I vacuumed my house the other day. It looked like the vacuum cleaner was working well but then I noticed that some crumbs and some particles were not being picked up. I took the vacuum apart to see what was going on. There was an obstruction somewhere. It took me a while to find it but once I did and I took out what was blocking the way, the vacuum did its job. It made me think of how sometimes in our spiritual lives there is an obstruction. We pray and pray. Our prayers sound fine to us but when we pay close attention, the dust, the problem is not getting picked up. There is an obstruction somewhere that we need to locate. There is something getting in the way of our prayers. There are particles that are left on the floor of our intentions and those particles are leaving our spiritual ground dirty. They need to be dealt with if we want to have a clean floor to lean on and see our prayers answered. Now, I am not saying that this is always the case. Sometimes we don’t see answers to our prayers because it is not God’s timing. Sometimes we pray outside of God’s will. Sometimes the answer is there but it is not obvious to us. When the issue is an obstruction that keeps us from getting a clear path to our answer, there needs to be some time spent scanning our lives to find out what the obstruction is. Holding a grudge, not forgiving someone, jealousy or gossiping are spiritual obstructions that should be brought up to our attention. This is not a popular message but it is an important message. When we are not walking in love in some areas, there is a hurdle in our prayer life. Jesus encouraged us to forgive when we pray. He put unforgiveness right there with prayer. There is a link between the two. Today I am inviting you to find any possible obstruction in your prayer life. I know I must take a deep look in the mirror at times and find the particles that are blemishing my spiritual complexion.
Unforgiveness is one of the main hindrances in our prayer lives. It is the unwillingness or the inability to forgive someone. When you can’t let go of what someone did to you that was wrong, you are making holes in your prayer life. You are allowing negative feelings to pierce your prayer life. You are stepping outside of love in a part of your life and that creates some spiritual disturbance. It creates traffic on the way to some blessings and some answers to your prayers. Again, I am not saying it is always the case. God’s mercy and grace are amazing gifts to us but living in a realm outside of love is living outside of God’s will. Can you think of someone you have not forgiven? If you do, this is what I suggest you do. Ask God to forgive you for not forgiving. Forgive the person. Ask the Spirit of God to help you detach yourself from unforgiveness and pray for the person. Pray that God would bless him or her. Let love be the power that removes the obstruction by praying for the person. Keep at it. Make it a daily prayer. Pray for the person to be blessed. Pray for the person to have a connection with God or to develop a stronger connection with God. Pray for the person to receive peace and joy. Thank God for that person. Forgive, pray, and praise God. That powerful trio will help you release ill feelings, bitterness, and anything else that is negatively impacting your heart.
Jealousy and gossiping are other elements that hinder our prayer lives. Jealousy is wishing we had what someone else has. It is coveting the wrong things. It is also being dissatisfied with what we have. It is basically telling God that what we have is not good enough and we should be given what others have. It is being ungrateful toward God. “God, I don’t like my life. Give me what So and So has” is not a prayer that will be heard. Jealousy is poison. It hurts us more than it hurts the one we are jealous of. It is another way of stepping out of love. Gossiping often comes out of jealousy but it can also pop up on its own. When we talk about people behind their backs, we set ourselves up. We walk on a line that doesn’t lead to love. Our words have power. Gossiping has the power to alienate us from God’s heart. God doesn’t like backbiting and slandering. They are not His language. They are not love-centered. They are obstructions to our prayers. If you know that you have feelings and negative thoughts toward someone, take the high road and take it to God. Be the bigger person and let God of anything that is denting your prayer life. It will change you and it will bless you. Keep praying for others. Put them first when you pray and your prayers will be strong.
Suggested reading: Mark 11:25; Ephesians 4:29; James 1:26