This entry is part 1 of 3 in the series Don’t even bother praying if you haven’t done this!

Did you know that God doesn’t always listen to your prayers? And that sometimes your praying is a total waste of time?

Here are some scriptural references for confirmation if you’re a little skeptical.

In Jeremiah 7 the Lord is talking with Jeremiah the prophet saying he will not listen to any plea given up on behalf of the Israelites. Why? Because their wickedness was rife at the time and God had had enough of their disobedience and idol worship.

16“So do not pray for this people nor offer any plea or petition for them; do not plead with me, for I will not listen to you. -Jeremiah 7:16

Another interesting occurrence that proves that your prayer can sometimes be in vain is found in Job 42:7-9

7 After the Lord had said these things to Job, he said to Eliphaz the Temanite, “I am angry with you and your two friends, because you have not spoken the truth about me, as my servant Job has. 8So now take seven bulls and seven rams and go to my servant Job and sacrifice a burnt offering for yourselves. My servant Job will pray for you, and I will accept his prayer and not deal with you according to your folly. You have not spoken the truth about me, as my servant Job has.” 9So Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite did what the Lord told them; and the Lord accepted Job’s prayer.

This event not only proves that the Lord does not listen to our plea at times but also shows us the importance of praying for one another.

The three of them knew God. They heard his voice clearly. But God would not have listened to their prayer and would have dealt with them harshly as their deeds deserved if He were not a merciful God. In His mercy He sent them to a servant that He would listen to. One who was righteous in His sight. Hallelujah!!

I hope you now see why you and I need to continually pray for the lost in the world and those meddling with sin in the church. And how grateful we should be that Christ is making petition on our behalf, day and night. [Hebrews 7:25]

Glory be to the living God for His faithfulness!

“But we’re in the new testament now and our righteousness is through Christ”, you say.

Does this mean that God will always listen to our prayers and answer us?

Let me answer this by saying that our God is a God of principle and His nature and character does not change.

“I the LORD do not change. So you, the descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed.” – Malachi 3:6

So even though we have the privilege to go directly before God now, the effectiveness of our petition depends on us. The reason behind this is that there can be things in our lives that will prevent our prayers from being heard and hinder our requests from being answered.

While there are numerous hindrances to prayer, I’d like to talk to you about a specific hindrance that most people are either ignorant of or neglect to address in their lives.

This particular hindrance is a disease that is causing havoc in the lives of the children of God today and I hope to shed some light on it with revelation from the Spirit of God so that you address it, if need be, and grow to reach your full potential in Christ.

This sneaky culprit when left unchecked –

  • Will become a snare to you and stifle your growth in the Lord;
  • Will lead you to bitterness which is cancerous to your soul and hazardous to your health;
  • Will prevent God from hearing your prayers;
  • Will dull out the voice of the Spirit of God in your life thus preventing you from knowing the will of God;
  • Will cause all your offerings to be in vain;
  • And will prevent you from receiving the blessings that God has in store for you.

Now, wouldn’t you want to know the culprit that’s causing this much damage in your life and your walk with the Lord? Don’t you want to just hit him (if it were male) on the head with a spade or kick him in the nuts to render him totally useless? I know I would.

The good news is, you are about to learn who the culprit is and find out about the root cause and consequences associated with not apprehending him. You will also learn why you need to deal with it and how to weed it out completely from your life so that you receive your healing and be set free once and for all.

Who’s the culprit you ask?

Well, you’ll find out in the next chapter.

And trust me when I say the picture will become clearer as we go.

So stay tuned!

The Culprit that stifles your growth in the Lord

This entry is part 2 of 3 in the series Don’t even bother praying if you haven’t done this!

One of my favorite movies of all time is ‘A Knights Tale’, in which Heath Ledger plays the role of young William Thatcher; a peasant masquerading as a knight with the hope of changing his stars.

In one of the scenes William, who is in the stockade after being found out, is awarded with a knighthood by Edward, the Black Prince of Wales who states:

“He may be of humble origins. But my personal historians have discovered that he descends from an ancient royal line. This is my word. And as such is beyond contestation. Now, if I may repay the kindness you once showed me. Take a knee.”

Definitely one of my favorite movies! Anyway, let’s not digress too much. The relevance of this story will be discovered later. Now, where were we? Ah, yes! That blooming Culprit!

So who is this culprit that’s causing you to miss out on God’s fullness in your life and may have caused you to stumble one too many times?

Who is this culprit that leads you to bitterness which is cancerous to your soul and hazardous to your health?

Who is this culprit that stifles your growth in the Lord and causes your offerings to be in vain?

Who is this culprit that prevents God from hearing your prayers and you from knowing the will of God?

Who is this culprit that may have kept or may be keeping you in bondage?

The culprit is (drum roll please) ‘UNFORGIVENESS’. Yes!

Unforgiveness is a disease that needs to be treated, and quickly, if you are to reach your full potential in Christ.

The title of this study is – Don’t even bother praying if you haven’t done this! What do you need to do? Forgive. With such a bold statement for a title we need to go to the Word to clearly see the picture the Lord is painting for us. My thoughts on this matter don’t mean anything if they are not aligned with His Word.

Let us start with the Lord’s Prayer. There is a portion of the Lord’s Prayer that Jesus taught his disciples in – Mathew 6:12 that goes:

“Forgive us our sins as we have forgiven those who have sinned against us.”

The term forgiven here is a past participle. Which means it is something that you have already done. Completed. Finished.

