Prayer Answers & Hindrances & God's Will

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            Isn’t it awesome that we can talk to (pray) to the Creator of the universe?  Even more humbling is the fact that God allows us to partner with Him in accomplishing His will on earth.  When we pray, God responds.  Therefore, nothing can be more important use of our time than to pray.  And nothing would be more valuable than learning how to pray effectively.  Learning to do just that is the subject of this study.

            Overview: We are going to discover the various ways God can answer our prayers, what hindrances there are to effective prayer, understand how we can pray in God’s will, and how we can prepare to hear God’s voice.

Answers To Prayer

1.      What do you think is God’s purpose in answering our prayers?  (Build our faith; align us with, and reveal to us His will; involve us in His work; His way of speaking to us.)

2.       In getting answers to prayer, what ingredients must we keep in mind?  Matt. 21:21-22; John 14:13-14; 1 John 5:14-15

3.      What four ways can God answer our prayers?  (Yes, no, wait, do something.)  2 Kings 6:15-20; 2 Cor. 12:7-10; Habakkuk 1:2, 5-6; 2:2-3; Acts 13:1-5

4.      What four voices must we discern between when listening for an answer?  (God, Satan, self, others.)  1 John 4:1

Hindrances To Prayer

            Sometimes our prayers go unanswered.  It may be that God is saying, “No” or Wait.”  But if we are praying clearly within God’s will, and it still goes unanswered, we need to do some internal examination to see if there is a hindrance that needs to be addressed or removed.  We need to ask the Holy Spirit to reveal what hindrances might be affecting our prayer life.  Read the following passages to discover what those hindrances might be.

1.      James 1:6-8  (ask doubting)

2.      James 4:3-4  (ask with wrong motives)

3.      1 Pet. 3:7-8  (not treating our family right)

4.      Psalm 40:12  (overwhelming guilt)

5.      Mark 11:25-26  (unforgiving spirit)

6.      Isaiah 59:1-2  (Ps. 66:18)  (sin)

7.      Ezek. 14:1-3  (idols in our lives)

8.      Prov. 21:13  (lack of generosity)

9.      Prov. 18:9  (disobedience)

Praying In God’s Will

            1 John 5:14-15  “And this is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.  And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.”

            1 John 3:22  “…and whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight.”

            James 3:17  “But the wisdom from above is first pure, then full of peace.”

            Praying in the will of God with all hindrances removed, is going to result in powerfully answered prayer.  And God’s answer is pure and full of peace.  So, the question is how do we pray in God’s will?

First of all, we need to pray that God would reveal His will to us.  Col. 1:9-10

Crucial to praying in God’s will is knowing God’s Word, for the Bible reveals His will.  For instance, would it be God’s will to pray for the salvation of a lost soul?  Someone hooked on drugs or alcohol to be delivered from them?  An unfaithful spouse to give up their adultery and return to their spouse? 

God’s “general will” is revealed in the Scriptures.  Praying in concert with what God has already expressed He wants to do will result in seeing Him answer that request.

Praying for God’s “specific will” is what He wants to do with you in His plan.  What do the following passages have to say that will guide us in discovering His specific will for us?

Psalm 37:7-9

Luke 22:41-42

1 Cor. 16:5-9

James 4:13-15

Rev. 6:9-11

Eph. 6:18-20

Acts 21:7-14

            Explain what you believe to be the difference in God’s will in the following categories:

God’s written will: (no question about it; it’s written down)

God’s direct will: (no budging it; He speaks it and it is done, as in Heaven)

God’s submissive will: (things He allows, but would rather it not happen)

Preparing To Hear God’s Voice

Rom. 12:1-2; Col. 4:12; Ps. 143:10

1.      Seek at the beginning to get your heart into such a state that you have no will of your own in regard to your request.

2.      Do not leave the result to come by an emotional feeling or impression.

3.      Seek the will of the Spirit in connection with the Word of God.

4.      Take into account providential circumstances that indicate God’s will.

5.      Ask God to reveal His will to you.  Once it comes, don’t question it as Gideon did with two fleeces.

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