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WHAT HINDERS PRAYER?

From An Article By Mell Winger

In Pray! Magazine, Jan/Feb, 1999

Your Prayers Are Hindered...If You Are Rejecting Truth

Proverbs 28:9 If anyone turns a deaf ear to the law, even his prayers are detestable.

Your Prayers Are Hindered...If You Have Pride

2 Chronicles 7:14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

Your Prayers Are Hindered...If Your Heart Is Hard

Zechariah 7: 12 - 13 They made their hearts as hard as flint and would not listen to the law or to the words that the LORD Almighty had sent by his Spirit through the earlier prophets. So the LORD Almighty was very angry.  When I called, they did not listen; so when they called, I would not listen, says the LORD Almighty.

Jeremiah 17:9 Your heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. What makes you think you can understand your own motives? [NPPN paraphrase]

Your Prayers Are Hindered...If You Lack Compassion

Proverbs 21:13 If a man shuts his ears to the cry of the poor, he too will cry out and not be answered.

Your Prayers Are Hindered...If You Hold On To Unconfessed Sin

Psalm 66:18 If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.

Your Prayers Are Hindered...If You Ask With Wrong Motives

James 4:3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

Your Prayers Are Hindered...If You Have Broken relationships

1 Peter 3:7 Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.

Your Prayers Are Hindered...If Your Lifestyle Is Sinful

Isaiah 59:2 But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.

Your Prayers Are Hindered...If Your Prayers Are Empty Words

Matthew 6:7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.

Your Prayers Are Hindered...If You Refuse Forgiveness

Matthew 6:14 For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Your Prayers Are Hindered...If You Harbor Hypocrisy

Luke 18:9 To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable: 10  Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself:  O God, I thank you that I am not like other men, robbers, evildoers, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get. 13  But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said,  O God, have mercy on me, a sinner. 14  I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.

Your Prayers Are Hindered...If You Are Double-Minded, Unstable

James 1:5 If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. 6 But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.

Your Prayers Are Hindered...If You Set Idols In Your Heart

Ezekiel 14:3  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?

1 John 2:15 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For everything in the world the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does comes not from the Father but from the world. 17 The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.

ANSWERED PRAYER:

JABEZ'S PRAYER

In 1 Chronicles 4: 9-10 we read of Jabez, a man who enjoyed greater respect than his brothers: "Jabez was honorable above his brothers (was honored more than his brothers): but his mother named him Jabez [sorrow maker], saying, 'Because I bore him in pain'.

Jabez cried to the God of Israel, saying, 'Oh that you would bless me and enlarge my border, and that your hand might be with me, and you would keep me from evil so it might not hurt me!' And God granted his request."

This is an exceptional prayer.  Most probably, the reason why Jabez was more honored than his brothers is to be found in this prayer.  Jabez's prayer is a useful model for people who wish to pray meaningfully for an hour.  If one spends approximately 8-9 minutes on each of the elements that may be discerned in this prayer, it would take up about an hour.

1. Call upon the Name of the Lord. (Jabez cried to the God of Israel)

Start by calling on the Name of the Lord.  This is what Jabez did. In Gen.4:26b we read: "At that time men began to call [upon God] by the name of the Lord."  In dozens of places in the Bible we read about people "calling upon the Name of the Lord".

Practical application: Be still before the Lord Almighty and focus on Him only.  Consider the different names of the Lord.  (In the book "Change your world through prayer" by Bennie Mostert there is a list of more than 450 Names of God that you can use).  Start to focus every day on 4-5 of these names (or as many as are meaningful to you).  The Names of God reflect His character: they reveal what He wishes mankind to know about Him and what He wishes to do for us.

When we call upon the Name of the Lord, we should keep the following in mind:
 . Remember what his Name(s) represent.
 . Rejoice and delight in his Name.
 . Express your love for Him and your faith by using his Name and by calling upon it.
 . Believe in his Name.
 . Make your prayer requests in his Name.
 . Stand upon the authority of his Name.
 . Rebuke Satan in his Name.
 . Sanctify your prayers in his Name.
 . Obtain the support of the triune God by using his Name.
 . Use his Name as your shelter and your strength.

2. Lord, bless me.

Jabez's first prayer request was, "Oh, that you would bless me (grant me Godly favor)."  He asks for unlimited blessing - that God would shower his blessings upon him; bless him abundantly. Jabez knew the secret of invoking God's blessing upon himself.

What does the word 'bless' mean?  Within a religious context, a blessing refers to the favor of God; that God will grant prosperity; that God will help and protect.  It implies God's goodwill; that man will receive only the best from God; that God will grant success and make him happy.

Whoever is blessed by God shall receive from Him all that is good and beautiful. Have you ever asked for God's blessing on your life, fully expecting that He will give it?  If we do not have God's blessing, God's favor, we have nothing to give to others as it is only from the abundance that God gives us that we can again give to others.

