "I", "me", etc. If used too often, it could be a clue that someone is trying to control the prayer time rather than share from the heart the needs of the church.

# 3 - Doctrinal/Attitudinal Prayers have no place. These are similar to the above, and smack of pride instead of a contrite spirit. Here is an example.of one who has just repented. “Lord, we thank Thee we have already repented. There is no condemnation. You did it all at Calvary and we’re walking in the victory.” That may be true of the individual, and hopefully it is, but it most likely is not true of the whole group. This one sets himself above the others by spouting off nice sounding words that lift him higher than the rest. It can almost sound like bragging, and God is not pleased.

# 4 - Watch the emotional Prayers.Joy and weeping are both acceptable, but only toward God. When the one praying draws attention to himself instead of God, the prayer meeting is hindered. Again, the culprit at work here is pride.

# 5 - Lastly for today, eliminate the morbid, unbelieving prayers. Prayer meeting was never meant to be a pity party. No matter how great the need, God responds to faith according to His Word.While it may be acceptable within the context of the meeting to weep honestly and ask for God’s intervention, it is always unbelief that expresses fears and depression.

Please see not just the hindrances, but the reasons behind them that cause the hindrance. The corporate prayer meeting is to glorify God, even though we have personal needs. The purpose of the prayer meeting is to come before God honestly in need of Him. It can happen so easily, but the attention can go from God to the individual quickly. If you see this happening, you can quietly follow in prayer, redirecting the focus back to God.

Even though there are hindrances to prayer, I hope you see the importance of praying. We must set this nation to prayer before it is too late. Time is running out. Get busy. Set yourself to praying, and then involve others. It is an absolute must if the American church is to survive much longer. Everyday I hear of those that have grabbed hold of the prayer mantle and intercede for this great nation. God's lighting a fire, albeit slowly in His church. Be a vital part and bow your knee to the King of all the ages.

Bow the Knee - Ron Hamilton


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    • lifegate profile imageAUTHOR

      William Kovacic 

      5 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Glad it made sense to you. It amazes me how prayerless our churches are today, and still expect God to be present. We've got to invite Him back to where He belongs.

    • Tamarajo profile image


      5 years ago

      "if there is no corporate prayer, the purpose of the church cannot be realized" ...Amen apart from Him we can do nothing.

      Excellent writing on this topic. You addressed all my issues with corporate prayer as I listed them in my previous comment on part one.

      I also really liked the video about praying "in Jesus name" being about the heart in prayer being connected with the will of God rather than using the words as if they were magic words tacked onto the end of a prayer. Good teaching.

    • lifegate profile imageAUTHOR

      William Kovacic 

      5 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      You're quite welcome MsDora. Thanks for taking the time to read. I always look forward to hearing from you!

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      5 years ago from The Caribbean

      Your list of hindrances to prayer are unique and insightful. Thanks for sharing this powerful presentation.

    • lifegate profile imageAUTHOR

      William Kovacic 

      5 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Hi mylindaelliott,

      Hope you're doing well this fine morning. Prayer is one of the toughest challenges of the Christian life. It is the devil's plan to do everything he can to stop us. So just keep on keeping on. "The devil hates a kneeling figure."

    • mylindaelliott profile image


      5 years ago from Louisiana

      I really never thought about prayer like that. Prayer is wonderful but it is so difficult whether out loud or to myself. This explains a lot. I really appreciate it.

    • lifegate profile imageAUTHOR

      William Kovacic 

      5 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Hi Skye,

      Glad you were able to stop by! I always look forward to hearing from you. Our prayer time should be the best part of the day. Glad it is for you. Have a great week fellowshipping with your Lord!

    • skye2day profile image


      5 years ago from Rocky Mountains

      Lifegate brother I love your writing. Truths indeed. Satan is not our only foe our flesh gets in the way as well!! I am so grateful for my prayer time. It is the best part of the day! Thank you for writing this timely message. Our God is for us and loves to hear from his children. Love n hugs to all dear brother. Skye

      e t go without pt

    • lifegate profile imageAUTHOR

      William Kovacic 

      5 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Good Morning Faith,

      It is indeed a powerful thing. I wish more people realized that. They miss so much of God's blessing for themselves and never even know it. And oh, how the Kingdom might grow if more people truly sought God! Thanks for checking in and have a wonderful Sunday!

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 

      5 years ago from southern USA

      Right now, all powerful prayer warriors are needed more than ever! There are so many who are still lost. I praise Him for I know He hears me when I cry out to Him and relieves me of my distress. It is that personal and intimate relationship with the Lord that is so vital and powerful. We must be mindful to not allow sin to creep back into our lives, which blocks those prayers, and repent of such. He knows our hearts and knows of any doubt we may have when praying. When we truly have that personal relationship with Him and able to speak directly to Him without any doubts, knowing that He hears and is able... it is a powerful thing.

