Wrong motives – “You ask and you do not receive because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasure” (James 4:3). Selfishness is one of the greatest hindrances to answered prayer. Petitioning God for selfish reasons is certain to keep your prayers from being answered. Over indulgence is sin. Matt. 20:20-22; Luke 12:13-15). Note a proper motive is recorded in 1 Corinthians 10:31, “So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. In other words, whatever you ask for in prayer and whatever you do in deeds (works) the motive should be to give God glory.
Psalm 66:18 and Isaiah 59:2 in no uncertain terms makes it clear that unconfessed sin in our heart is a hindrance to answered prayers. Always ask the Lord to cleanse and purify your heart and mind so that you can approach Him properly with the assurance that He will hear your prayers, and in His timing grant your request.
There is no need to try to impress others. We are all uniquely and wonderfully made in God’s image (Psalm 139:14; Genesis 1:26). We are complete in Him, (Colossians 2:10) and loved unconditionally by Him.
Trying to impress other people is like saying you are dissatisfied with who God made you to be. Be yourself and talk to your personal God. “And when you pray, you are not to be as the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners, in order to be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full” (Matthew 6:5).
When praying with others, there is always a danger of being more concerned with what they think about your prayers than being concerned with the One to whom your prayers are directed. Never try to impress people when you pray and God is certainly not impressed by prayers.
Giving is a principle in the Kingdom of God. God loves a cheerful giver (2 Cor. 9:7). Additional scriptures concerning giving are:
1 John 3:17-20; Proverbs 21:13; Luke 6:38. I also encourage you to find other scriptures that teaches on giving; there are lots of them!
Scripture reference: John 15:7
“But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted!”
Lack of faith – Praying without believing makes no sense. It is because you believe and trust the God you are in relationship with that you pray to Him. “But let him ask in faith without doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man expect that he will receive anything from the Lord” (James 1:6-7). When you talk to your heavenly Father, you should have an attitude of expectancy like a child that asks his/her loving earthly father for something. A child expects daddy to provide and protect. “Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you HAVE received them, and they shall be granted you” (Mark 11:24).
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Improper treatment of your spouse hinder prayers from being answered. (This is specific to the husband and his treatment of his wife; however, why risk unanswered prayers because of our improper treatment of others, period.) Just treat everyone right…be kind, and love one another.
Idolatry is a hindrance to answered prayer.