God has given us rules to help our prayer life and battle plan be successful.
Stephen and Alex have categorized these biblical principles into the locks and keys of prayer. The locks are things that can bring down or muddy our prayer life. The keys give prayer a boost beyond any earthly limits.
There are ten locks:
1. Praying without knowing God through Jesus (John 14:6)
Like people who don’t share much common ground in a relationship have a hard time keeping conversations going, those who haven’t believed in God for the forgiveness of their sins cannot expect God to feel obligated to respond.
2. Praying from an unrepentant heart (Psalms 103:14)
God looks at our hearts and He knows when we are broken by our sin. Being broken by our sin isn’t the problem. The real trouble comes when our hearts aren’t broken by sin at all, and when we’re cold and indifferent toward His word and our transgressions.
3. Praying for show (Matthew 6:5)
“When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites.” Public prayers that have not been seasoned by private prayers are hardly worth the hot air it takes to speak them. Don’t forget that when you’re leading others in prayer, you’re still praying to the audience of One.
4. Praying repetitive, empty words. (Matthew 6:7-8)
Prayer can be off the cuff, it can be written out and read word for word, it can be so deep and heartfelt that out only comes out as single syllables. The thing that makes prayer a string of wasted words is when we talk and talk but we’re not listening to anything we’re saying.
5. Prayers not prayed (James 4:2)
The most ineffective prayers are the ones we never even take the time to pray. How many times do we just ‘motor’ past God, not even braking for direction or advice? We’re too busy or in too much of a hurry to seek His counsel. We mean to pray; we thought about praying; we just never got to work it in to our schedule.
6. Praying with a lustful heart (James 4:3)
If lust, greed, bitterness or pride are our motives to request something, then God will not be pleased to respond. Like a wise parent with a pushy child, God knows what to give us for our good, and what not to give us for our good as well. If we love Him most, He takes delight in giving us good things.
7. Praying while mistreating your spouse (1 Peter 3:7)
When we’re not treating our spouses with respect, God makes a special mention of that as an inhibitor to prayer. How can we expect to be at unity with God while sowing disunity throughout our homes? Being ugly to our spouses is a backbreaker in prayer.
8. Praying while ignoring the poor (Prov 21:13)
When you show compassion to those in need, God shows favor on your request. But the opposite is true as well. If you snub the poor and destitute like they’re less than human, an eyesore, or invisible, expect to feel a blockage in your prayer.
9- Praying with bitterness in your heart toward someone (Mark 11:25-26)
It’s sinful to receive God’s forgiveness then consider ourselves exempt from ‘forgiving if we have anything against someone.’ Bitterness is a toxin that’s not only harmful to us spirtually, mentally, and physically, but it also poisons the effectiveness of prayer and the full experience of our relationship with God.
10- Praying with a faithless heart (Hebrews 11:6)
Whenever we don’t trust someone’s ability to do something a breach clouds that relationship. We should ask in faith without doubting because anyone who doubts is driven and tossed by the wind. Lukewarm belief is the weakest form of prayer, and doubt locks us out of our prayer closet.
Here’s the prayer from the end of the chapter…
“Lord , reveal to me anything that is hindering my prayer life, and help me get rid of it quickly. IF there is any arrogance in me, pretense, manipulation, bitterness, ruthlessness, or a lack of faith in You, Forgive and cleanse me Lord. Lord I forgive those who have wronged me as you have forgiven me, I thank You for your kindness and patience, I am tired of being the one who is blocking myself from being as close to You as possible, and receiving what You desire to give me. Unhinge me, I pray, from any locks of prayer. Open me up so You can work, without hindrance, through me.
In Jesus’ name, amen.
Thanks for listening!