HINDRANCES TO EFFECTIVE INTERCESSION
Ye ask and receive not because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. (James 4:3)
If you want to intercede properly you must identify hindrances to effective intercession and eliminate these from your life. A "hindrance" is anything that stands in your way, preventing you from interceding.
Study the following Scriptures which reveal hindrances to effective intercession:
-Sin of any kind: Isaiah 59:1-2; Psalm 66:18;Isaiah 1:15; Proverbs 28:9
-Idols in the heart: Ezekiel 14:1-3
-An unforgiving spirit: Mark 11:25; Matthew 5:23
-Selfishness, wrong motives: Proverbs 21:13; James 4:3
-Power hungry, manipulative prayers: James 4:2-3
-Wrong treatment of marriage partner: I Peter 3:7
-Self-righteousness: Luke 18:10-14
-Unbelief: James 1:6-7
-Not abiding in Christ and His Word: John 15:7
-Lack of compassion: Proverbs 21:13
-Hypocrisy, pride, meaningless repetition: Matthew 6:5; Job 35:12-13
-Not asking according to the will of God: James 4:2-3
-Not asking in Jesus' name: John 16:24
-Satanic demonic hindrances: Daniel 10:10-13; Ephesians 6:12
-Not seeking first the Kingdom: Only when you seek first the Kingdom are you promised the "other things": Matthew 6:33
-When you do not know how to pray as you should, prayer is hindered. This is why it is important to let the Holy Spirit pray through you: Romans 8:26
ELIMINATING HINDRANCES TO INTERCESSION
Remember that identifying hindrances to intercession is not enough, but you must also ask God to help you to eliminate them from your life. Also remember that what seems to be unanswered prayer does not mean there are hindrances in your life. Answers to prayer may be delayed (Luke 18:7) or answered differently from our desires (II Corinthians 12:8-9).
WHEN NOT TO PRAY
It is important to learn how to wait and intercede before the Lord in prayer for His guidance and direction before acting. It is equally important to know when not to pray. Sometimes your prayer of intercession will result in God calling you to action instead of more prayer.
This is illustrated by the story of Israel at the bitter waters of Marah where they desperately needed water, but could not drink from this poison stream. When Moses cried unto the Lord in intercession, God showed him exactly what to do to sweeten the waters. There was no need to wait further on the Lord in prayer. Moses was to act upon what God had revealed. The same was true of Joshua when he interceded for Israel about the terrible defeat they suffered at Ai. God revealed there was sin among the people and He actually told Joshua...
Get thee up; wherefore liest thou thus upon thy face? Israel hath sinned … Up, sanctify the people...(Joshua 7: portions of 10,12, and 13)
It was not the time to pray but it was time to act upon the direction given in prayer. Some people use intercession as an excuse to avoid doing what God has told them to do. Powerful intercession leads to dynamic, effective action. Some people continue to intercede when God has already answered but they did not like the answer. Review the story of Balaam in Numbers 22. Note especially verses 18-19. Balaam had no right to go to God with the same matter because God had already answered him (see verse 12).
FOR FURTHER STUDY
List the hindrances to effective intercession discussed in this study. Put a check mark by any that might be hindering your prayers. How can you eliminate these hindrances in your life?