      Up and more and sharing

      God bless you. In His Love, Faith Reaper

    • schoolgirlforreal profile image


      5 years ago

      No problem :) I just find it easier for me to keep up my prayers with those, especially the Our Father, it's in the bible. thank u. :)

    • lifegate profile imageAUTHOR

      William Kovacic 

      5 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA


      Just a passing thought - Rather than try to start a full fledged prayer meeting, could you meet maybe with one or two other people maybe once a week and make it a matter of prayer that the group would grow. Just wondering what God might do with an open heart. Like I said, just a passing thought.

    • lifegate profile imageAUTHOR

      William Kovacic 

      5 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      You're quite welcome GodTalk,

      Thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule to read and comment. It's people like you and the other commentors that keep me going.

    • GodTalk profile image

      Jeff Shirley 

      5 years ago from Kentwood, Michigan

      Thanks again Bill for taking the time to give us some vital information on effective prayer. I know that the Lord is using you as an instrument to help bring about revival in this nation.

    • lifegate profile imageAUTHOR

      William Kovacic 

      5 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Hi Lori,

      I know you're in between a rock and a hard place. That's the problem in America these days. Just keep at it. God sees where you're at. Ron Hamilton is singing Bow the Knee, and to be honest (okay I will be), I don't know who the speaker is on the first video, but thought he had some good points. Thanks for the FB post. Hope you have a great weekend and that your Harvest America program will do just that!

    • lifegate profile imageAUTHOR

      William Kovacic 

      5 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Hi schoolgirlforreal,

      No offense intended but I don't use memorized prayers. I speak directly to the Lord from my heart - however the Holy Spirit might lead.It's that intimate relationship with God that He desires.

    • lambservant profile image

      Lori Colbo 

      5 years ago from Pacific Northwest

      This was really good Bill. I would love to start a prayer meeting in my church, but I tried to get one together just for an evangelistic event and no one committed to it. The event is this coming Sunday. I hope for the sake of the lost souls who attend that the people are at least praying at home with their families.

      I liked your warnings about certain types of prayers in the prayer meeting. Keeping out the I's and me's is good. We have the prayer closet for that kind of prayer. All of this was so helpful.

      When you talked about the devil attacking making your mind wandering in prayer, I have this problem during our worship in music time in church. I haven't rebuked the devil yet so my next step. He certainly is an evil foe. I think we need to remember also that he is more powerful that we are, though not than God, so we must not be glib when dealing with him. Like you said, tell him you're under the blood. Ask God to take hold and protect.

      I hope to get to the video's soon. Who is the speaker in the first video? I've posted this on Facebook. Love the quotes too. Spurgeon called his prayer meetings the boiler room.

    • schoolgirlforreal profile image


      5 years ago

      Ps great article. the quote from the bible is so true, we do war against principalities and evil spirits yes.

      Prayer used to be a struggle for me, as it was hard to be motivated.

      Not with the rosary. Once you get used to it, it becomes a habit.

      Just like a morning offering, or grace before meals, or bedtime prayers.

      I find ones already put out there are easy to memorize and you can go to them quickly and remember them in times of trial (along with bible verses!!!)

      God bless!!!

      The St. Michael prayer is very good. He is one of the angels in heaven who cast satan into hell!

      St Michael prayer

      St. Michael the archangel, defend us in battle, be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil! May God rebuke him we humbly pray, and do thou oh host of the heavenly angels, by the divine power of God, cast into hell satan and all the evil spirits who wander thoughout the world seeking the ruin of souls.

      Sacred Heart of Jesus have mercy on us (3x)


    • schoolgirlforreal profile image


      5 years ago

      The rosary is a Catholic devotion of prayers of which is very useful as a meditation also.

      It consists of the Apostle's creed, the our father, hail mary, and glory be.

      It is a meditation on the mysteries or life events in the gospel.

      Joyful, Sorrowful, and Glorious.

      particularly the sorrowful which are:

      The Agony in the Garden

      The Scourging at the pillar

      The crowing with thorns

      The carrying of the cross

      The crucifixion.

      Padre Pio and other catholic saints called the rosary "the weapon"

      This prayer can easily be learned and prayed daily.

      If you get into the habit, and pray with a friend, or along with EWTN , or by yourself you can benefit from the prayer and meditation and never run out of prayers to say. It becomes easy, and you don't have to think about what to say, if you are really too tired or whatever.

      I recommend this prayer. It is very powerful!

    • lifegate profile imageAUTHOR

      William Kovacic 

      5 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Boy Jackie! That was quick. I just posted this. Glad you were able to stop by. The more I learn about prayer the more I realize how much we all fall short. But we keep plugging away. Thanks for the visit and the confirmation. Keep at it!

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 

      5 years ago from The Beautiful South

      Some great points Bill, I know we have all listened to prayer that is really a sermon, well probably many of them and they run all over the place but a prayer they are not. We can tell those preachers are talking to us, not God. Glad to know you are not one of them! lol

      (Some great looking hubs!)


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