Prayer To Be An Effective Spiritual Watchman
10 Hindrances to an Effective Prayer Life
Have you ever felt discouraged in your prayer life? Maybe it feels you can’t connect with God you used to, your prayers stop at your ceiling and do not reach God. Maybe you lack a desire to pray and wonder what the big deal is?
The truth is, if you have felt this way, you need to examine your life and see what may be killing your ability or desire to pray. In Partners in Prayer, Christian leader John Maxwell shares ten things that act as “prayer killers.” His words are shared below. Use this post as a tool to diagnose what may hinder the effective prayer life that God desires.
Unconfessed sin is probably the most common prayer killer. Psalm 66:18 says, “If I regard wickedness in my heart, the Lord will not hear” (NASB). When the Scripture talks about regarding wickedness, it’s referring to unconfessed sin. God is perfect and can’t abide sin in us. If we knowingly tolerate sin in our lives, it pushes God away from us. As a result, it makes our prayers powerless.
The good news is that when we confess sin, God forgives it, and it’s gone. The slate is clean and we are no longer held accountable. Jeremiah 31:34 says, “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.
” Not only are we forgiven, but God chooses to truly forget our sins of the past. At that point our relationship is restored, and our prayers regain their power.
Our past actions may still have consequences, but the sin itself is forgiven.
2. Lack of Faith
Lack of faith has an incredibly negative impact on a Christian’s life. Without faith, prayer has no power.
Even Jesus was powerless to perform any miracles in Nazareth because of the people’s lack of faith (Mark 6:1-6)… James calls one who doubts “ a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.
That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does” (James 1:6-8).
…The word double-minded speaks of a condition where a person is emotionally divided, almost as if he had two souls. That condition makes a person unstable and incapable of hearing from God or receiving His gifts.
…If we are to grow in our relationship with God and become strong people of prayer, we must learn to obey. Keeping free from sin is not enough. Neither is faith.
If our mouths say that we believe, but our actions don’t back up that belief with a strong display of obedience, it shows the weakness of our belief. Obedience should be a natural outgrowth of faith in God.
He that obeys God, trusts Him; he that trusts Him, obeys Him.
4. Lack of transparency with God and with others
James 5:16 says, “Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed” (NASB).
James is shareing a truth about God: When we confess our sins to one another, which requires us to be absolutely transparent, God is able to heal and cleanse us. We experience a spiritual, physical, and emotional restoration.
In addition, our transparency helps others, because it shows them that they are not alone in their difficulties.
…Why is forgiveness so important? The answer is found in Matthew 6:14-15, “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
Forgiving and being forgiven are inseparable twins. When a person refuses to forgive another, he is hurting himself, because his lack of forgiveness can take hold of him and make him bitter. And a person cannot enter prayer with bitterness and come out with blessings. Forgiveness allows your heart to be made not only right, but light.
6. Wrong motives
When our motives are not right in prayer, our prayers have no power. James 4:3 says, “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives.”
Sometimes even knowing our own motives can be difficult. In my experience, I’ve observed two things that quickly expose wrong motives: (1) a project greater than ourselves and (2) prayer.
7. Idols in our lives
…Ezekiel 14:3 clearly shows the negative effect of anything that comes between a person and God.
It says, “Son of man, these men have set up idols in their hearts and put wicked stumbling blocks before their faces.
Should I let them inquire of me at all?” God does not even want an idol worshiper to talk to Him. On the other hand, when we remove idols from our lives, we become ripe for a personal revival.
…One way to know that something in your life is an idol is to ask yourself, “Would I be willing to give this thing up if God asked me to?” Look honestly at your career, possessions, and family. If there are things you wouldn’t release to God, then they’re blocking access to Him.
8. Disregard for others
…Scripture is full of verses supporting God’s desire for unity among all believers–between Christian brothers and sisters, husbands and wives, laypeople and pastors. For example, in John 13:34, Jesus said, “A new commandment I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”…
One of the added benefits of prayer is that it helps you learn to love others. It’s impossible to pray for a person to hate or criticize someone they’re praying for. Prayer breeds compassion, not competition.
9. Disregard for God’s Sovereignty
…When Jesus showed the disciples how to pray, the first thing He did was teach them to honor God for who He is, “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:9-10).
That is a clear acknowledgement that God is in charge, that He is sovereign. And it establishes our relationship to Him: that of a child under the authority of his Father.
Anytime we disregard the divine order of things, we’re bounds, and we hinder our relationship with our heavenly Father.
10. Unsurrendered will
…A person whose will is surrendered to God has a relationship with Him similar to the one described in the parable of the vine and the branches.
