If we have an inaccurate perspective of God, it could cause us to think that He isn’t interested in our needs and concerns. On the contrary, the Lord invites us to pray, because He delights in providing for us—and He stands ready to do so. However, different types of hindrances can block the effectiveness of our prayers.
Ignorance of God’s will for our life and the specific circumstances we are facing is one such obstacle. His affirmative answers come when our petitions are in agreement with His purposes for us (1 John 5:14-15). Even if Scripture does not specifically address our situation, we can always ask the Lord to fill us with “the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding” (Col. 1:9).
Selfish motives are another hindrance to answered prayer (James 4:3). Sometimes we’re more concerned about getting the Lord to do what we want than we are about submitting to His will in the situation.
Doubts about God and His faithfulness also keep us from experiencing answered prayer. Low expectations and uncertainty are like intruders in our conversations with Him because they short-circuit faith. Doubts may originate from listening to the wrong voices, embracing false beliefs, or focusing on the difficulty instead of the power, wisdom, and faithfulness of the Lord.
Effective prayer begins with trust in God and an awareness of His ways. Otherwise, skepticism may sneak into our thinking if He delays His answer or responds in an unexpected way. But when our prayers are aligned with His will and motivated by a desire to glorify Him, doubts will vanish.