It has been said “every failure is first a failure to pray and pray diligently”. While I agree with that statement in principle, prayer may not be working in your situation for three key reasons.
Prayer is my lifeline. I have spent as much as 6-8 hours per day in prayer, My average time now is about an hour to one-and-a-half hours, daily. My time in prayer keeps me focused, balanced and communicating with God about my needs, as well as seeking His will. However, I have discovered three key reasons prayer does not work. Prayer does not work if there is unresolved anger, bitterness or unforgiveness. While all three are related, each one is a separate experience in which a person goes through when hurt, offended, abused, etc.
The Bible has much to say about anger because it is a legitimate human emotion. Also, everyone has experienced anger at some level when not dealt with. Scripturally, anger can cause harm and damage in relationships. Anger gives way to the devil and grieves the Holy Spirit. Those two reasons prevent God from working through our prayers. Ephesians 4:26 reveals, “Be ye angry and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath [intense anger].” Verse 27 tells us why, “neither give place to the devil,” and verse 30 admonishes “And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.” Anger can be dealt with through repentance, forgiving the offender and seeking God for cleansing.
Bitterness is the second reason why prayers may not be working in your situation. Bitterness is anger left unchecked or dealt with, year-after-year-after-year. Some older people find themselves struggling with bitterness because of not dealing with or overcoming hurts that lead to anger that leads to bitterness. Hebrews 12:15 states: “…lest any root of bitterness spring up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled.”
We now see two damaging affects as the result of bitterness. First, it brings trouble of all types, shapes or forms to the life of the Believers. I don’t know about you but I do not want nor need more trouble. Second, a defiling process takes place within the mind, emotions and personality. I have never been around an embittered person for a long period of time in which their bitterness began to affect me in some negative way. If at all possible, avoid people struggling with bitterness. Bitterness definitely hinders our prayer life and prevents God from working in our situation.
Last, unforgiveness definitely plugs the flow of God’s blessings and workings on behalf of His people. II Corinthians 2:10-11 states, “To whom ye forgive anything, I forgive also: for if I forgave anything, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ. Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.”
Satan gets advantage of us through unforgiveness, because forgiveness is at the heart of Christianity. Colossians 2:13 “And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses.” Because God, through Jesus, forgives us of all sins we to must forgive others.
Friends, if your prayer life is lacking it is probably because of unresolved anger, bitterness or unforgiveness. Seek God for cleansing and watch God begin to work on your behalf, because we are to “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamoring, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice. And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:31-32.
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