It says, “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you” (John 15:7). The branch depends on the vine and lives in one accord with it.
In return, the vine provides it with everything it needs, and the result is great fruitfulness.
There are great benefits of surrendering your will to God. One is that God promises to answer your prayers and grant your requests. Another is that we get to receive the power of Christ through the Holy Spirit. Just as with the vine and the branches, He flows through us, gives us power, and produces fruit.
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Effective Spiritual Weapons Require Effective Spiritual Strategies | Rick Renner Ministries
For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds.
— 2 Corinthians 10:4
In this powerful verse, Paul speaks to us about the subject of spiritual warfare. In fact, this is one of the foundational verses on this subject, so it is vital to understand what Paul is talking about. Today I want to especially draw your attention to three words in this power-packed scripture. Pay special attention to the words weapons, warfare, and carnal.
First, Paul tells us that we have “weapons.” These spiritual armaments have been provided by God and are at our disposal. They are both offensive and defensive weapons and can be found in Ephesians 6:13-18, where Paul lists them one by one and explains what each piece represents.
Second, Paul uses the word “warfare.” The word “warfare” is taken from the word stratos. By choosing to use this word, the Holy Spirit alerts us to some very important facts about spiritual warfare.
The word stratos is where we derive the word strategy. This informs us that spiritual warfare does not occur accidentally but is something that is strategically planned.
Just as any army plans its line of attack before a battle begins, the devil plans a line of attack, decides which methods he will use, and chooses the approach he wants to take as he cautiously charts a well-thought-out assault.
But the word stratos doesn’t just describe the devil’s strategies. It also tells us that if we will listen to the Holy Spirit, He will give us a strategy that is superior to any schemes of the devil.
The devil is not the only one with a strategy.The Holy Spirit always holds the key to every victory, and He wants to provide us with a divinely-inspired strategy that will render null and void the works of the devil every time!
The Old Testament is filled with examples of divinely-inspired strategies. Consider the case of Joshua and the children of Israel as they stood before the walls of Jericho (Joshua 6:1-27).
What strategy did the Lord give them? They were to walk around the walls of Jericho once a day for six days and seven times on the seventh day. Then after the seventh time around the wall on the last day, they were to blow trumpets made of rams’ horns.
None of this sounded “reasonable” to the natural mind, but the effects of that God-given strategy are still renowned today!
Or consider the time Jehoshaphat sent out a praise team before the army to sing and to worship the Lord (2 Chronicles 20:20-25). What army would send singers and musicians to the frontlines of battle in front of its armed soldiers? Yet as they sang praises to God and played their instruments, the Lord supernaturally set ambushments and the enemies were smitten.
That day the children of Israel walked away from the battle without losing a single fighter.
Not only that, but they were also weighed down with gold, silver, jewels, and other riches in abundance! There was so much plunder that it took them three days to gather it! How did they win this famous battle? They received a strategy from the Lord and then followed it accurately. The results of that strategy are legendary.
In both of these cases, the line of attack made no sense to the natural mind, but it released so much power that it completely crushed the foe.So don’t be surprised if the Holy Spirit gives you a strategy that doesn’t make sense when you first hear it! Remember, He operates on a higher level than you, and He knows what you don’t know.
Therefore, He may tell you to do something that seems odd to you at first. But you can be sure that Spirit-inspired strategies always work!
Imagine an army that is fully equipped with weapons of warfare but has no strategy about how to use those weapons against the enemy. Even with all those weapons and artillery at their disposal, an army in this condition would utterly fail.
wise, although it’s crucial that you put on the whole armor of God, that’s just the first step. You must then have a strategy on how to use those weapons and how to attack! Until you receive a strategy from the Lord on how to use your spiritual weapons, they will be of little help in driving back the forces of hell that have come against you.
This leads to the word “carnal.” In Greek, this word is sarkos, which describes anything that is of the flesh, fleshly made, or fleshly conjured up or anything that is naturalor of an unspiritual nature. Paul uses this word when he writes, “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal….”
In effect, Paul is saying, “Don’t look to your flesh for the weapons or strategies I’m describing to you because they do not arise natural talent, mental exercises, or human efforts. These are spiritual weapons and spiritual strategies, and they come from the spiritual realm.”
When you put all these Greek words together, Second Corinthians 10:4 carries this idea:
“Our God-given weapons are to be used in connection with a divine strategy. But don’t look to the flesh to find that strategy, for the battle plan you need is not going to arise your own natural talent, mental exercises, or human effort.”
