Hindered Prayer Part 2

Therefore He says: “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.” James 4:6 (NKJV)

We are looking at a three-part devotional series titled, Hindered Prayer. In Part 1, we looked at how God is never out of range, but how we can hinder our prayers when certain criteria exist within our lives.  We looked at two things causing hindrance (bad reception) in our prayers (calls) to God.  They were, 

1. Unconfessed sin.

2. Asking for selfish reasons.

Okay, let’s continue to look at some known things causing hindrance in our prayers to God. 

3. Self-righteousness and Pride

The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, “God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’ And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, “God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” Luke 18:11-14 (NKJV)

This is a great and humbling story for us to read and to remember, because there can be a temptation for us to feel as though we have achieved some sort of spiritual supremacy by our reading the Bible and attending church and Bible studies. This Pharisee experienced this very temptation and failed, causing him to think he’d achieved some higher level thereby placing him above other believers.  Sometimes we can look on others and see their sin so clearly and yet miss our own completely.  Jesus spoke of this.

And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?  Or how can you say to your brother, “Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. Matthew 7:3-5 (NKJV)

Notice God didn’t say we shouldn’t try to remove the speck from our brother’s eye—He said, “First remove the plank from your own eye.”  Then — and only then — we should confront our brother in love (Matt. 18:15-20; Gal. 6:1). 

Okay, another reason our prayers to God can be hindered is, 

4. Our unwillingness to listen to the cries of those who are poor. 

Whoever shuts his ears to the cry of the poor will also cry himself and not be heard. Proverbs 21:13 (NKJV)

Having compassion on others should be a natural byproduct of our regeneration and a healthy walk with God.  God was compassionate with us, loving us while we were yet sinners (Rom. 5:8), and we are to be imitators of Him (Eph 5:1). Jesus made this point very clear as well when He spoke these words: 

“Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’ “Then they also will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’ Then He will answer them, saying, “Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ Matthew 25:41-45

It is so important for us to have a soft and compassionate heart — one willing to look to the needs of others.  When we do this God is faithful to hear us in our times when we cry out to Him.  

STUDY QUESTION: What can we learn from the Scriptures contained within this devotional with regard to being humble, and compassionate? 

PERSONAL INVENTORY: Are you walking in a humble spirit?  Do you have compassion upon others, especially those who have caused their own downfall by sinful actions?

PRACTICAL APPLICATION: Seek to imitate God and the way Jesus lived. 

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Father, thank You for Your compassion for me.  Thank You for Your willingness to become a man and to die for me upon the cross of Calvary.  Lord, let me see others in the way You see them, and show me how I can better serve them.  Give me the wisdom to guide my actions.  In Jesus’ precious name, amen…


May the Lord bless your day abundantly, Scott


Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Bible text from the New King James Version is not to be reproduced in copies or otherwise by any means except as permitted in writing by Thomas Nelson, Inc., Attn: Bible Rights and Permissions, P.O. Box 141000, Nashville, TN 37214-1000