Three days left on our 40 Days of Prayer journey together. I received an email this past week from Keystone’s member with a list of ways our prayers can become ineffective. I really liked the list and want to share it with you in the category of

10 Ways Not To Pray

1. Praying in any other name than Jesus

“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’” – John 14:6. (NIV)

In that day you will no longer ask me anything. Very truly I tell you, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete. – John 16:23-24 (NIV)

2. Praying while ignoring the scriptures

If anyone turns a deaf ear to my instruction, even their prayers are detestable. –Proverbs 28:9 (NIV)

Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask, because we keep his commands and do what pleases him. –1 John 3:21-22 (NIV)

3. Praying to impress others

“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. –Matthew 6:5-8 (NIV)

4. Praying while I am mistreating others

Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers. – 1 Peter 3:7

Although culture has changed and the position of women in our society and in our homes has changed, the verse’s point is that our prayers can be hindered by the way we treat those around us.

5. Praying with unconfessed sin or refusing to repent

If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened; but God has surely listened and has heard my prayer. – Psalm 66:18-19 (NIV)

6. Praying with unforgiveness in my heart

And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” – Mark 11:25-26 (NIV)

7. Praying while ignoring the needy

Whoever shuts their ears to the cry of the poor will also cry out and not be answered. –Proverbs 21:13 (NIV)

8. Praying with wrong motives

When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. –James 4:3 (NIV)

9. Praying with doubt

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. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do. –James 1:6-8 (NIV)

Doubting God can do something is what is in mind here. Some have abused this verse’s use to claim that prayer not answered the way we prayed was due to a lack of faith on our part. That isn’t always the case. Sometimes God says, “No” to our prayers regardless of our confidence in His ability. God loves us but is also committed to His plans and His purposes and sometimes that means He cannot grant our requests. But we need to go to Him with the knowledge and belief that He can do all things.

10. Not Praying

You do not have because you do not ask God.  –James 4:2b (NIV)