Unanswered prayer is not the result of God’s unwillingness to use His power, but because of hindrances we allow to overcome us. The Bible says His eyes look to and fro throughout the earth to show Himself strong in behalf of those whose hearts are perfect toward Him (2 Chronicles 16:9). When we are aware of these hindrances and how to avoid them, we will experience the joy of answered prayer.
Two of the greatest hindrances to the Christian’s prayer life are doubt and unbelief. Doubt is the thief of God’s greater blessings. It keeps us in a state of separation from Him. Some people doubt there is a God or doubt He will perform His promises in response to their prayers. As a result, they do not respond to His written Word. This hinders His power on their behalf.
Unbelief is when a man knows there is a God, yet does not believe what the Bible says. He may know what the Bible says, but has chosen to believe what he can see and feel instead. This will definitely hinder his prayer life. Pray according to the will of God, and believe you receive when you pray. The Word of God is His will.
Another hindrance to prayer is found in Mark 11:25-26. It says, “And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have aught against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.” This is vital. Prayer will not work without forgiveness. Strife can also hinder your prayer life. Strife is merely acting on unforgiveness. James 3:16 says, “For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.” When you take confusion and add it to Satan’s work, problems arise. The absence of strife is the key to getting rid of confusion and evil. It is the predominant, primary prerequisite for answered prayer.
Finally, dwelling on past failures can hinder our prayers. Instead of putting our painful failures behind us, we often dwell on them until those failures become more real to us than the promises of God. We focus on them until we become bogged down in depression, fearful that if we go on, we’ll only fail again. It’s a downward spiral that leads from discouragement to depression to despair. All you have to do to break out of it is to get your eyes off the past and onto your future that’s been guaranteed by Christ Jesus through the exceeding great and precious promises in the Bible. God remembers your iniquities no more (Hebrews 8:12), so neither should you. Instead, replace thoughts of the past with scriptural promises about your future. As you do, the spiritual aches and pains and bumps and bruises that have crippled you for so long will quickly disappear!