If you want to receive the strategy needed to assure your victory, you must turn your attention to the realm of the Spirit, for it is from this realm that you will hear from God. You must spend time praying in the Spirit and reading the Word. By yourself, you will never conceive a plan that will deliver you.
Just as spiritual weapons come from God, so do spiritual strategies. So use your head as much as you can, and think through every step.But as you seek God, stay open for Him to graciously give you a supernatural strategy for destroying the work of the devil. And don’t be surprised if God tells you to do something that seems a little odd.
Since the beginning of time, God has been giving effective strategies that seem strange to the mind of man!
My Prayer for Today
Lord, I know that today I’m going to need a supernatural strategy to do what I need to do. My own natural mind is working all the time to come up with solutions. I’m doing the best I can do, but now I need extra help.
I need a divine strategy — a divine idea so powerful and effective that no force will be able to resist it! I know that these kinds of strategies are imparted by the Holy Spirit, so right now I open my heart wide to Him. Holy Spirit, I ask You to drop a supernatural idea into my spirit and soul.
Please help me to properly discern it, understand it, and then follow through with obedience.
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
My Confession for Today
I declare by faith that the Holy Spirit gives me the strategies and ideas I need. I am willing and ready to do whatever He tells me to do.
The Spirit of God was sent into this world to be my Helper and my Guide, and I know I can fully rely on Him. I must have His direction, or I won’t know what to do.
So today He will speak to my heart; I will perceive what He tells me to do; and then I will obediently carry out His good plan for me!
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
Questions to Answer
1. Has the Holy Spirit ever told you to do something that seemed odd to your natural mind but resulted in His power being mightily demonstrated in a situation?
2. Have you found that your natural talent, mental reasonings, and human effort are helpless to win the battles you are facing today?
3. God is ready to give you the battle plan you need to have victory in your life. Are you willing to spend the time in prayer that is required for you to receive that plan?
The Importance of Prayer in Evangelism
by Matt Slick
“The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest,” (Matt. 9:37-38).
Prayer is essential in the Christian's life. Without it, your witness will be far less effective and you will be far more vulnerable to the enemy. When you witness, you need the blessing and support of the Lord. You need to be in fellowship with Him. Prayer makes this all possible.
When you witness you plant the seeds of the Gospel, but it is God who causes the growth (1 Cor. 3:6-7). In prayer, you ask God to give that growth.
In prayer, you ask God to convict the unrepentant of their sin and by that awaken in them the need for salvation. In prayer, you, “…let your requests be made known to God,” (Phil. 4:6).
Think back to your own conversion. Were there people praying and requesting your salvation?
Jesus prayed frequently (Matt. 14:23; 26:36; Mark 6:46; Luke 5:16; John 17). Paul prayed (Rom. 1:9; Eph. 1:16). Stephen prayed (Acts 7:55-60). You must pray. God wants you to pray to Him and have fellowship with Him (John 1:1-4).
Why? One reason is that our battle is not against flesh and blood but against powers and the spiritual forces of darkness (Eph. 6:12). That is where the real battle is, in the spiritual realm. You need prayer.
Prayer is one of God's ordained means for you to do spiritual warfare, and sharing the Gospel is definitely spiritual warfare.
Another reason to pray is that you can actually influence God with your prayers. If you are doubtful then look at 2 Kings 20:1-7. King Hezekiah was told by the prophet Isaiah, the son of Amoz, that he should set his house in order because he was surely going to die (v.
1). Hezekiah prayed earnestly (v. 2,3). The Lord heard his prayers and said, “I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; behold, I will heal you. On the third day, you shall go up to the house of the LORD. And I will add fifteen years to your life,” (v. 5).
Hezekiah's prayer made a difference. That is why you, as a Christian, can be an effective witness, because you have influence with God and because you can ask God to save. Prayer is a vital part of witnessing.
What should you pray for?
Pray for more people to witness. Jesus specifically asked you to pray to the Father and ask Him to send workers into the field (Matt. 9:37-38). What is the field? It is the world of sinners. Who are the workers? They are people you.
Jesus wants people to find salvation and enjoy eternal fellowship with Him. He wants you to preach the Gospel. He has given the command “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations,” (Matt. 28:19). Your witness for God may or may not be verbal.
But either way, you need to pray and ask God to give you strength, love, and insight.Pray for compassion for the lost. Compassion is a necessary element in witnessing. It motivates you to speak, to teach, and to pray for others to come into the kingdom of God. Compassion helps you to cry over the lost and to come to God in humble request for their salvation. Paul said, “Brethren, my heart's desire and my prayer to God for them is for their salvation,” (Rom. 10:1).
