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What Hinders Our Prayers?, Jim Dunn - Free sermon outlines and Bible studies! (Higher Praise Topical Outlines) -


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What Hinders Our Prayers?
Psalm 80:4
By: Jim Dunn

1. Failure to come clean with God … Psalm 66:18

Illust.
In his book I Surrender, Patrick Morley writes that the church’s integrity problem is in the misconception "that we can add Christ to our lives, but not subtract sin. It is a change in belief without a change in behavior." He goes on to say, "It is revival without reformation, without repentance." Quoted by C. Swindoll, John The Baptizer, Bible Study Guide, p. 16.

Illust.
The sure test of the quality of any supposed change of heart will be found in its permanent effects. ’By their fruits you shall know them’ is as applicable to the right method of judging ourselves as of judging others. Whatever, therefore, may have been our inward experience, whatever joy or sorrow we may have felt, unless we bring forth fruits meet for repentance, our experience will profit us nothing. Repentance is incomplete unless it leads to confession and restitution in cases of injury; unless it causes us to forsake not merely outward sins, which others notice, but those which lie concealed in the heart; unless it makes us choose the service of God and live not for ourselves but for Him. There is no duty which is either more obvious in itself, or more frequently asserted in the Word of God, than that of repentance.
M. Cocoris, Evangelism, A Biblical Approach, Moody, 1984, p. 65.

2. Trying to make a good impression with false motives … Matthew 6:5

Illust.
Some years ago a remarkable picture was exhibited in London. As you looked at it from a distance, you seemed to see a monk engaged in prayer, his hands clasped, his head bowed. As you came nearer, however, and examined the painting more closely, you saw that in reality he was squeezing a lemon into a punch bowl!
What a picture that is of the human heart! Superficially examined, it is thought to be the seat of all that is good and noble and pleasing in a man; whereas in reality, until regenerated by the Holy Ghost, it is the seat of all corruption. "This is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather that light."
Moody’s Anecdotes, p. 69.

3. Asking God for what we have no right asking … James 4:3

Illust.
In his book Why Prayers are Unanswered, John Lavender retells a story about Norman Vincent Peale.
When Peale was a boy, he found a big, black cigar, slipped into an alley, and lit up. It didn’t taste good, but it made him feel very grown up. . . until he saw his father coming. Quickly he put the cigar behind his back and tried to be casual. Desperate to divert his father’s attention, Norman pointed to a billboard advertising the circus.
"Can I go, Dad? Please, let’s go when it comes to town."
His father’s reply taught Norman a lesson he never forgot. "Son, he answered quietly but firmly, "never make a petition while at the same time trying to hide a smoldering disobedience."

4. Refusing to believe that God will answer our prayer … James 1:5

Illust.
When her husband, Edmund Gravely, died at the controls of his small plane while on the way to Statesboro, GA, from the Rocky Mount-Wilson airport, NC, his wife Janice kept the plane aloft for two hours until it ran out of fuel. During this time she sang hymns and prayed for help. As the plane crossed the South Carolina-North Carolina border, she radioed for help: "Help, help, won’t someone help me? My pilot is unconscious. Won’t somebody help me?" Authorities who picked up her distress signal were not able to reach her by radio during the flight because she kept changing channels. Mrs. Gravely finally made a rough landing and crawled for 45 minutes to a farmhouse for help. How often God’s people cry out for help to God, but switch channels before God’s message comes through. They turn to other sources for help, looking for human help. When you cry out to God for His intervention, don’t switch channels!

5. Denying the reality of spiritual warfare … Daniel 10:10-13

Illust.
Recently National Geographic ran an article about the Alaskan bull moose. The males of the species battle for dominance during the fall breeding season, literally going head-to-head with antlers crunching together as they collide. Often the antlers, their only weapon are broken. That ensures defeat. The heftiest moose, with the largest and strongest antlers, triumphs. Therefore, the battle fought in the fall is really won during the summer, when the moose eat continually. The one that consumes the best diet for growing antlers and gaining weight will be the heavyweight in the fight. Those that eat inadequately sport weaker antlers and less bulk. There is a lesson here for us. Spiritual battles await. Satan will choose a season to attack. Will we be victorious, or will we fall? Much depends on what we do now--before the wars begin. The bull-moose principle: Enduring faith, strength, and wisdom for trials are best developed before they’re needed.
Craig Brian Larson.

6. Discrediting the worth of our spouses … 1 Peter 3:7

Illust.
A young theology student walked into the campus library. "I’m look- ing for a book titled, ’Man, Master of Woman,’" he said. The librarian thought for a moment, then replied, "Try the FICTION shelf over there."

7. Overconfidence in our spiritual maturity … Luke 18:10-14

Illust.
Golf immortal Arnold Palmer recalls a lesson about overconfidence: It was the final hole of the 1961 Masters tournament, and I had a one-stroke lead and had just hit a very satisfying tee shot. I felt I was in pretty good shape. As I approached my ball, I saw an old friend standing at the edge of the gallery. He motioned me over, stuck out his hand and said, "Congratulations." I took his hand and shook it, but as soon as I did, I knew I had lost my focus.
On my next two shots, I hit the ball into a sand trop, then put it over the edge of the green. I missed a putt and lost the Masters. You don’t forget a mistake like that; you just learn from it and become determined that you will never do that again. I haven’t in the 30 years since.
Carol Mann, The 19th Hole (Longmeadow), quoted in Reader’s Digest.

8. Attempting to rip off God … Malachi 3:8-10

Illust.
When God get’s hold of your heart he also get hold of your wallet.
- Unknown

9. Failure to submit to biblical teaching … Proverbs 1:24-28

Illust.
In the summer of 1986, two ships collided in the Black Sea off the coast of Russia. Hundreds of passengers died as they were hurled into the icy waters below. News of the disaster was further darkened when an investigation revealed the cause of the accident. It wasn’t a technology problem like radar malfunction--or even thick fog. The cause was human stubbornness. Each captain was aware of the other ship’s presence nearby. Both could have steered clear, but according to news reports, neither captain wanted to give way to the other. Each was too proud to yield first. By the time they came to their senses, it was too late.
Closer Walk, December 1991.

10. Unwilling to forgive or to be forgiven … Matthew 5:23-24

Illust.
In "The Christian Leader," Don Ratzlaff retells a story Vernon Grounds came across in Ernest Gordon’s Miracle on the River Kwai. The Scottish soldiers, forced by their Japanese captors to labor on a jungle railroad, had degenerated to barbarous behavior, but one afternoon something happened. A shovel was missing. The officer in charge became enraged. He demanded that the missing shovel be produced, or else. When nobody in the squadron budged, the officer got his gun and threatened to kill them all on the spot . . . It was obvious the officer meant what he had said. Then, finally, one man stepped forward. The officer put away his gun, picked up a shovel, and beat the man to death. When it was over, the survivors picked up the bloody corpse and carried it with them to the second tool check. This time, no shovel was missing. Indeed, there had been a miscount at the first check point. The word spread like wildfire through the whole camp. An innocent man had been willing to die to save the others! . . . The incident had a profound effect. . . The men began to treat each other like brothers. When the victorious Allies swept in, the survivors, human skeletons, lined up in front of their captors (and instead of attacking their captors) insisted: "No more hatred. No more killing. Now what we need is forgiveness." Sacrificial love has transforming power.
Don Ratzlaff, "The Christian Leader".

Sermon By: Jim Dunn
Website: heavenwd.tripod.com/sanjosebaptistchurch/


 
 
 
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