If you were to appear before a King or Ruler of a Nation and was given the chance to ask him or her to do something, how would you dress and act? Take a moment and visualize it. Would you be humbled, cleaned up, neat, polite, be conscious of customs as to not offend, etc.? Now, how is that different than coming before the King of the Universe in prayer? Do you think you can come before Him in pride and with an unrepentant, filthy heart and demand Him to give you what you want?
To continue the simple illustration of electricity. If prayer is the power cord and faith is the action of plugging into the power source, then hope is the expectation the power source will deliver results. So, if a lamp is plugged in but does not turn on, then you need to look for the reason. We know we are plugged into God through the Holy Spirit that dwells in us when we believe in Jesus Christ and received forgiveness of our sins. One way our prayers are short-circuited is from unrepentant sin.
Reason Four: Unrepentant Sin short-circuits our prayers.
We cannot approach a Holy God in prayer if we are not presentable by having unrepented sin in our lives. What is sin? Sin is disobedience to the commands of God to love Him by keeping His commands and to love one another. Sin is knowing the right thing to do and not doing it (James 4:17). The following verses explain why prayers are not answered because of unrepentant sin.
Psalms 66:18 states, “If I regard wickedness (sin) in my heart, the Lord will not hear;”
Isaiah 59:1,2 states, “Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear. 2) But your iniquities (sin) have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden His face from you so that He will not hear.”
1Peter 3:12 also says, “For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”
Psalms 34:14-18 explains, “Turn away from evil (to harm) and do good; seek peace and pursue it. 15) The eyes of the LORD are toward the righteous and his ears toward their cry. 16) The face of the LORD is against those who do evil, to cut off the memory of them from the earth. 17) When the righteous cry for help, the LORD hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. 18) The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.”
Unrepentant sin includes not forgiving those who sinned against you because God instructs us to forgive. Matthew 5:23, 24, states, “So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First, be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” If you struggle forgiving those who did evil against you, please read my post on why we should forgive.
Wayne Jackson writes in “6 Reasons Why Some Prayers Are Never Answered” on ChristianCourier.com. “If you know that someone has a legitimate grievance against you, how can you sincerely approach God in prayer? Uncorrected problems with brethren are extremely detrimental. Peter certainly stressed that discordant home relationships could hinder prayers (1 Pet. 3:7). Where domestic wrangling and bitterness prevail, prayer can never be effective.” What do you think? Would you agree?
Solve the problem of sin through repentance and the work of Christ on the cross.
1John 1:9 states, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Pastor Darryl Baker writes in “Abiding in the Word” blog, “Because of what Christ did in bearing our sin and the punishment of our sin, we no longer need to live fearful of approaching our heavenly Father. The sin that separated us is gone and we can now approach God with complete confidence. So as a believer we should daily draw near to Him and He will draw near to us. Don’t ever run from God, run to Him. If you have sinned repent, and run back to the Father for He awaits with arms open wide to help you get back on your feet again.” And he writes, “It is the devil who tries to keep us from approaching God by making us afraid to do so through wrong thoughts. Scripture teaches us to come boldly to the throne of grace, to find grace and help in our time of need. God is waiting to help us overcome whatever we may be dealing with in life, but we must draw near to Him to get that help. The door is open so don’t ever run from Him. He is your answer, He is your deliverer, He wants to help you; and most importantly He wants you to know Him.” I agree, but we need to come before Him with a repentant and humble spirit.
Hebrews 4:14-16 states, “Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.
15) For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.
16) Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
James 4:6-8 says, “But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.‘ 7) Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8) Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”
These verses are the theme verses for my county jail Bible study. I have the women memorize them. One inmate return because her roommate had alcohol in the apartment which meant she broke her probation. When she came to the Bible Study, she was excited to still be able to quote the verses above from memory. I encourage you to memorize Hebrews 4:14-16 and James 4:6-8.
God is loving, merciful, gracious, and slow to anger. Psalm 103:8 states, “The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.” He is also Holy and Just, Isaiah 5:16 states, “But the LORD of hosts is exalted in justice, and the Holy God shows Himself holy in righteousness.” So, we need to approach Him with humility and with repentance if we want him to hear our petitions.
All verses are from the English Standard Bible. If you find my posts and website helpful, then please share the links with your friends and family, hopeforcompletehealing.com. The information is copyright protected and no part of the posts or my book may be reproduced without proper citation to Joyce Hanscom.
Contact me at email@example.com, and ask for a PDF of Eight Prayers from the Bible. The prayers are for the Spirit of wisdom, renewal, spiritual strength, knowledge of His will, virtues of God, non-believers, 23rd Psalm, and victory. Please leave your name so I know you are a real person making the request.
P.S., experiencing a lasting change in your life depends on having a right relationship with God the Father through believing in His Son Jesus Christ and obeying His command to love (1 John 3).