Summary: What are the causes of the “prayer signal” getting broken as we try and communicate with God?
All believers can achieve better results in prayer by eliminating the following 4 roadblocks to prayer.
1. A disconnected relationship with God (prayerlessness). (John 15:7, James)
2. Unconfessed sin (Isaiah 59:2)
4. Inadequate Faith (James 1:5-8)
My friend Terry Krueger has a troublesome problem with his cell phone. He tells me he can be sitting in one place talking on the phone, when all of a sudden the signal is broken. He says he can even be sitting completely motionless (for fear that it will cut out) and WHAM something happens and he is disconnected.
Those of you who are electrical engineers could probably explain exactly what is going on and how to fix it. But for most of us, we simply know it is frustrating. Here we have this great cell phone with all these great features – but if the signal gets disconnected absolutely NO communication happens.
For the last 2 weeks we’ve been talking about how prayer is our direct mode of communication with God. 2 weeks ago we learned how God promises in his word that we could have many benefits in our lives if we would pray. Then last week we studied Matthew 6 and discovered 7 different keys for praying effectively, according to Jesus.
But if we are honest, we recognize that even though “the advertisement” promised some pretty great things, and we might even use all of Jesus’ instructions on how to pray, sometimes the signal seems to be cut off. What is supposed to be a 2-way communication mode turns into a one way conversation into a dead phone.
Today I want to talk about that. Why does this happen? What are the causes of the “prayer signal” getting broken as we try and communicate with God?
The Bible gives us some great answers to explain this dilemma, as well as giving us knowledge about how to keep the communication flowing in our prayer life.
1. A disconnected relationship with God. (John 15:5-7)
John 15:5-7 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.”
This passage is full of “ifs”.
IF you are living a life where you are working at staying connected with Christ (you are reading the Bible, you are obeying what you know the Bible commands, you are living a 24/7 life of keeping in step with the Spirit) THEN you can expect your prayers to be answered.
But on the other hand – this teaches that IF you’re not getting any answers to your prayers – if it seems you’ve been disconnected in your communication line with God – THEN perhaps the place to look is whether or not you’ve been “remaining” (other versions say “abiding”) in Christ.
ILLUS: We don’t use our cell phone all that much and because of that we often forget where it is. We’ll be scurrying around trying to find it – and then when we do, we discover that we left it on days ago, and of course by now the power is gone.
One thing is certain – a cell phone that is never plugged into the power will never work as a communication device. In the same way, a relationship with God that is never cultivated through time “abiding” together will never work, either.
2. Unconfessed sin (Isaiah 59:1-3, 1:15-18)
You may have been taught that no matter where we are or what we’ve been doing, God hears our prayers. It may shock you to hear that God says in his word that there are times that he will not listen to our prayers, even though we earnestly bring them before him.
Is. 1:15-17a When you spread out your hands in prayer, I will hide my eyes from you; even if you offer many prayers, I will not listen. 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!
Is. 59:1-3 Surely the arm of the LORD is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear. For your hands are stained with blood, your fingers with guilt. Your lips have spoken lies, and your tongue mutters wicked things.