Richard Weirich

Hindrances to Answered Prayer

Hindrances to Answered Prayer

He mocks proud mockers but gives grace to the humble.

Proverbs 3:34

Have you ever been laughed at because of your faith? If so, the offender wasn’t just mocking you, he was ridiculing God. That’s because, the faith that is in you is from the Lord.

Now, let’s turn that question around. Have you ever looked down on someone because he or she is not in the faith? Or, have you ever viewed yourself as spiritually superior to another Christian?

Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. Romans 12:3

Mockery means to tease or laugh at in a scornful or contemptuous manner. And our focus text adds the modifier “proud.” Proud mockery = arrogance. Thinking more highly of yourself than you should and looking down on others. When we look down — we putdown.

“He mocks proud mockers” means God rejects those who reject Him. Consequently, we conclude this declaration is not for us, but directed at unbelievers. But in the New Testament, both in James 4:6 and Peter 5:5 this same scripture is applied to Christians.

James makes application for those believers who can’t get along with one another (James 4:1-2), and those who embrace “friendship with the world.” (James 4:4) We become “proud mockers” when we walk contrary to God’s word and the leading of the Holy Spirit.

“God gives grace to the humble.”  James adds the word “more.” (James 4:6) God gives more grace to those who walk in obedience.

James teaches there are two hindrances to answered prayer, and they are rooted in Proverbs 3:34.

The first hindrance to answered prayer is praying with wrong motives.

“When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” (v3) As we’ve already seen, James calls these misguided motives, “friendship with the world.” Our prayers are amiss because they are self-centered and not God-centered.

Does that mean we shouldn’t pray for a new house, or a new car, or a better income? No. As long as those THINGS don’t take us away from God or conflict with His word, we can proceed with those requests.

The second hindrance to answered prayer is a lack of humility.  

But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” James 4:6

Jesus told us to pray, “Thy will be done.” (Matthew 6:10) When faced with the cross Jesus prayed, “Not my will but your will.” (Luke 22:42) If God grants your request will it bring Him glory?

At the heart of humility is a fervent desire to please the Lord — to submit to His instruction, counsel, and leading. (James 4:6a) When the heart is right, your prayers will be right.

When we ignore God’s commands and do what we know in our hearts is wrong, we become proud mockers. Arrogant. Self-willed. Self-absorbed. Self-indulgent. In effect we’re saying, “I will do what I want despite what You say. I know better than You.”

Not only does a lack of humility hinder prayer, but it leads to trouble. “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” (Proverbs 16:18)

Pray responsibly. Consider your motives. If God answers your prayer where will it take you? Would granting your request potentially take you away from the Lord? Consider your attitude. Is it one of humility, surrendered to the will and instruction of the Lord?

For more on this topic, check out this article: God Will Meet All Your Needs

Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 4 (October – December) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.

Please Share Your Comments