The fourth obstacle to prayer is unscriptural prayers. Jesus said, ‘If you remain in Me and My words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.’ Those who live by the principles of God’s Word don’t pray to win the lottery, or for their horse to finish first in the Melbourne Cup. They know that those are unscriptural prayers God won’t honour.
When you pray, your request must line up with His will. After leading the children of Israel for forty years in the wilderness Moses naturally longed to enter the Promised Land and celebrate victory with them; to ‘go over and see the good land beyond the Jordan—that fine hill country and Lebanon.’ (Deuteronomy 3:25 NIV) But in spite of his prayers it didn’t happen. Why? ‘Because… the Lord was angry… and would not listen… “That is enough,” the Lord said. “Do not speak to Me anymore about this matter. Go up to the top of Pisgah and look west and north and south and east. Look at the land with your own eyes, since you are not going to cross this Jordan.”’ (Deuteronomy 3:26–27 NIV)
Prayer isn’t some kind of talisman, or lucky charm, or religious formula you repeat to get the results you want. When your prayers line up with the Scriptures and are in harmony with God’s will, then will He answer them. This truth may not be palatable or popular in today’s ‘feel good’ generation where everybody wants all the benefits of God’s Kingdom on their own terms. If you’re serious about getting your prayers answered—read the fine print!