If you want to pray properly you must identify hindrances to effective prayer and eliminate these from your life. A “hindrance” is anything that stands in your way, preventing you from answer prayer.

The following are hindrances to answer prayer:
Sin of any kind: Isaiah 59:l-2; Psalm 66:l8; Isaiah l:l5; Proverbs 28:9
Idols in the heart: Ezekiel l4:l-3
An unforgiving spirit: Mark ll:25; Matthew 5:23
Selfishness, wrong motives: Proverbs 2l:l3; James 4:3
Power hungry, manipulative prayers: James 4:2-3
Wrong treatment of marriage partner: I Peter 3:7
Self-righteousness: Luke l8:l0-l4
Unbelief: James l:6-7
Not abiding in Christ and His Word: John l5:7
Lack of compassion: Proverbs 2l:l3
Hypocrisy, pride, meaningless repetition: Matthew 6:5; Job 35:l2-l3
Not asking according to the will of God: James 4:2-3
Not asking in Jesus’ name: John l6:24
Satanic demonic hindrances: Daniel l0:l0-l3; Ephesians 6:l2
Not seeking first His Kingdom: Only when you seek first the Kingdom  that other things shall be added. –Matthew 6:33
When you do not know how to pray as you should, prayer is hindered. This is why it is important to let the Holy Spirit pray through you.- Romans 8:26

Remember that identifying hindrances to intercession is not enough, but you must also ask God to help you to eliminate them from your life. You must crucify the flesh. Also remember that what seems to be unanswered prayer does not mean there are hindrances in your life, answers to prayer may be delayed (Luke l8:7) or answered differently from our desires (II Corinthians l2:8-9).

It is important to learn how to wait and pray before the Lord in prayer for His guidance and direction before acting. It is equally important to know when not to pray. Sometimes your prayer of intercession will result in God calling you to action instead of more prayer.
This is illustrated by the story of Israel at the bitter waters of Marah where they desperately needed water, but could not drink from this poison stream. When Moses cried unto the Lord in intercession, God showed him exactly what to do to sweeten the waters. There was no need to wait further on the Lord in prayer. Moses was to act upon what God had revealed.
The same was true of Joshua when he interceded for Israel about the terrible defeat they suffered at Ai. God revealed there was sin among the people and He actually told Joshua…
Get thee up; wherefore liest thou thus upon thy face? Israel hath sinned…Up, sanctify the people…(Joshua 7v l0, l2, and l3)
It was not the time to pray but it was time to act upon the direction given in prayer. Some people use prayer as an excuse to avoid doing what God has told them to do. Powerful prayer leads to dynamic, effective action.
Some people continue to pray when God has already answered but they did not like the answer.
Review the story of Balaam in Numbers 22. Note especially verses l8-l9. Balaam had no right to go to God with the same matter for God had clearly forbidden him to have anything to do with it (see verse l2).
It was time to stop praying about it.


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