Can sin hinder your prayers?

(Luna) #1

Is it possible that sin stops God from hearing you? Even if you don’t want to commit the sin and don’t have any control over it like you want. Can this stop your relationship with God in such a way that you can’t hear from him or that he doesn’t hear you anymore?

(SeanO) #2

@Luna Yes, our sin can prevent God listening to our prayers. However, God never despises a broken heart and is always faithful and just to forgives us our sins :slight_smile: Think of King David in Psalms 51 - he was repenting of murder and adultery, but he knew that the Lord would receive him if he truly, contritely sought forgiveness and transformation.

So, yes, sin can put a wall between us and God. But no matter what sin you may have committed, there is always a simple solution. Confess your sins to God in Jesus’ name and ask Him to tabernacle with you and the Lord will hear and come. But God never leaves us the same. As C. S. Lewis has said - “God does not love us because we are good, He makes us good because He loves us.” God loves us so much that if we come to Him He will not allow us to remain the same, but will teach us to walk in obedience to Him - in purity, truth and love.

These threads may also help you think through the reality that as Christians we are still imperfect and do still make mistakes.

you are a child in God’s family once you repent. A father does not kick their child out of the family every time they stumble - especially when they are young and still learning to walk. In the same way, our Heavenly Father does not kick us out every time we stumble, but He does discipline us, just as a father a child he loves (Hebrews 12:4-12). We need to take sin seriously - we need to repent - but we do not need to fear that we will be kicked out every time we fall. The Father is there to pick us up and help us continue on the journey.

Isaiah 59:1-2 - Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save,
nor his ear too dull to hear.
2 But your iniquities have separated
you from your God;
your sins have hidden his face from you,
so that he will not hear.

Psalms 51:17 - My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.

1 John 1:9 - If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

Also consider Ahab, one of the most wicked kings in Israel’s history.

In I Kings 21 God had just pronounced terrible judgment on Ahab and Jezebeel and the author of I Kings makes it clear that Ahab is a bad dude. But after hearing this judgment, Ahab repents and in a shocking display of mercy God relents from sending disaster. We see the same attitude with Nineveh when Jonah prophesies against them. In spite of all their wickedness, God forgave them when they truly confessed.

(Kathleen) #3

Hi, @Luna! That’s a corker of a question; thanks so much for asking it on here. :slight_smile:

I tend toward the view that God hears all prayers to him, but has his reasons for either

  1. answering them in a way and in a timeframe that the pray-er desires or
  2. not answering by the expected means and in the desired/expected timeframe. (“No”, of course, is an answer.)

We all have sin in our life, and it is God’s mode of operation to love us where we are and to root it out of our hearts day-by-day. So, yes, as @SeanO said, our idolatry (worshipping of something other than God) does hinder a full and flourishing relationship with God, but this is a state rather common to humanity as a whole!

I remember living in terror that, after a certain point of me not doing what was right, God would no longer think me worth saving. That He would turn a deaf ear to my cries for help because I hadn’t earned it…I hadn’t been good enough to deserve it…that my sin was greater than His will to love. I deeply feared that He would give up on me. It was a glorious and freeing day when He, in grace and mercy, broke through that self-righteousness and wrapped His arms around me. I believe that we are loved out of our sin/idolatry rather than shamed out of it.

I don’t know if this is a personal question for you or if a friend is asking this question of you, but I’m curious to know how you understand the relationship between God, humanity, and sin. Is sin for me to overthrow or God?

(Tim Behan) #4

Hi Luna,

Thanks for that question… I kind of feel that there are two parts in your question. Firstly can sin stop God from hearing your prayers. Secondly can sin stop you from hearing God.

I think that I would really hesitate before saying that anything could get in the way of God being able to do anything… so in one sense nothing will get in the way of God hearing your prayers. If my being sinful got in the way of God hearing my prayer, he hasn’t heard anything from me yet because I know my heart and my actions better than anyone barring Him.

But I do think that there is a sense that our current state will always affect how we pray, how often we pray, our mindset as we pray… and in that sense, yes, our sin does have an affect on our prayer.

As SeanO said, God desires us to come to him in confession with a contrite spirit. But I don’t think there is anything that would stop God from hearing our prayers… indeed I imagine he hears prayers we don’t even voice out loud or intentionally formulate in our thoughts. He hears and understands as we cry out to him in whatever form and he will work through his Spirit for our good in all things (regardless of whether we recognise them as good or not).

Those are just some thoughts… I hope (and pray) that they are a help.

