1. Your disobedience voids the weight of your prayers
There is nothing that pleases God more than our obedience to His words. Whatever we may ask, if we are not praying or living our lives in accordance with His will, we can be sure that God will never answer our prayers. This is what Jesus says, in John 15:7, “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.”
Remember, the Bible declares that, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). To believe in someone means to have faith in that person or to trust him or his word.
But Samuel replied, “What is more pleasing to the Lord: your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice? Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission is better than offering the fat of rams. Rebellion is as sinful as witchcraft, and stubbornness as bad as worshiping idols. So because you have rejected the command of the Lord, he has rejected you as king.”
Isaiah 1:15-20 New International Version (NIV)
When you spread out your hands in prayer, I hide my eyes from you; even when you offer many prayers, I am not listening. Your hands are full of blood! Wash and make yourselves clean. Take your evil deeds out of my sight; stop doing wrong. Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow. “Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good things of the land; but if you resist and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword.” For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.
Isaiah 59:1-2 New Living Translation (NLT)
Listen! The Lord’s arm is not too weak to save you, nor is his ear too deaf to hear you call. It’s your sins that have cut you off from God. Because of your sins, he has turned away and will not listen anymore.
2. You pray alone or with people without being in agreement with them
The Bible stresses the importance of praying with others. In the same way that “Unity makes strength,” it is also true that true unity leads to greater achievements. In Matthews 18:19, Jesus speaks to the disciples and says, “I also tell you this: If two of you agree here on earth concerning anything you ask, my Father in heaven will do it for you.”
Joshua 23:9-11 New International Version (NIV)
“The Lord has driven out before you great and powerful nations; to this day no one has been able to withstand you. One of you routs a thousand, because the Lord your God fights for you, just as he promised. So be very careful to love the Lord your God.
Deuteronomy 32:30 New King James Version (NKJV)
How could one chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight, unless their Rock had sold them, and the Lord had surrendered them?
1 Corinthians 1:10 New International Version (NIV)
I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.
Psalm 133:1, 3 New King James Version (NKJV)
Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the dew of Hermon, Descending upon the mountains of Zion; for there the Lord commanded the blessing—Life forevermore.
3. Your prayers are selfish and self-centred
The message of the Gospel of Christ is that of love. God is Love and Love is God! This means that, for more efficiency, we need to pray with a heart that pleases God, a loving and caring heart, a giving heart. Do not forget that God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son (John 3:16) or "He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?" (Romans 8:32).
James 4:3 New International Version (NIV)
When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 New International Version (NIV)
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Matthew 5:44-46 New International Version (NIV)
But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that?
4. You are not pleading with the Holy Spirit to lead and inspire your prayers
“As God is identified with the Spirit, to truly worship God necessitates a context in which the Spirit is present. That which determines whether an action is spiritual or not is whether it has been undertaken at the request of or with the support of the Spirit. The form of one’s worship is much less important than the means whereby it is conducted and achieved. To worship God demands the help of someone identified with God, the Spirit.” (K. Warrington, “Discovering the Holy Spirit in the New Testament”, p. 57)
John 4:23-24 New International Version (NIV)
Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”
Ephesians 6:18 New International Version (NIV)
And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.
Romans 8:26-27 English Standard Version (ESV)
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
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