Pray for the desire to witness. Pray this regularly and watch the Lord change you and give you a desire to reach out and tell people about Jesus. God will grant your prayers and joy will fill your heart as you fulfill the command of God by witnessing.
Pray for boldness. Pray for the courage to step out in faith and speak up when needed. Many Christians are timid because speaking a word for the sake of the Lord can be risky and frightening.
Boldness gives you the courage to risk ridicule and to endure the scorn. Ask God for it. “For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.
Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord,” (2 Tim. 1:7-8).
Pray to the Lord to bind Satan and his angels. There is a hierarchy of demons seeking to hinder your witness and steal the seeds of the Gospel that you plant.
You cannot fight spirits with reason or flesh and blood, but you can ask the Lord to fight. With prayer, you can assault the camp of the enemy and weaken his false kingdom.
Prayer is a mighty tool, a powerful tool. You need it if you are going to witness.
Pray for your needs. Do you have a close walk with God? Do you need a deeper fellowship with Him? Do you have sins you need to confess and forsake? If so, then pray.Enjoy your privilege of coming to the Creator of the universe who meets your every need. He loves you. He wants to hear from you and He wants you to make your needs known to Him.
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God,” (Phil. 4:6).
Hindrances to prayer
Prayer is important for many reasons, especially for witnessing. But prayer can be hindered. So that your prayers and witnessing might be as effective as possible, a discussion of the hindrances of prayer is necessary. Do any of the following apply to you?
Sin hinders prayer. “If I regard wickedness in my heart, the Lord will not hear,” (Psalm 66:18). We all sin, but do you have unconfessed and unrepented sin in your life? If so, confess your sin, repent from it as you are commanded in Acts 17:30, and continue in witnessing and prayer.
Selfishness hinders prayer. “You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures,” (James 4:3). Examine yourself. Make sure your prayers are not motivated by selfish desires. If you find that selfishness is a factor then confess it and repent.
Doubt hinders prayer. “But let him ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is the surf of the sea driven and tossed by the wind,” (James 1:6). We all doubt. We all fail. But when you doubt be reminded of the man who said to Jesus, “Lord I believe, help my unbelief,” (Mark 9:24).
He believed and yet doubted and Jesus granted his request. Remember that God has given a measure of faith to every man (Rom. 12:3). Trust God, even when you have doubts. It does not matter necessarily how much faith you have as much as who your faith is in. Put what faith you have in Jesus. Trust Him.
Watch Him be faithful to you.
Pride hinders prayer. Jesus spoke of the Pharisee and the tax-gatherer who both were praying. The Pharisee boasted about himself while the tax-gatherer asked for mercy from God.
Jesus said in Luke 18:14 regarding the tax-gatherer, “I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other.” Jesus shows us that pride is sin and that it hinders prayer (James 4:6).Have the same attitude that Jesus had in heaven in His full glory as He had on Earth as a man. He was humble. If you are prideful, confess it as sin, repent, and continue in humility.
A poor husband and wife relationship hinders prayer. This may seem a little place here, but it isn't. A proper relationship with your spouse is very important.
If there are problems because of selfishness, pride, argument, anger, unforgiveness, or any of the other multitudinous obstacles that can develop in marriage, then your prayers will be hindered. How are you doing with your mate? Are you witnessing while there is anger between you two? In Matt.
5:23-24 Jesus said, “If therefore you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar, and go your way; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering.
” Are you reconciled to your wife or husband (for that matter, anyone you know with whom there is strife) before you offer sacrifices of witnessing and prayer to the Lord? If not, then be reconciled, so your prayers won't be hindered. 1 Pet.
3:7 says, “You husbands wise, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with a weaker vessel, since she is a woman; and grant her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that you prayers may not be hindered.”
Prayer is a privilege
Prayer is a privilege. It is a powerful tool. Without it, you will be a foolish worker in the fields of the dead. Pray and ask the Lord of the harvest to raise the dead to life. Bend your knees in fellowship with your Lord. Let Him wash you in His presence and fill you with the Holy Spirit. Prayer is where you meet Him. Prayer is where you are shaped. Pray.
Characteristics of Effective Prayer – IHOPKC Blog
One very important condition for effective prayer is to be committed to walking out a lifestyle of righteousness before God and people, as indicated in James 5:16:
“The effective . . . prayer of a righteous man avails much.” This biblical condition is often minimized or totally ignored, even by people who are deeply involved in the prayer-and-worship movement today.