(Luna) #5

My mind says its for God to overthrow but emotionally I feel its my sin so its my problem. I want to be free but not sure how to battle this. Other times God has delivered me from sin it was truly him and not anything I did. I kind of one day just didn’t want to do it anymore.

This time around its a lot harder. I kind of gave up with this particular issue. I’ve got so many lol

(SeanO) #6

@Luna Have you taken the time to think through what is triggering this particular behavior or discussed it at length with some wise, godly women you know? Sometimes if our brain is stuck in a rut it can take time to get it out of the rut and the first few weeks or months of climbing out of that rut can require a clear plan of action. Clearly identify the triggers, decide ahead of time how you will respond, stick to the plan, have someone keep you accountable… Then over time it may become easier as the brain gets used to new behavior patterns. But I think it would be normal to expect to fall occasionally while seeking to execute the plan - then confess sin, get back up and keep fighting the good fight. But without a clear plan I think it is really hard to succeed with deeply ingrained behaviors.

(Luna) #7

Discussing these things with other women pretty much falls into my other issues which can be found in another post. I have social anxiety so meeting other people is extremely difficult. I’m pretty much dealing on my own.

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(SeanO) #8

@Luna That is difficult, but still doable! I think if you can identify the triggers and make a clear plan that is a good first step - then just take one step at a time. It’s amazing how far you can get just taking baby steps in the right direction. Do you foresee any difficulties with:

  • identifying the triggers
  • making a plan of action to avoid the wrong behavior
  • repenting when you fall, getting back up and marching forward in God’s grace
(Luna) #9

I’m not exactly sure what the triggers are besides my other issues. It’s kind of a cycle.

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(SeanO) #10

@Luna Praying for wisdom and freedom in the Spirit :slight_smile:

(Sieglinde) #11


(Dan Pollina) #12

Hi Luna,

This is a battle all believers face. Like Paul said in Romans 7, the things he wants to do, he finds himself not doing and the things he doesn’t want to do, he finds himself doing. Then he asks the pivotal question, WHO will free me from this sin filled body? Notice Paul said who, not what. The answer he gave and is the answer for all believers is Jesus Christ and what He did for us at the Cross! The Bible NEVER talks about us having to fight sin. What it does talk about is fighting the good fight of faith (1 Timothy 6:12). Faith in what? Faith in what Jesus has already accomplished for us at the Cross. He paid the price for us so we can be free by Believing in Him. When Jesus uttered those words, “It is Finished”, that’s exactly what He meant. We don’t have to fight the sin problem anymore because He already won the fight for us at the Cross and WON! He whom the Son sets free is free indeed!! Just believe on Him. You don’t have to put your faith in your own efforts which is what the Bible means when it says, “put no confidence in your flesh”. Yes, Bible reading, prayer, devotions, etc. are good things and should be done but don’t put your faith in those things as if they will set you free by doing them. Just believe that Christ has already set you free when He died for you on Mount Calvary. I really hope this helps you!! God bless and strengthen you Luna.:heart::pray:


(Page Gallimore) #13

I really like that question, Luna. It shows depth and heart. From my own walk I have seen that the Holy Spirit will continue to convict us of sin that we need to repent of and will walk us through that to redemption and renewal. It will become obvious to us that this is happening when we encounter shame and humility in identifying our sin so that we can surrender that to God.

(Catherine Keffer) #14

Hi Luna,
Reading your posts is quite encouraging and stirs a compassion and hope in me. I fully agree with everything Daniel (@DanP) said. Just having a little bit of Faith allows God to move in mighty ways.

Remember that He will not violate our self-will so we must earnestly invite Jesus to enter in to whatever our situation is. God will not do for us what we can already do by His Grace, but He will always be with us and if he is with us we cannot be overcome by any darkness.
Simply say:
“Lord Help”
“Jesus I need you”
“Jesus I trust you”

What I see in all of your situations is that God has begun a great work in you and He knows all of your worries and anxieties, every transgression and every shortcoming and He is pleased to Love you through it all. He brought you into a community that you can begin to process the hurts and talk about your struggles. It’s like, ok, so you struggle with social anxiety yet God’s Word tells us that we need fellowship one to another, Godly counsel, and community. We are no match for the devil alone, so here we are, building each other up and watching the walls come down. God is strengthening His Family.

Philippians 1:6
“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”

Galatians 5:6
“For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.”

(Betti Saad) #16

wow I really love that quoto. Thank you Kathleen

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