Study the following Scriptures:

Numbers 6:24-27 - The Lord bless you and watch, guard and keep you; The Lord make His face to shine upon and enlighten you and be gracious to you; The Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace.  And they shall put my name upon the  Israelites, and I will bless them.

Ephesians 1:3 - May blessing be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ Who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realm!

Genesis 12:3 - And I will bless those who bless you and curse him who curses or uses insolent language towards you; in you will all the families and kindred of the earth be blessed.

According to these passages from Scripture God wishes to bless us and because He blesses us we should be a blessing to others.  According to Numbers 6:27 it was the duty of the priests to call the Name of the Lord upon the Israelites.  In other words, it was their duty to bless them.  As all believers are priests of God (1 Pet.2:9-10) we are called to do the same to the people around us.

Practical application: Organize this part of your time of prayer as follows:

  • Ask God the Father to bless you.  Pray about your personal needs, pray for your own crises.

  • Ask God to pour his abundance and favor upon you.  Speak to God about the desires of your heart.  God wants to bless you.  Ask Him for both the small and the big things in life: He is your Father and it pleases Him to care for his children.

  • Ask God the Father to bless you and your family.

  • Ask God the Father to bless your church.

  • Ask God the Father to bless the nations.  Pray for different countries and population  groups by name.

3. Lord, enlarge my territory.

Jabez's second prayer request to the Almighty God was: Enlarge my border/territory/coast  (increase /extend it).

So many Christians pray only for protection, safety, or just to stay alive.  God the Father has called us as kings, priests and prophets to take the gospel of peace to the ends of the earth (Matt.28:18-20).  This is what Jesus taught his disciples in the Lord's Prayer  when He prayed, Let Thy Kingdom come.

In Isaiah 54:2-3 the people of Israel are given the following command: Enlarge the place of your tent, and let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out; spare not; lengthen your cords and strengthen your stakes, for you will spread abroad to the right hand and to the left; and your offspring will possess the nations and make desolate cities to be inhabited.

Jabez asked the Lord to give him a larger territory.  God wishes also to extend your territory, your area of spiritual responsibility.  Imagine what would happen if every day you prayed earnestly, "Lord extend my territory. Give me greater spiritual responsibility in your Kingdom.  Give me more people to lead to You, more people for whom I can pray, more work to do for You."

If you pray this from today on for the rest of your life, just imagine what God would be able to accomplish through you.  God did this for Jabez and He wants to do it for each one of us.  Are you ready to be more involved in the Kingdom, to do more for the Lord, to take on greater responsibility, to dream bigger dreams, and to ask God for a greater spiritual vision?

Practical application:  Every time you pray, ask the Lord to extend your territory.  Listen to what God wishes to say to you and make yourself available to God so that He can do more and greater things through you so that others may be blessed.  Set aside this time in your hour of prayer to pray for the extension of the Kingdom.  When you pray that God will extend your territory, also ask it for your family your church and for the Church all over the world.

4. Lord, let your hand be with me.

Jabez's third request was: Let your hand be with me (that your power and presence will be in my life).  In the language of the New Testament, Jabez asked, "Give me your spiritual power.  Fill me with the Holy Spirit."

The moment that God blesses you and extends your territory, you will immediately begin to find yourself in situations where  you will realize that the work and the responsibilities that God has given you surpass your human capabilities.  Only then will you  begin to realize that you cannot do the Lord's work in your own spiritual strength.

People cannot live spiritual lives in their own strength.  It is at this point that we call out to God in desperation and beg Him to fill us with the Holy Spirit and give us his Godly strength.

In Acts 1:8 the Lord promised, But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall  be My witnesses in Jerusalem and all Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth.  

Eph.5:18 admonishes us to be, ...ever be filled with the Holy Spirit.

In Eph. 3:16-21 the apostle Paul prays: May He grant you out of the rich treasury of His glory to be strengthened and reinforced with mighty power in the inner man by the Spirit.

May Christ through your faith dwell in your hearts!  May you be rooted deep in love and founded securely on love.  That you may have the power and be strong to apprehend and grasp with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth of it.  That you may come to know the love of Christ, which far surpasses mere knowledge; that you may be filled unto all the fullness of God!  Now to Him Who, by the power that is at work within us, is able to do super-abundantly, far over and above all that we dare ask or think, To Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations forever and ever. Amen.

Practical application: During this period of your time of prayer you can pray for the power of God in your life, that you may be filled with the Holy Spirit, and that the Hand of God will be upon you.  You can pray for God's presence in your life, that his supernatural power and presence will empower you and guide you to do his will.

Pray this for yourself, your family, your church, for other congregations and for the Church all over the world.

