In reading and studying recently on the subject of hindrances to prayer, I came across a verse that really jumped out and hit me right between the eyes. I had been looking at verses that dealt with hindrances to prayer, such as the relationship
between husband and wife:
1 Peter 3:1 Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands;
that, if any obey not the word, they
also may without the word
be won by the conversation of the wives;
1 Peter 3:7 Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge,
giving honour unto the wife, as
unto the weaker vessel,
and as being heirs together of the grace of life;
that your prayers be not hindered.
Then there is the hindrance to prayer by offences and wrongs against others:
Matthew 5:23-24 Therefore if thou
bring thy gift to the altar,
and there rememberest that thy brother
hath ought against thee;
Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way;
first be reconciled to thy brother, and then
come and offer thy gift.
Then the subject of our unforgiveness grieving God and hindering our prayers:
Matthew 6:14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses,
your heavenly Father will also forgive you:
Matthew 6:15 But if ye forgive not
men their trespasses,
neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
When I began to really study what it is that hinders our prayers and puts a 'roadblock' to God answering and hearing our prayers, I found that there was a lot! Our covetousness, our self-will, our rebellion, our disobedience. All of these things are a hindrance to prayer. These are things that were already clear to me and understandable. But then came the verse that I had never really noticed before.
He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law,
even his prayer shall be abomination.
This was a BIG revelation to me. A disinclination or indifference on our part toward the Bible hinders our prayers! This verse tells us that if we turn away our ear from the law (Word of God),
even our prayers are an abomination.
“Knowing the Bible is not enough.
Reading the Bible is not enough.
Blessing depends on delighting in it
and meditating on it” John R. Rice
Psalms 1:1-3 Blessed is the man that
walketh not in the counsel
of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners,
nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
But his delight is in the law of the LORD;
and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
And he shall be like a tree planted
by the rivers of water,
that bringeth forth his fruit in his season;
his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
In this Psalm, we see that the man that delights in the Word of God, and the man that meditates on it, is blessed. He prospers. He brings forth fruit.
Joshua 1:8 This book of the law shall not
depart out of thy mouth;
but thou shalt meditate therein day and night,
that thou mayest observe to do according
to all that is written therein:
for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.
There is a close connection between the Word of God and spiritual prosperity. How can someone who is disinterested in the Bible, one who has his heart turned away from the Word of God, ever please God in prayer? All the promises in the Bible concerning answers to prayer involve a heart that is eager to find the will of God. And how can we find the will of God if we are not daily in his Word. If we're not abiding in Christ's Words, how can we ask anything of God, we won't know the will of God to be able to pray for it.
John 15:7 If ye abide in me, and
my words abide in you,
ye shall ask what ye will,
and it shall be done unto you.
We all know of George Mueller and his amazing prayer life and God's blessing upon his life. But even he knew where his priorities should lie.
“He tells of the new ease and joy in prayer he had when he began first to read the Bible before prayer every day and let his prayers begin out of what the Spirit whispered in his heart
as he read the Word of God.”
So, in reading the Bible and meditating on it and delighting in it, we are able to see more clearly God's will for our life, and therefore, we are able to pray more effectively. Our prayers will be inspired by the Holy Spirit. If we are indifferent to the Word of God or have no interest in reading it, if we find no joy in God's promises, how can we even begin to ask anything of God. His words are not abiding in us. So what right do we have to ask anything in His name?
If we go back to my key verse in Proverbs and look at that word abomination, we see that is means
'something disgusting. Abhorred. Loathed. Hated.' Those are pretty strong words for God to use and yet he does. He sees our prayers as an abomination, or something disgusting if we are not reading his Word and letting his Word abide in us.
If we are meditating on the Word of God, prayer will form in our hearts. Now we know that to meditate, we don't have to assume a contortionist position and say 'Ommm' and go into some state of altered conciousness. NO. To meditate simply means to dwell in thought; to muse; to reflect. But what do we meditate on? The Word of God.
The promises of God.
In the Greek the word is 'hagah' and it has the meaning of 'to study' but also, interestingly enough, 'to murmur in pleasure or anger'. I found that last definition kind of ironic because how many times do we murmur in anger, when we are reading the Word of God, because it convicts us and shows us our sinful hearts and we don't like God's piercing light so bright upon on lives. It hurts and we are like Saul, 'kicking against the pricks'. And so sometimes we 'murmur in anger' instead of pleasure.
Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is quick,
and sharper than any twoedged sword,
piercing even to the dividing asunder of
soul and spirit,
and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
I don't know about you, maybe you already knew this verse, but I never realised the relationship between really studying the scriptures and meditating on them and my prayer life. Of course, I knew that it was important to read the Bible and to be daily in God's Word. But, to have God say that my prayers are an abomination to him if I am turning my ear away from his law! Wow! If my prayer is an abomination to God, then any fellowship or communion between
me and God is hindered.
When we have no desire to read God's Word, to meditate on it, to follow God's commands, to really search it out, it shows sin in our heart. That indifference to the Word of God shows that we have a carnal mind. As in 1 Corinthians 2:14
But the natural man receiveth not the
things of the Spirit of God:
for they are foolishness unto him:
neither can he know them,
because they are spiritually discerned.
If you know someone who is full of the Spirit, then you can know that he is full of the Word of God.
He delights in the law of the Lord. He reads it.
He mediates on it.
My focus of late has been on prayer and having a more effectual prayer life, but in doing so, I am learning more and more the importance of really getting into God's Word and truly meditating on it and letting the Spirit guide me through his Word as to how I should pray. Letting the Spirit inspire my prayers so that they are really what God would have me pray for, and not just empty phrases from a heart devoid of God's Word. Knowing God's will is not going to come from a heart that is not immersed in God's Word. God has given us the answer book to all of our questions. It's up to us, to search it out and hold fast to His promises.
Don't let your prayers become an
abomination to God!