Do you pray? When you pray, does God hear you pray? When God hears your prayers, does he answer them?

If you’re a Christian, you probably pray. If you’re not, well, you still might pray. I’ve encountered people who claim to regularly pray, and yet they aren’t Christians. What are the results of your prayers? Do you see them answered? Many things can hinder our prayers and stop us from living the best life we can in Christ. Here are ten of them.

  1. Being inconsiderate to your spouse.

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.

1 Peter 3:7 (NIV)

This verse, without question, refers to husbands and their treatment of their wives. Within the context of 1 Peter, this is the only interpretation of this verse. However, it’s reasonable to say that treating your husband inconsiderately will hinder your prayers as much as he will be hindered by treating you the same way because it’s not loving.

  1. Displaying a lack of love.

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

1 Corinthians 13:1-3 (NIV)

Love is a big deal to God; without love, everything we do is meaningless. Love should be the driving force in our lives; without it, how can we expect our prayers to get through to God and be fulfilled? If we’re not praying out of love, then why are we praying? This leads me to the next reason our prayers can be hindered.

  1. Impure motives. Being selfish instead of selfless.

When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

James 4:3 (NIV)

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

Philippians 2:3-4 (NIV)

People ask God for all sorts of things. I know this because I’m a person. I also know that God values the eternal over the temporal. When I think of James 4:3, what comes to mind is the person who asks God for a million dollars and promises to help the poor if they get the money. If that person really wanted to help the poor, they would do it with what they have already been given by God instead of trying to coax him into granting their selfish prayer.

  1. Praying outside of God’s will.

The night before Jesus was crucified, he went to God in prayer.

“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.”

Luke 22:42 (NIV)

Jesus didn’t want to die. Who in their right mind would want to go through all of the torture he was going through? However, Jesus’ prayer was for God’s will to be done.

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.

1 John 5:14 (NIV)

When we ask God for things according to his will, we tell him we trust him. We’re telling God that we know that he knows best.

  1. Unconfessed sin.

But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.

Isaiah 59:2 (NIV)

If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.

Psalm 66:18 (NIV)

This prevents the prayers of those who don’t know God from being answered. Well, except for a prayer of repentance and dedication to God. Unconfessed sin from Christians can also hinder our prayers.

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

James 5:16 (NIV)

Unconfessed sin will lead to death. Therefore, unconfessed sin amongst those saved can also bring about sickness. Hence, the call to confess, repent and be healed.

  1. Unforgiveness.

For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Matthew 6:14-15 (NIV)

The world acts like forgiveness is a gift to be given to someone else. Like it’s something to be hoarded and doled out to those who deserve it. However, the bitterness that grows inside a person when they hold onto unforgiveness does more damage to the unforgiving person than it does to the person who hasn’t been forgiven. If you doubt that, then read Matthew 6:14-15 again. If God was able to forgive us for everything we have done, then the least we can do is forgive others. How can we expect God to answer our prayers when we hold unforgiveness in our hearts?

  1. Doubt.

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.

James 1:5-8 (NIV)

These verses from James aren’t just about asking God for wisdom. They’re about going to God first and believing that he will do what you have asked.

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

Hebrews 11:6 (NIV)

Another reason the prayers of the unsaved aren’t answered. How can you expect God to answer your prayers if you don’t believe he’s real?

  1. Unholy living.

For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.

Romans 8:13 (NIV)

It makes sense that the unsaved live according to the flesh, conforming to the world. After all, they’re unsaved. They don’t know Jesus in the pardon of their sins. However, as Christians, we should be living according to the Spirit. No longer conforming to this world. Sure, it takes some time to get all the dirt off, but if you’re doing the same things that you used to (and more!), you’ve got a problem.

Sometimes we’re trying to do both without realizing it. We make some choices based on the flesh and some based on the Spirit. Whatever the case, it’s not pleasing to God when we’re living like that.

  1. Not reading the Bible.

If anyone turns a deaf ear to my instruction, even their prayers are detestable.

Proverbs 28:9 (NIV)

I’m going to go out on a limb and say that most people’s prayers are hindered because they don’t read their Bible. Look at the eight reasons I’ve presented to you.

  1. Being inconsiderate to your spouse.
  2. Displaying a lack of love.
  3. Impure motives. Being selfish instead of selfless.
  4. Praying outside of God’s will.
  5. Unconfessed sin.
  6. Unforgiveness.
  7. Doubt.
  8. Unholy living.

The Bible is God’s word to us. In it, God tells us how to live our lives in the best way possible. God’s word is living and active, and through it, the Holy Spirit speaks to us, leading us and guiding us into all truth. If you’re treating your wife poorly, the Holy Spirit will show you how to love her as Christ loved the church. Suppose you’re not loving others and being selfish in your life. In that case, God will change your heart with his love, and how can anyone know God’s will without having a relationship with him? Furthermore, within the Bible, we see the penalty of living a life of sin and seeing God’s grace to forgive our sins. While the Bible is full of faith, it has its share of people who doubted. In this same Bible, we see that bringing our fears and doubts to God isn’t a bad thing but a sign of faith!

  1. We’re not listening.

Prayer is a conversation with God. Few successful conversations are one-sided. We ask God for things in prayer, and then what do we do? Perhaps we read the Bible, but why? Are we reading it with the expectation to hear from God, or is it just a box we tick in our day? We might be praying, but if we don’t respond to God’s replies, then those prayers will be hindered. Proverbs 2 gives us this insight.

For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.

Proverbs 2:6 (NIV)

Every day I spend some time sitting with the Lord. I get a pen and paper, and I just listen to whatever God tells me. Since I started this practice, I’ve noticed that I spend more time listening to God throughout the day. If we all took more time to listen to God’s words, our lives would look very different.

Do you know God? God knows you, and he loves you. He sees you as significant because you are. No one is insignificant to Him. He’s with you today, and he wants you to know him. Jesus died for your sins and mine so we could be free of guilt, freed from death, and live eternally with him. Eternal salvation is just a prayer away.

Pray this prayer with me to accept the gift of salvation:

Lord Jesus, forgive me for all my sins. I repent from my ways. Wash me in your blood and cleanse me from all unrighteousness. I believe that you died on the cross, were buried, and on the third day, God the Father raised you from the dead. Right now, Lord Jesus, I open the door to my heart and receive you into my heart as my Lord and personal Savior. Amen.

If you prayed that prayer, then congratulations! You are on the first step of a brand new life. Allow me to be the first to welcome you to my family, the family of God. There are abundant resources available online for new Christians. You can visit here for more information on what to do next. You can also leave me a comment, and I’ll do my best to help you on the next step of this incredible journey.