From The Bishop's Desk Image
“The Problem of Hindered Prayer”
     If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.  ~ Psalms 66:18

Greetings to all the saints of the Lord Jesus Christ. I am grateful, as one who teaches the Word of God, to have this opportunity to share what the Lord is saying to His church in the times in which we live.

It seems to me that the Lord is urging His church to prioritize prayer. Beyond the general mandate to pray, such as, “And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint” in Luke 18:1. Perhaps in conjunction with the coming judgement on the world, the Lord is urging His people to pray with an unprecedented focus.

So, one perspective on this truth is considering what things can hinder our prayer. One must not only pray but prayer must be properly rendered if it is to be effective.  One of the principal attitudes and its related actions that can cause our prayers to be halted at the ceiling is what is recorded in Psalms 66:18.  The Psalmist says, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.” In other words, if I entertain or harbor evil in my heart, thoughts or attitudes, God will not “hear me.” Literally, He will not give me an audience or hearing.  He will not give any attention to or act in response to my expressed need if I make a home in my heart for those kinds of things He calls “iniquity.” One of those iniquities that hardens God receptivity to my prayers is unforgiveness.  This is perhaps one of the most prevalent traps for the human soul.  Maybe because as He taught us, all of us are going to be offended.  Luke 17:1a says “Then said he unto the disciples, It is impossible but that offences will come.”  The basic human response to being
offended is to repay in kind. In short, to seek revenge.  But the Lord tells us on multiple occasions in scripture that rather than seeking revenge, we are to forgive.  Look at Mark 11:25 and 26: (25)“And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.

(26) But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.”  The Lord makes the direct connection between prayer and forgiveness.  As the believer is encouraged to be consistent in a life of prayer, the
thought here is that one must be aware of one’s own heart when approaching the divine presence.  If in the approach, one has unforgiveness (unresolved ill will or malice) in their heart, we are admonished to correct this condition by forgiveness. 
Then verse 26 adds that reluctance to do so will result in the supplicant (person doing the praying) not being forgiven of their trespasses.  So, in this God will not only not respond to the expressed need of the supplicant, but now He will judge that person for refusing to obey Him in forgiving those who have offended them.  Hmmm!

The last hindrance to prayer that I will note today (not that this means that these are the only things that can hinder our prayers) is found in 1 Peter 3:7.  “Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.”  This one is particularly directed to husbands.  The Lord has directed through Peter’s pen that husbands are to treat their wives with a specific kind of consideration.  They are to give honor to their wives and to think of them as weaker than themselves, therefore needing their husbands’ protection and provision.  Husbands are not licensed to mistreat or abuse their wives. They are not to allow aggravation and frustration to encourage husbands to treat their wives as less than the gifts that God has intended godly women to be to their husbands (Proverbs 18:22).  Peter teaches that husbands and wives are inheritors or heirs together of the grace or gift of life.  This means that God has a special blessing of a full and fruitful life for the godly couple.  The husband and wife must demonstrate Christian love in order to inherit it.  Then He says this, that for husbands to fail in this, is to cause their prayers to be hindered.  The prayer of
an abusive husband is arrested, limited and nullified.  This is something no husband or wife should ever want to happen in one’s life.

Let us purpose to not merely purpose to prayer but further, that we will evade the snares that will cause our prayers to be hindered. 
Bishop Wells, Sr., D.D.