But this verse in itself does not shed enough light as the Greek root word is the same for both forgive and forgiven. The word is aphiēmi [a-fe-a-me] and signifies to send away, set free and also to let alone.

So let us press on to get a clearer picture.

Know that whenever Jesus brought up forgiveness it was always in regards to prayer.

This is what He said after teaching His disciples how to pray in Mathew 6:14-15

14“For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”

I’d like to make it clear right now that forgiveness has nothing to do with your eternal salvation. In other words, you can’t forgive your way into heaven. If we could, we’d reduce God’s grace to works. And trying to be saved by works is tiring and a waste of time. But GRACE ROCKS! So let’s thank God for His grace!

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God not by works, so that no one can boast.
-Ephesians 2:8-9

The benefits of forgiveness is for the here and now and this will become clearer as we go.

Know now that it is pointless to go before the Lord if you haven’t forgiven those who have wronged you. It renders your petition useless and denies you the right to be heard and the right to be answered.

For confirmation of this let’s look at what Jesus said in Mathew 5:23-24

23“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.

And in Mark 11:25

25“And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”

And for the magnitude of forgiveness let’s look at what Jesus told Peter in Mathew 18:21-22

21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”
22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.”

That’s an awful lot of times, don’t you think?

Note that these are the words of our King. And as such, is beyond contestation. Seeeeee…I told you the story had relevance. *High five!*

Now that you know who the culprit is, the next chapter will address the root of this disease. You can also look forward to learning the fruits and the consequences of unforgiveness and clearly see the web of deceit that this culprit weaves when left unchecked.

Praise God for the Spirit of Truth that brings revelation!

There’s so much more to come – Stay tuned!

The Root Cause of unforgiveness

This entry is part 3 of 3 in the series Don’t even bother praying if you haven’t done this!

Have you ever had a small wound that you neglected to address and over time festered to become unbearable? And whenever someone moved close to it you’d move away so as to protect yourself and keep yourself from further pain?

I have. In fact just before embarking to write this, I had tiny bubble-like allergies on the inside of my left index and middle fingers that were caused by caustic dish washing paste.

It wasn’t until later however, that I realised the picture the Lord was trying to paint and the lesson that He was showing me through this experience.

You see these allergies started out pretty small so there was no point paying any attention to them…or so I thought. Before long these tiny bubble-like blisters festered up causing me much pain and discomfort.

I couldn’t focus at work and was also in a bad mood at home because of the pain and moved my hand away when anyone came close to touching it. For the slightest touch on this wound, which was now open with the raw flesh exposed, would send me squealing in pain. This of course was followed by anger at the person, or thing that interfered with my eroding fingers and at myself for being an idiot and neglecting to address the issue while it was still manageable. I was in silent agony with bitterness being all too obvious on my face which lacked the luster and smile that I normally wore.

By the time I addressed it, they were full blown sores and little boils that were oozing with puss and blood being released amidst the grinding of my teeth to swallow the pulsating pain whenever blood flowed into them.

The dressing however, gave it temporary relief but I couldn’t leave it on for too long as it felt like it was suffocating my fingers.

Through all this though the Lord painted a clear picture of the root of unforgiveness and how it affects our lives.

What did I need to learn and what was the Lord saying and showing me through this painful experience?

That the culprit, namely unforgiveness, begins as such.

A small wound when left unattended will fester to become unbearable and cause you much pain later on. And that pain will lead you to bitterness, which is cancerous to your soul and hazardous to your health. All because you allowed it to lay down roots in your heart and not deal with the issue while it was still small.

That wound may have begun as a tiny cut of words spoken at you in anger.

Or too many promises made that were broken.

Or your trust betrayed by those that should have had your best interest at heart.

Or being neglected as a child.

That wound may be the result of divorce, wondering who’s to blame as your picture of the fairy tale life ends up all tattered and torn.

Or growing up in a so called broken home, always comparing yourself to other children that had both parents around.

Or quarrels that were never settled because neither party was humble enough to apologize.

That wound may be unresolved sibling rivalry with the potential of leading to murder like Cain and Abel.

It may be the result of an innocent playful relationship followed by nine months of carrying an unexpected gift, all the while being angry at yourself for winding up in such a predicament.

It may be the result of abuse, be it sexual, physical or psychological.

Whatever the root cause of unforgiveness is, it will grow to become poisonous and land you in a prison of bitterness if you do not address it while the wound is still small.

I’ll be sharing more on the prison of bitterness later on.

Know today however, that the Lord wants to heal you, restore you and make you whole.

But in order for this to happen, you need to address the root cause of unforgiveness in your life. Mary Demuth in her book, Live Uncaged wrote

“In order to put your past to sleep, we must first face it.”

So will you face your past today by allowing the Lord to expose the root of those wounds in your heart?

Will you give Him access today to those areas in your heart that you’ve shut the door on because it was easier?

Will you allow Him to mend your broken heart like only He can?

Will you allow yourself to be vulnerable in His hands as the clay would a potter?

You may be wondering what gives me the right to talk about such an issue. Well, let’s just say I’ve been there and I know all too well the snare and the prison we can build for ourselves when we allow the culprit, unforgiveness, to roam free.

And just in case you think you’re exempt from dealing with this culprit, I’ll be sharing a list of self test questions to help expose some hidden issues of the heart, in the next chapter.

So unless you want to walk on in ignorance and not receive your healing to prepare yourself for all that God has in store for you, may I kindly suggest that you stay tuned.

Please feel free to shoot me an email if you have any questions or would like to share your testimony.