A righteous person is any believer who sets his heart to obey Jesus as he seeks to walk in godly character with a lifestyle of practicing the truth (1 Jn. 1:6).
Setting our hearts to obey is very important, even if we fall short of mature, consistent obedience.
There is no such thing as a person who is so mature in righteousness that he is above all temptation and never falls short in his walk with God.
In other words, the prayers of a “righteous person” include the prayers of imperfect, weak people—such as you and me—who sincerely seek to walk in righteousness even as we stumble in our weakness.
I am so grateful for the glorious reality of the grace of God!
The apostle John declared that the Lord hears and responds to us because we keep His commands and do the things that are pleasing to Him: “Whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight” (1 Jn. 3:22). Prayer is no substitute for obedience.I have met those who imagine that if they pray and fast more, they can walk in a little immorality or be dishonest in their finances or slander the people who cause pressure in their lives.
They think that being extra zealous in the spiritual disciplines will balance out areas of persistent compromise.
But praying more does not compensate for unrepented sins that we deliberately continue to commit, as this verse from Isaiah makes clear: “Your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear” (Isa. 59:2).
Prayer is far more boring and difficult if we seek to live one part of our lives as if it belonged to God and another part as if it belonged to us.
There is a dynamic relationship between our lifestyle and our ability to enjoy prayer. Our spiritual capacity to experience and enjoy God increases as we walk in purity.
Jesus emphasized this truth in the Sermon on the Mount: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Mt. 5:8).
Where there is ongoing, willful compromise in our lives, it will greatly hinder our spiritual growth and our capacity to agree with God in prayer. Sin hinders our love for Him. We must sincerely seek to live in wholehearted obedience because obedience is not optional in the kingdom life.
When we come up short in our obedience, we must acknowledge it and confess it rather than seeking to rationalize it. We call it sin, we repent of it, and we freely receive God’s forgiveness.Then we “push delete” and immediately stand, once again, with confidence in God’s presence.
Walking in obedience is not about seeking to earn the answers to our prayers; it is about living in agreement with love because God is love.
The truth of the necessity of keeping God’s commandments is overlooked by some who teach on prayer. It is more popular to emphasize our authority in Christ. That is also an essential truth, but the lifestyle of the one praying does matter. What we do negatively and what we neglect to do positively deeply affect our prayer lives.
Prayer That Is Earnest
Using the prophet Elijah as an example, the apostle James taught that one characteristic of effective prayer is earnestness in prayer: “Elijah . . .
prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain” (Jas. 5:17).
What does it mean to be earnest? It is important to understand what earnest prayer is because it is one of the primary conditions of effective prayer as set forth in the Scripture.
Two Aspects of Earnest Prayer
First, earnest prayer comes from a heart that is engaged with God. To be earnest implies that we are not praying by rote or just going through the motions. Being earnest is the opposite of speaking our prayers mindlessly into the air. We are to focus our minds and attention toward the Lord when we pray.
Second, earnest prayer is prayer that is persistent (Mt. 7:7–8; Lk. 11:5–10; 18:1, 7). The Greek word proseuche translated as “earnestly” in James 5 literally means “he prayed with prayer,” which is an idiom expressing persistence in prayer. Hence, the translators said of Elijah that he “prayed earnestly.”
We must refuse to be denied answers to prayers that are in agreement with God’s will. We must not stop asking and thanking God for the answers until we see them with our eyes. We must not be casual about our prayer requests, but persistent and tenacious.
Jesus taught a parable about the Father’s willingness to answer prayer that is recorded in the gospel of Luke. His message was that because of our persistence, the Father answers.
He applied the parable by exhorting us to ask, knowing that the request will be fulfilled; to seek, knowing that we will find; and to knock, knowing that the door will open (v. 9). The Greek verbs for “ask,” “seek” and “knock” are in the continuous present tense.
In other words, we are to ask and keep on asking, seek and keep on seeking, knock and keep on knocking. The message is a call to perseverance.
“Because of his persistence he will rise and give him as many as he needs. So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened” (Lk. 11:8–10).
The apostle Paul called us to pray “with all perseverance” (Eph. 6:18) and to labor fervently (Col. 4:12) in prayer.When we ask casually, with little effort to focus our minds on the Lord, or when we stop praying for something that is in God’s will, we show that we do not value what we are praying for.
As we see in Jeremiah’s prophecy, when we highly prize something, we will seek the Lord for it with all our hearts: “‘You will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart'” (Jer. 29:13).
(Excerpted from Mike Bickle’s latest book, Growing in Prayer)
Mike Bickle is the director of the International House of Prayer of Kansas City.