by Melissa Nordell
Some people say that there is nothing that can hinder your prayers – but the Bible is clear that certain things can cause prayers and intercession to be unanswered. Please read the following scriptures, meditate on them, and inquire of the Lord if any of the following could be what is hindering your requests:
1. Prov 16:18 “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” Pride can stop intercession. It may not be outright haughtiness, but just personal pride in works and prayer or other types of pride. Also, pride causes controlling intercession and requests that are not in God’s will but selfish in nature, which will not be answered. Pride makes people lean on their own understanding and pray amiss.
2. John 10:27 “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” This is perhaps the greatest need in intercession since you must be able to know God’s voice and follow His voice in order to intercede properly. Intercession is more than prayer – it is following Holy Spirit as Jesus did. This is the way to know God’s will in a situation. And by following Holy Spirit, there is always an answer to your intercession, just as Jesus never did anything that He did not hear His Father say or do (John 5:19). Prayer can be amiss, with it being unanswered, but true intercession by hearing God correctly never fails because it is Him. Learn to hear His voice and follow it.
3. 1 Cor 9:26 “So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air.” This means that we must not just throw up prayers aimlessly. Another way of saying this is to not shoot up scud missile prayers; but rather, intercede with smart bombs hitting the exact target. You must hear from the Lord and follow His lead to hit the target precisely, thereby getting your answer. Know how to hear Him and follow His direction.
4. Matt 5:44 “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” If you pray or intercede without love, in anger, with un-Godly control, or with vengeance, it will not be answered. Jesus commanded us to pray FOR our enemies – not against them and not for harm to come to them. Always pray in love. 1 Cor 13: 6 says about love: “… it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth,” so pray love prayers and do not rejoice that something bad happened or could happen to a person or persons you want to judge. Soulish prayers (also called charismatic witchcraft) include prayers that are not in love. When you bless someone as the Lord commanded us, the Lord decides what will help them and will probably include something you do not expect. A teaching moment, His chastening, salvation and deliverance are just some examples of blessings from the Lord. He is the Judge. You can ask the Lord for justice; but remember, when asking that, the Lord may bring justice to the person and correction for you as well since, again, He is the One, true and righteous Judge (see #’s 12 & 13).
5. Eph 6:12 “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” Don’t wrestle against, or control, a person or a group as this will cause your intercession to be unanswered. Never pray in the flesh. You can’t go wrong interceding only as the Lord directs, or by praying in tongues. In true intercession, the Lord may show what evil spirit (principality, power, or other evil spirits) is behind the problem and give instructions as to what to do accordingly; but only do as He directs, in His timing. Many times your prayers are not answered until you get out of the way, out of your flesh, and just intercede; therefore He gets all the Glory.
6. John 10:10 “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” Pray and declare life as Jesus did, even to your harshest enemy or the meanest person in the world, as God’s main concern is that they have life and salvation, no matter who they are. If you are praying destruction, God will not honor that.
7. Hosea 4:6 “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.” Be sure to study the Word of God and use it often in declarations and decrees. Use the Word, though, in context and not amiss. Read the whole chapter of a scripture in order to understand what God is saying. Never take anyone’s word that a scripture means a certain thing – check it out for yourself. If you use the scripture in a wrong way, it will not be answered. Always use God’s Word wisely and carefully. Keys to praying correctly and successfully are in the Word of God.
8. Ps 37:4 “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” This scripture means that He not only gives us what we need but also what we desire (as long as it is good for you or for the person/people you are interceding for). Never say that God only gives us our needs, as that is unscriptural. If you do not believe He gives us our desires, it will not have the faith necessary to have it come to pass. However, delight in the Lord first, above all else. If He is not Lord over everything in your life, and you do not delight and honor Him, your prayers will be hindered.
9. 1 Tim 4:7 “Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness.” Be sure that you are not praying something that is religious, repetitive or not in God’s Word. Many intercessors copy what someone else prays but do not realize what they are actually saying, often not making any sense and achieving nothing. These are “silly myths.” Always listen to the Lord, do or say what He says, and you will not go wrong. Some things that I hear in intercession are not even scriptural. Do not just copy others but learn and grow in intercession and His instructions in the Word.
