A Closer Walk
Sometimes it seems that no matter how earnest our prayer, our Heavenly Father delays His answer. Whether we offer supplication or petition, or we beseech or entreat our Lord, He still seems to be quiet, and our answer doesn't come. As human beings we sometimes tend to be impatient, and so we expect our prayers to be answered quickly. But our God is an Eternal God. And His answers to our prayers may have Eternal implications. It is worth reminding ourselves that our Lord's timetable is different than ours; and that “No” is an answer. Even so, there could be barriers or hindrances that are holding back our answer.
One hindrance for husbands is found in 1 Peter. “You husbands likewise, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with a weaker vessel, since she is a woman; and grant her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered,” 1 Peter 3:7 NASB. We husbands may have our prayers hindered if we don't live with our wives in an understanding way, and honor them as a fellow heir of the grace of life. Hmmm. There's some food for thought.
Unconfessed sin can be a hindrance for all of us; men, women, boys, and girls. “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me,” Psalm 66:18 KJV. If we are placing value on sin or wickedness by refusing to acknowledge and confess it, our Lord may choose to not hear our prayers.
Asking with wrong motives can hinder our prayers. “...You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures,” James 4:2-3 NASB. Sometimes we might ask for something with wrong motives. An illustration: “Lord, if you would provide me with a brand new Cadillac every year, I could use that Cadillac to bring people to church so they could worship and praise you. I just need that brand new Cadillac every year.” Some might call this making a deal with God: “God if you will do this, then I will do that.” If we make a deal with God, who is most likely to not live up to their end of the deal, God or us? Here is a hint, it will never be God. Wrong motives may hinder our prayers.
In Daniel chapter 10 we see another barrier or hindrance. "In those days I, Daniel, had been mourning for three entire weeks. I did not eat any tasty food, nor did meat or wine enter my mouth...until the entire three weeks were completed. And on the twenty fourth day of the first month...I lifted my eyes and looked and behold, there was a certain man...”And he said to me, 'O Daniel, man of high esteem...I have been sent to you'...Then he said to me, 'Do not be afraid, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart on understanding this and on humbling yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to your words. But the Prince of the Kingdom of Persia was withstanding me for twenty-one days; then behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me...Now I have come to give you an understanding of what will happen to your people in the latter days'," Daniel 10:2, 11-14 NASB. This certain man is believed by many to be an angel, specifically a messenger angel. The Prince of the Kingdom of Persia could be an evil angel or a human Prince (scholars come down on both sides). Michael, one of the chief princes, is believed by many to be the Archangel Michael (sometimes referred to as the Warrior Angel, which would explain his help and presence here).
This passage from Daniel was deliberately chosen for this discussion to illustrate and make the point that sometimes our answer being delayed has nothing to do with us. Notice please, that the certain man told Daniel, “I have been sent to you...for from the first day that you set your heart on understanding this...”. The response was sent to Daniel the very first day, but something completely beyond Daniel's control was preventing the response from arriving. What if Daniel had stopped praying?
Things we are doing, or not doing, could be hindering the answer to our prayers. For husbands, if we don't live with our wives in an understanding way that could be a hindrance. For all of us, unconfessed sin or asking with wrong motives could hinder our prayers. And there could be times when our answer being delayed is due to something completely beyond our control. Plus, we should remember that our Lord's timetable is different than ours. But regardless, we should continue praying, and remember this verse, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose,” Romans 8:28 NASB.