Bible Studies & Devotionals
From Olive Branch Ministries
By Mark and Tinsley Baker
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Are you Praying Effectively? Pt. 1
1 John 5:14 Ė15. And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.
I would like to discuss hindered or unheard prayers. What hinders your prayers? The first thing you need to realize is God does not hear the prayer of a sinner. The only prayer from a sinner he will hear is one for salvation.
John 9:31: "Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth."
This may seem hard on Godís part. But you have to remember that God restored us to fellowship with him, through the death of His Son, Jesus. The acceptance of this gift and being born again is what gives you the right to pray to God as a child asking for your rights. You are born again when you accept Christ, become a new creature and become a joint heir with Christ.
Then and only then do you have the right to go to the Father in prayer for your needs.
So as a child of God, why are some of our prayers hindered or unheard?
There are several specific reasons Father god does not hear our prayers, Letís look at each one of them. God does not hear our prayer if we come before Him with unforgiveness in our heart.
-- Living Bible
Psalms 66: 17-19: For I cried to him for help, with praises ready on my tongue. He would not have listened if I had not confessed my sins. But he listened! He heard my prayer! He paid attention to it!
Isaiah 59:1-2: Behold, the Lord's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.
Proverbs 15:29 : The Lord is far from the wicked: but he heareth the prayer of the righteous."
We are to forgive as we have been forgiven.
-- Revised Standard
Luke 6:37 : Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven;
We are taught in the "Lordís Prayer" to pray - "forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors"
As we pray we need to ask Father God to forgive us of our sins, both those we know about (those committed intentionally) and those we donít ( those committed unintentionally).
Too many times we come to God when we need an answer, but we concentrate on our need and not on our relationship with Him. We are to be holy even as He is holy.
If you need something in prayer, be sure Your heart is clean before you go to the throne!
Another reason our prayers may not be heard is unforgiveness toward others on our part.
Just as we learned before, we are to forgive others as we have been forgiven.
If someone has hurt you, intentionally or unintentionally, you need to forgive them.
If you donít it will block your prayer.
How can you listen to God if you are letting anger, resentment and unforgiveness control your thoughts? But, this also applies to your own actions, if you have done something to offend someone - intentionally or unintentionally, you need to go to your brother or sister and ask forgiveness. This is important in two ways,- you cleanse your heart and actions, and you let them walk in forgiveness too, so that their prayers are heard!
-- Revised Standard
Matthew 5:23-24: So if you are offering your gift at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.
-- American Standard
James 5:16: Confess therefore your sins one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The supplication of a righteous man availeth much in its working.
Donít let unforgiveness and strife stand in the way between you and God!
We are to love one another, this is the commandment Jesus gave us. If you have unforgiveness in your heart or you have offended your brother, you are not walking in love. Therefore you are not pleasing God.
Both these causes of unheard prayer, come from one basic problem - sin.
Stay right with God and He will hear your prayers!
-- Revised Standard
Matthew 18:21 -22: Then Peter came up and said to him, "Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?" Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.
Another reason our prayers are not heard, is that we are not praying according to Godís Will or in line with His Word. Remember, Godís Word is His Will!
-- Living Bible
Colossians 1:9: So ever since we first heard about you we have kept on praying and asking God to help you understand what he wants you to do; asking him to make you wise about spiritual things;"
As we have learned before, study Godís Word. Learn it. Know it. When you know His Word, His Plan for you, you can remind Him in prayer of His promises and He will Keep them. You see God is faithful, and He does not lie. He will keep His promise. If we are in right fellowship with Him! We will be in a place where we will be able to receive everything we need, every answer we need can be found in Godís Word! Learn His promises, lean on Him and remind Him of His promises and He will hear and do them!
Jeremiah 1:12 : Then said the Lord unto me, Thou hast well seen: for I will hasten my word to perform it."
One thing we need to realize is that you cannot pray selfishly.
Even if you know Godís Word and you remind Him of it, if you are praying for the wrong things
Or in the wrong attitude - He will not hear it!
-- Living Bible
James 4:2-3: You want what you don't have, so you kill to get it. You long for what others have, and can't afford it, so you start a fight to take it away from them. And yet the reason you don't have what you want is that you don't ask God for it. And even when you do ask you don't get it because your whole aim is wrong--you want only what will give you pleasure.
We need to examine our hearts!
Are we asking God for something we want or need? Are we asking because it will make us look better in someone elseís eyes or make us seem more important? Are we asking out of selfish reasons, is it something we want really bad, not something we need? Are we demanding an answer in our time and not Godís time? Are we asking for worldly reasons and goals and not Godís reasons and goals? Are you asking for something that will glorify you and not God?
-- Simple English
Galatians 6:7: Don't be fooled! You cannot mock God. A person harvests only the things which he plants.
Finally, are you praying in Faith? When you pray believing, God hears you!
Hebrews 11:6: But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
-- American Standard
James 1:6-7: But let him ask in faith, nothing doubting: for he that doubteth is like the surge of the sea driven by the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive anything of the Lord;
Believe God for the answers, He will give them to you! Donít undo your prayers with doubt. After you pray, if you go around speaking doubt and unbelief, you will undo your prayers. When you pray, watch what you say, donít speak things like: "Well, I wonder if God heard me." "I donít think my spouse will ever change. " "I donít think Iíll ever get a job." Statements like these only glorify the enemy, not God! When you constantly talk unbelief and doubt you are meditating on the things of the enemy, Not the things of God! After you pray, every time you think of the need, thank God and praise Him for the answer!
Pray with forgiveness in your heart, ask God to forgive you for your sins. Pray with forgiveness for others in your heart, forgive others as Father God has forgiven you. Pray for forgiveness of others you may have offended, make it right with your offended brother, so that you are right with God. Pray according to His Word. Pray in Faith.
Father God, thank you for your Son Jesus, who gave everything for me.
Thank you for His redemption.
Thank you for my new life in Christ.
Father, teach me how to pray according to your Word.
Forgive me of my sins, Father - intentional and unintentional.
Help me to walk in forgiveness toward others and show me how I have may have offended others, so that I may seek their forgiveness.
Father, I believe your word, that you will meet my needs and hear my prayers.
I thank you for the answers and I thank You for Your assurance that You will show me when I pray selfishly or in a wrong way.
Thank you for teaching me to pray believing that I have the answers.
In Jesus Name I pray, Amen.
If you want to know for sure that you are a child of God, then I would like to invite you to earnestly pray this prayer.
Dear Heavenly Father, I come to you in the name of Jesus. Your word says, "Öand the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out." (Jn.6:37), So I know You wonít cast me out, but You take me in, And I thank you for it. You said in your Word, "whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.'' (Ro. 10:13).
I am calling on Your name, So I know You have saved me now, You also said, "Öthat if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes to righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made to salvation." (Ro.10:9,10).
I believe in my heart that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. I believe He was raised from the dead for my justification. And I confess Him now as my Lord, Because Your Word says, "Ö with the heart one believes to righteousnessÖ" and I do believe with my heart, I have now become the righteousness of God in Christ. (2 Cor. 5:21),
And I am saved! Thank You, Lord!
I can now truthfully say, I see myself as a born again child of God!
Glory to God!!!! Amen.