5. Lord, keep me from evil.

Jabez's fourth prayer was: Keep me from evil so it might not hurt me (so that I will not experience pain nor cause pain).  This is exactly what Jesus taught his disciples in the Lord's Prayer: Let us not come into temptation, but deliver us from evil (Matt.6:13).

In 2 Thess.3:3 Paul says, Yet the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and set you on a firm foundation and guard you from the evil one.  In James 4:7 James, the brother of Jesus, teaches: Be subject to God.  Resist the devil and he will flee from you. The apostle Peter warns in 1 Peter 5:8: Be well balanced, be vigilant and cautious at all times; for that enemy of yours, the devil, roams around like a lion roaring, seeking someone to seize upon and devour.

Practical application:  During this period of your hour of prayer pray that God will not lead you into temptation; that no evil will befall you; that there will be no pain and anguish in your life.  Pray that God will protect you from attacks and temptations by the evil one and that if the devil should attack you,  the Lord God will give you the victory.  Pray this prayer for yourself, your family, your church, and for believers all over the world.

6. Lord, help me not to cause any pain.

Literally, Jabez means the one who causes pain. The word may, however, be translated in two ways: meaning either "That I experience no anguish/pain" or "that I shall not cause pain."  For the purposes of this hour of prayer, let us choose to give it the second meaning.

Practical application: Pray that you will not cause pain in the lives of others.  Pray that the Lord will help you not to hurt others by your actions, words, deeds or what you neglect to do.  Pray for spiritual insight and sensitivity with regard to the physical, practical and spiritual needs of others so that you may be a blessing to them.

Confess your sins and weaknesses and resolve to refrain from doing whatever the Lord lays upon your heart that may be to the detriment of others, cause pain in their lives or cause them not to receive or experience God's blessing.  Pray for practical opportunities in your daily life to ease pain and to be a blessing to someone.  Pray this prayer for yourself, your church and for other believers as God lays their names upon your hearts.

7. Praise and thanksgiving

At the end of Jabez's prayer we read: And God granted his request.  Does the fact that God answers  prayers not give reason for praise and thanksgiving? Matt.7:7-8 reads: Ask and it will be given you; keep on seeking and you will find; keeps on knocking and the door will be opened to you.

According to James.4:2-3: (We) do not have because (we) do not ask.  Or (we) ask and fail to receive because (we) ask with wrong purpose and evil, selfish motives. (Our) intention is to spend it in sensual pleasures.

God answers prayer. Many people receive nothing from God because they do not pray.  Those who pray, receive much from God.

Practical application: Use the last minutes of your hour of prayer to thank God for answers to prayer and to praise Him for his goodness.  Close your hour of prayer on a triumphant and victorious note by thanking God. Praise and worship Him.

Take Note of the following:

1. Jabez prayed - he didn't just complain, moan about everything, started to strike, organized a riot because things didn't work out for him.  No, he started to call on the Name of the Lord.

2. He prayed with boldness.  He literally cried out to God, he cried to God like his great-great-grandfather Jacob in Gen.32:24-28:

Gen 32:26-28 - 26 Then the man said, "Let me go, for it is daybreak."  But Jacob replied, "I will not let you go unless you bless me."  27 The man asked him, "What is your name?"  "Jacob," (which means: Deceiver) h answered.  28 Then the man said, "Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome."  By laying hold of God, Jacob became Israel (with means: Prince with God), because he overcame God and men in prayer, by calling on the Name of the Lord.

3. He prayed God-size prayers.  He cried to God in a hopeless and desperate situation, and God did the humanly impossible.  Pray God-size prayers - God can do the impossible.

4. He prayed till God answered, not just till he heard.  So many people pray once or twice. O friends, let us call on the Name of the Lord till we have an answer.

Become an intercessor like Jabez

5. Begin every day by praying Jabez's prayer.  Every day!  To discipline yourself, tick the days that you prayed this prayer off on a calendar.  Do not make it a ritual prayer.  Pray this prayer earnestly every day, with a genuine expectation that God will hear your prayer.

6. Secondly, begin to put time aside and try, as far as possible, to spend an hour in prayer every day.

7. Start a prayer group and pray together at least once a week for an hour. As soon as the group grows to more than 7, divide and start a second group.

8. Use Jabez's prayer to pray for yourself, your family, your church, the country and the ends of the earth.

9. Start keeping a personal prayer journal of the changes that occur in your life, answers to prayer, spiritual breakthroughs and God's blessings in your life.

10. Read the book The Prayer of Jabez by Bruce Wilkinson, founder and president of Walk Thru the Bible.  The following two books are also highly recommended: The Hour That Changes the World by Dick Eastman and Could You Not Tarry One Hour by Larry Lea.

Source: Jericho Walls

Click here to return to Intercessory Articles page.

    

Copyright by Danny Hahlbohm. All rights reserved by the artist.

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