We all have those conversation stoppers in life. Either what the person says or who the person is saying it may cause us to cover our ears.
Scripture reveals there are 12 ways in which God closes his ears to our prayers.
- UNCONFESSED SIN. If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened. But truly God has listened; he has attended to the voice of my prayer. –Psalm 66:18-19
- ATTENTION-SEEKING MOTIVES. “Whenever you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites, because they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by people. I assure you: They’ve got their reward!” –Matthew 6:5
- BABBLING WORDS. And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. –Matthew 6:7-8
- UNFORGIVING HEART. And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven will also forgive you your wrongdoing. –Mark 11:25
- FAMILY DISHARMONY. Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered. –1 Peter 3:7
- FAITHLESS REQUESTS. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. –James 1:6-8
- UNSPOKEN REQUESTS. You desire and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. You do not have because you do not ask. –James 4:2
- SELFISH MOTIVES. You ask and don’t receive because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your evil desires. –James 4:3
- UNGENEROUS LIFESTYLE. The one who shuts his ears to the cry of the poor will himself also call out and not be answered. –Proverbs 21:13
- CONTRARY TO GOD’S WILL. And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him. –1 John 5:14-15
- DISREGARDING SCRIPTURE. Anyone who turns his ear away from hearing the law—even his prayer is an abomination. –Proverbs 28:9
- IMMORAL BEHAVIOR. Behold, the Lord‘s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save, or his ear dull, that it cannot hear; but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear. –Isaiah 59:1-2
This fourth lesson on prayer will study these 12 ways and cause us to do some introspection.