Prayer & Fasting Series – Sermon 1

January 15, 2017

1 Thessalonians 5:17 (NLT) Never stop praying.

 

But we do stop praying…sometimes not praying for days…

What stops us from praying?

 Let’s consider 3 HINDRANCES TO PRAYER
 
1. Unbelief / Doubt.
2 Greek words in the NT for Doubt:
  • Diakrino—undecided on what to do due to lack of information.
  • Distazo—uncommitted to what one knows can be done; skepticism.

2 Greek words in the NT for Unbelief:

  • Apistea—having little or no faith; a conscious choice not to trust.
  • Apeitheia—unwilling to believe; complete disbelief; apathy.

There is a progressive escalation:

First, a person may doubt (diakrino) because they don’t know about God.

Second, after being instructed about God through His Word, a person doubts (distazo) because they can’t decided what to do, give their life to God or not.

Then, a person moves into unbelief (apistea) by not wanting to accept God’s free gift of salvation.

Lastly, a person settles into unbelief (apeitheia), unwilling to believe and trust God.

 

What’s the cure for doubt and unbelief?

Mark 11:23-24 (NIV) 23 “Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them. 24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”

Believe God and what He says in His Word!

Commit yourself to trust God and do what He says!
 
 
2. Unforgiveness.
The Bible commands us to forgive others if we want to forgive us and hear our prayers.

The Lord’s Prayer: Matthew 6:12, 14-15 (NIV) 12 “And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

 

Unforgiveness blocks our peace with God, and takes our joy away.

Unforgiveness exposes our marriages & families to bitterness.

Unforgiveness hinders our prayers!

 

The Cure for unforgiveness?

Mark 11:25 (NIV) “And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”

Colossians 3:13 (NIV) Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

Matthew 18:35 (NIV) …forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”

Why withhold what God so freely given to us?

Humble yourself and get right with Godand with everyone else!

 
3. Unconfessed Sin.

Psalm 66:18-19 (NIV) 18 If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened; 19 but God has surely listened and has heard my prayer. 

The prayer of a sinner who repents and wants God’s forgiveness will certainly be heard.

But the prayer of an unrepentant heart with hidden, unconfessed sin God will not hear.

 

The Cure for Unconfessed sin?

Humble yourself and confess (agree with God) that you have sin and want forgiveness.

Daniel 9:18 (NIV) We do not make requests of You because we are righteous, but because of Your great mercy.

Psalm 19:12-14 (NIV)

12 But who can discern their own errors. Forgive my hidden faults.

13 Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me.

   Then I will be blameless, innocent of great transgression.

14 May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart

   be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer

.

Conclusion:

When we pray, we must believe in God and that He hears us!

1 John 5:14-15 (NIV)
14 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of Him

Remember: Never Stop Praying!