I never cease to be amazed at the things I pick up when listening to the Word of God that I don't catch when I'm reading it. Friday, I was listening to Mark 1. In it was the story of a man that Jesus healed. After He healed him, Jesus told him not to tell anyone who had done it. But the man didn't listen. Instead he went all around the city broadcasting his healing and telling everyone who had healed him. He didn't obey the instructions that Jesus had given him. Consequently, Jesus had to go outside the city into the wilderness areas to preach instead of being able to stay close to the people in the city. This healed man hindered the ability of the Lord to minister in the lives of people!
Disobedience hinders the Lord.
This got me to thinking. Can the Lord be hindered? What hinders the all powerful God? So I did a little (seriously, just a little) digging.
In Matthew 15, Jesus went into his own hometown to preach, teach and perform miracles. Because of their familiarity with Jesus on a human level, they could not relate to Him on a spiritual level so the spiritual works of Jesus were hindered because they could not believe that He was sent by God. So "he did not do many miracles because of their unbelief." In another book it says that He could only heal a few, minor problems because of their unbelief.
Unbelief hinders the Lord.
In 1 Peter 3:7 it says that a man who does not honor a weaker vessel (in this case, his wife) as a fellow heir of the grace of life will hinder his own prayers. I wonder if that wouldn't apply to anyone who looks down on another believer because that person possesses "lesser gifts" by God's design? Or perhaps that person is not at the same level of maturation and knowledge so he is looked down on by those "more learned" (and I use that term lightly because anyone who does this is not very "learned" at all and "thinks more highly of himself than he ought")! Example: The Pharisee and the publican praying in the synagogue in Luke 18:10.
Dishonoring (lack of love and respect toward) others hinders the Lord.
In Luke 11:52, Jesus accused the lawyers of hindering the people by failing to have knowledge thus hindering themselves and others in the knowledge of God. In Hosea 6, the Lord said that HIS people (not the heathen) are destroyed due to lack of knowledge! Because of their rejection of the Word, they had forgotten the law of the Lord and the Lord rejected them! (Ugh, I think that means that He didn't hear and answer their prayers.)
Ignorance of the Word and will of God hinders the Lord.
Scripture is very clear that there are things that can stand in the way of God keeping Him from ministering to us. The problem is not on God's end either! It's on our end! When I am praying and seemingly not getting a response from God, I immediately allow the Holy Spirit to take a look-see into my heart to see if there is anything there that may be hindering the Lord. Is there un-confessed sin? Is there doubt? Is there ignorance of what the will of God is? Is there unresolved conflict in a relationship? Is there pride? Once that is taken care of, I can move on to praying about my needs or desires.
I am a firm believer that God only answers the prayer of faith. Faith knows the answer because it is the will of God. We know the will of God by knowing the Word of God. So anything we ask God for must be His will as revealed in His Word! It is only then that we can pray knowing that our faith can get the answer from God. Mark 11 clearly tells us that if we will pray the will of God in faith, God will give us our request every time. This is why "if it be thy will" prayers often result in an answer we were not seeking-like in healing. God only answers prayers that are according to His will. How can you pray something according to God's will if you don't know what His will is? We must first come to know the will of God and then we can pray in faith knowing that God will hear and respond to His own will and Word! How can we know the will of God? Know the Word of God!!! He NEVER denies His own Word. We can literally receive anything if we know the will of God and have faith! The omission of either of these two things hinders God to the point that we cannot receive from Him!
I've heard the trite little saying that when we pray God either says yes, no or wait. This way of thinking pretty much leaves the chips to fall where they may leaving us really no control or expectation over what we were praying about. (That is not faith, by the way!) The Word says that "God's promises are YES and AMEN!" I don't see NO or WAIT anywhere in that verse. When did Jesus ever deny anything to anyone who asked in faith and according to His will? HE DIDN'T. He never told anyone to WAIT either! If you are praying and asking God for something that you know is according to His will and not receiving, then you better check your faith level. If you have faith for something but are not seeing it, then you better double check to make sure that it falls within the parameters of God's will. It really is this simple folks! Once you you know where you are lacking, get into the Word of God so that you can fix it and get what you need from God! This honors God! This glorifies Him in your eyes and the eyes of those who know you. Answered prayer testifies of the greatness, the love, the power, the mercy and the ability of God to everyone that knows you! HE WANTS TO ANSWER YOUR PRAYERS! HE WANTS TO MAKE HIMSELF KNOWN AND HE WANTS TO USE YOUR PRAYERS TO DO IT!