Ten Hindrances to Prayer - Part 2
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
- Ten Hindrances to Prayer - Part 1
Would you believe that satan has become very successful at stopping the most powerful event in the life of the church?