by John Greene
A poor husband and wife relationship hinders prayer. Because of this fact, good communication and relationship with your spouse is very important. If there are problems because of selfishness, pride, argument, anger, lack of forgiveness, or any of the other obstacles that involve repentance or repetitive sin, then your prayers are likely to be hindered. How are you doing with your mate? Are you truly witnessing to others while anger is held between you? Are you living in an upright manner before your Heavenly Father, YHWH?
In Matthew 5:23-24 Yahshua [Jesus] said:
“If therefore you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar, and go your way; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering.” (NKJV)
In this way, your mate should be considered to be your “ultimate brotherly relationship”. Are you reconciled to your wife or husband (for that matter, anyone you know with whom there is strife) before you offer sacrifices of personal testimony and prayer to your Heavenly Father? If not, then be reconciled, so your prayers won’t be hindered.
1 Peter 3:7 says, “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.” (NKJV)
You can easily be caught up in the idea that everything you face and every hindrance that comes against you is spiritual opposition and that the devil is “having a go at me”. This is not a safe assumption for your trials come many sources. Some trials are a product of spiritual opposition. Some trials are seen to originate from others around you. Other trials come from within. Where are trials really coming from?
Many of your own personal trials can be caused by your own disobedience. Your Heavenly Father will use the refining fire of trials to build your character, using these trials for long-term good. But, is this a situation that you wish to create? Do not fall into the trap of thinking the devil doesn’t have any sort of hold on your life or can’t do anything that you don’t allow. From the beginning of your life, Satan and complicit mankind have been seeking to sink spiritual teeth into your soul! While Satan, the accuser, is fighting a loosing battle, you still need to stand firm to overcome him!
Plainly, spiritual opposition does exist and you can read about it very clearly in Daniel 10:10–21. At a time where Daniel prays continually, desperately and unfailingly; where he fasts and refuses to give in until he receives an answer, the heavens seem like brass! Does this sound familiar to you? In Daniel’s account, something very interesting happens when an angel comes to Daniel to comfort and speak Elohim’s Word to him in answer. What YHWH’s messenger says first is most interesting.
The messenger says he has been fighting in the spiritual realm where a territorial spirit had kept him reaching Daniel. This is an indication that there are times when spiritual opposition in higher places can block up the answers to personal prayer. It is wise to consider that there may be times that the response to your prayers is being hindered in the spiritual realm, but it is NOT safe to assume this is usually the case!
Aside from the battle within yourself, the biggest battle that you face as a disciple of the Messiah is the people around you. It is true that many people can be and are influenced by unseen spiritual forces. However, the biggest foible of mankind is that each and every member is influenced and often controlled by conditioned repetitive behaviors and habits. These behaviors and attitudes can and do get in the way, especially when ignorance about spiritual matters exists. While it may seem certain that you could imagine a million reasons why your personal prayer might be hindered, this is usually not the case.
One of the largest potential issues to hindered prayer is unhealthy relationships in your life that start with you. In 1 Peter 3:7, Peter writes to husbands and says a great deal about the way that a husband needs to treat his wife. What Peter details is what Elohim sees as a healthy relationship. The husband and wife relationship is a very special bond, a COVENANT where two people are joined to be as one person before YHWH. YHWH sees the divine couple as one flesh and seeks to strengthen them in perfect union. This is quite different from the prevailing views in many modern countries. Many cultures intentionally split married couples. Could you be unknowingly allowing a cultural split?
When war rages within that couple separating them from one to two, it is unhealthy in the eyes of YHWH, your Heavenly Father. Peter says: “In the same way, husbands, live understandingly together, giving respect to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the favor of life, so that your prayers are not hindered.”
“To sum up, let all of you be like-minded, sympathetic, loving as brothers, tenderhearted, humble-minded, not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary – blessing, knowing that you were called to this, in order to inherit a blessing. For ‘He who wishes to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil, and his lips from speaking deceit, let him turn away from evil and do good, let him seek peace and pursue it. Because the eyes of YHWH are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayers, but the face of YHWH is against those who do evil.'” – 1 Peter 3:7-12, ISR98 (read all 1 Peter 3)
Another scripture that supports showing YHWH’s love and the response to unity can be found in Psalm 133: “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity… for there Yahweh commanded the blessing, even life for evermore.” (WoY) Our Heavenly Father loves unity in His Word and it is in unity that He provides His divine favor. If you feel the heavens have shut a cold steel door over you as you pray and you feel that your prayers aren’t being heard, can I encourage you to check your relationships? It may be that you need to be reconciled to someone…
Forgiveness is a potentially large block in your faith. “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” – Matthew 6:14-15, NKJV
Other obstacles to personal prayer:
Indifference is another common problem that YHWH’s people can face as shown in Proverbs 1:24-30. By becoming indifferent to YHWH and to His Word, your heart grows insensitive and hardened.
Disobedience is a common problem. Disobedience out of ignorance or a slip in a weak moment is one thing. You did not set your mind to be disobedient. However, there are times when every man and woman chooses to rebel against the guidance of the Heavenly Father. Open disobedience will block prayer every time.
Outright disobedience and stubbornness typically go hand in hand. When you refuse to heed His Word, He has promised that He must turn his face aside from you. (Zechariah 7:12, 13)
Being double-minded, unstable or walking the fence eliminates effective prayer. Being two-faced, indecisive or “wishy-washy” defuses meaningful prayer. (James 1:6, 7)
Selfishness and self-centered behavior cuts prayer. The motives of your heart are as important to YHWH as your actions.
A disciple can have a great devotional study and reflection time. However, entering into study and prayer with the idea that Elohim must bless you is wasting your time. Selfishness doesn’t compel your Heavenly Father to action or favor. Only His love through the sacrifice of His Son and your life fruit of obedience show that you are part of His Kingdom. Your obedience and faithfulness return your love back to Him. (James 4:3)
Iniquity or sin carries the idea of lawlessness in scripture. This lawlessness often has the idea of your being a law within yourself and not being subject to other laws. Such sin and iniquity is often uncontrollable in nature as it seeks more space in your life. (Isaiah 59:2)
Lack of mercy or judgment on others often couple with a lack of forgiveness. When you judge others, you are measured by your own judgments. In essence, through your own behavioral judgments, you effectively condemn yourself. (Matthew 7:2; Mark 4:24; Luke 6:38)
These are a few of the basic issues that come against prayer. Praying together as a family and in agreement are strong ties that promote unity, as well as the strength of your prayers. To learn more, check out our book on sale through Amazon.