10. Matt 26:40 “Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter.” You must actually intercede! Don’t just think about it and believe that your thoughts will take care of it. Always intercede until you feel the burden lift, or until the Lord says that you are done for the time being. Don’t quit too soon. Never think that something, including prophetic words, will just happen – you must intercede. Don’t just rely on others in prayer – intercede yourself. Complaining, lamenting, gossipping and grieving are not prayer and not pro-active for getting an answer. Many people are often heard preaching to the Lord or telling Him what the problem is as if He doesn’t know already, and not declaring, decreeing, not pro-active, not actually praying but then expecting an answer. Watch your words and who you are talking to (the King of all Kings, the One True and Righteous Judge). Use the Holy Spirit within you to direct your words and use the authority and power God gave you.
11. Mark 4:40 “He said to his disciples, ‘Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?’” This is part of the story of the disciples and Jesus in the boat in the storm. All prayers and intercession must have faith. Even well-seasoned intercessors sometimes forget to include faith which literally rides on the words of the prayer to reach Jesus’ ears and make it happen.
12. Matt 7:1-2 ““Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Ungodly judgments hinder your prayers/intercession. Intercede without judgments, or just pray in tongues which is perfect prayer. Ungodly judgments are a form of ungodly control. Just intercede and let God handle what you have wanted to judge. Judge demonic spirits only, not the person (see #5 above). Do not get in the flesh. Realize that ungodly judgments will come back on you as it says in these scriptures.
13. James 2:13 “…because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment.” Always pray/intercede with mercy. God wants mercy for all. God is very clear in this scripture also, that if you do not pray in mercy, you will not be shown mercy and unmerciful prayers are not answered.
14. Matt 6: 5-8 “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” Read all of Matthew 6. It is hypocritical prayer to be seen by others, to impress others; and these requests will not be answered since this is flesh. Intercede humbly as God directs. Also, many people pray as if they are talking to the people in corporate prayer, to be heard by others or preach to others, when they need to be talking to the Lord in fear and awe of Him as if they were at His throne (which they truly are if in real intercession). Even subtle, self-glorifying prayers are not heard by the Lord.
15. James 1:5-7 “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.” This scripture tells us that doubting nullifies intercession and that He will give you wisdom in how to intercede effectively if you ask. Do not pray in faith, then begin to doubt. He will give you wisdom as to how to have faith and how to intercede for any situation. Never lean on your own understanding. His ways are always higher.
16. 1 Pet 3:7 “Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honor unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.” Husbands who do not honor their wives will not have their prayers answered, as this scripture in God’s Word clearly states. It stands to reason that it could be the same for wives who do not honor their husbands as well.
17. Prov 28:9 “ He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination.” You must personally know, honor and obey the law in order for your prayers to be answered. Personal sin can stop prayer so we must know His law. Do not forsake learning more about His law and His commands every day. Do not forsake learning and growing in intercession, as well as assembling with others in church and worship in order to grow in Him.
18. Ps 66:18 “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.” If you are bitter or unforgiving, all your prayers will not even be heard, regardless. Seek healing, let things go, and forgive no matter how bad the situation.
19. Isa 59:2 “But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.” Personal sin will stop your prayers from being heard. Inquire of the Lord, repent, and renounce. Do not just think of the “Big 3” sins, as I call them (smoking, drinking, and sexual sin), as there are many other sins in the Bible that all stem out of pride and flesh. We all sin, but God can hide His face and not hear you in order to get you to stop the behavior; so inquire of Him always. He is a good Abba Father, who wants us to get rid of sin because He loves us and will sometimes not answer until we change.
20. James 4:3 “Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.” If you are praying selfish, coveting prayers, they will not be answered. Always pray God’s will. The safe thing to do is to always say “I pray YOUR will, God, in this situation.” Or better yet, pray in tongues. “Consuming it upon your lusts” does not just mean sexual things, it also means selfish, controlling prayers which are your will and your fleshly desires that are not God’s will. This has to do with prayer for others especially because what you want may not be what the other person wills and may not be what is best for them.
21. Prov 21:13 “Whoso stoppeth his ears at the cry of the poor, he also shall cry himself, but shall not be heard.” Never forsake the poor but give and help them when you can, as not doing so will cause your prayers to not be heard.
22. Luke 18:1 “Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart…” Luke 18 is the parable of the unjust judge where Jesus is teaching us to keep on asking. Read all of Luke 18. Matt 7:7 says, “Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you” (NLT). We need to have faith the first time we ask, but there is no scripture that says only ask once. Never give up.
23. John 14:14 “You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” Not interceding or praying using the words “in Jesus’ name” makes the request of no effect. Nothing is done in your name or by your blood – so be aware every time you pray or intercede that you must say this after you entreat the Lord.
(Copyright 2019 Strategic Prayer Command Ministry, Melissa Nordell)