Nothing blocks our lines of communication with God like our own stubborn heart and selfish attitudes. God’s love for us never changes. We don’t earn his grace or attention by the quantity or volume of our prayers. Yet when we hold onto our will ahead of God’s, we stand in the way of God’s ability to answer our prayers. Our own will is at the heart of our hearts when we are displaying the works of the flesh, such as sexual immorality, impurity, idolatry, hatred, jealousy, selfish ambition, acts of rage.
God’s character and priorities are at the core of our lives when we grow and display the fruit of the spirit, such as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, self-control. [See Gal 5.16-25].
God doesn’t change. His hand isn’t short that he can’t reach into our lives. Our sins separate us from God’s presence and purpose.
Living in an attitude and connection to God that empowers our prayer life isn’t about me, or earning God’s love. God calls these behaviors fruit – Fruit of the spirit or fruit on the flesh. The fruit on the tree tells the world the kind of tree. Fruit of the flesh are obstacles to prayer. They are the fruit of our own desires and priorities, and they affect us personally and relationally.
Here are a few more scripture to hold up into your bathroom mirror. Do these describe you? If so, you are hindering your own prayers.
- Willful, deliberate, habitual sin (not occasional stumble and fall) demonstrates what we aren’t God’s children. 1 Jn 3.6-9
- Holding onto sinful, carnal or self-centered desires hinders our prayers. If I regard sin in my heart the Lord will not hear me. Ps 66.18
- God opposes the proud. James 5.6
- Strife in our Marriage can hinder our prayers. 1 Peter 3-7
- Strife with Friends hinders our worship, which keeps us out of God’s presence. Matt 5.21-26
If we want to have a spirit empowered prayer life, we have to do the work of making sure we are listening to God’s spirit, and growing the Spirit’s fruit in our lives. If the lines of communication are full of static, the first place to check is our own heart.