Prayer Blockers; Know Them; Learn How to Avoid Them

You can avoid the prayer blockers! Yes, the things that hinder your prayers are avoidable. Get to know them here. And then when we learn how to pray and what to pray for, God will answer our prayers.

Updating: Monday, November 7, 2022

Prayer Blockers – Know Them; Learn How to Avoid Them

San Diego Zoo giraffe for the prayer blockers bible study. "A word of advice; avoid the prayer blockers!"

Have you ever felt like the Lord is not hearing your prayers? It just might be that you are a victim of the prayer blockers. There are certain conditions and activities that hinder your prayers, read on and let the Scriptures explain it.

This series, the first of the ‘Awareness Series’, will deal with prayer, more specifically hindrances to prayer or prayer blockers. Three questions for you to consider:

    1. Have you had times when it is not easy to pray?
    2. Periods when it seems your desire to pray is not there?
    3. Do you feel like something gets in the way of or is hindering your desire to pray?

To hinder prayer is to hold back and often suggests limiting, stopping, or preventing prayer or the act of praying. Thus making prayer difficult or interfering in the process of completing prayer. These hindrances are obstacles that can diminish or end the desire to pray.

Can Your Sex Life Block Your Prayers?

Avoid fornication, adultery, and depriving your spouse

I now want to reply to the matters you people wrote me about. It is [a] good [idea] for a man not to get married. [Note: The words “to get married” here are “to touch” in the Greek and probably refer to sexual relations within marriage. This advice, not a prohibition, is further explained in verses 26-35]. 2 But, because of so much sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. 3 The husband should fulfill his [marital] duty to his wife, and the wife should do the same thing for her husband. 4 The wife does not have [sole] authority over her own [physical] body, but the husband [also has his right to it]. And in the same way, the husband also does not have [sole] authority over his own [physical] body, but the wife [i.e., has her right to it, as well]. 5 Do not deprive each other [of these marital rights], except by mutual agreement, so that you can spend the time in prayer. Then resume [normal sexual] relations again, so Satan is not able to tempt you [i.e., to have an affair] because of your lack of self-control. 1 Corinthians 7:1-5 (AUV)


Is sexual intercourse and marital intimacy considered one of the prayer blockers? Exodus 19:15 He said to the people, “Be ready by the third day. Don’t have sexual relations with a woman.” (WEB) {many translations follow the Vulgate translation and come not near your wives; see Leviticus 15:16-18 for an explanation} Of course we are not under the Law so ritual uncleanness does not apply but, for some reason, and I refer to the Amplified breakdown of verse 5; so that you may devote yourselves unhindered to prayer certain times were set aside for consecrated prayer requiring abstaining from marital intimacy.

Some in Corinth were trying to practice celibacy within marriage. Apparently, this refraining from sex within marriage was a unilateral decision of one partner, not a mutually agreed-on decision (vv. 3-4) — Bible Knowledge Commentary.

Celibacy within marriage makes a difference, believe it or not, do not ignore the advice. Paul cautioned that this could lead to infidelity (fornication/adultery).

In 1 Peter chapters two and three list certain conditions that will prevent hindered or blocked prayers if met. The following summarizes (I do not point out all of the prayer blockers listed in 1 Peter 2:11-3:7):

Failure to abide by the rules and marital duties

Honor and respect your government leader or head of government“: King, Emperor, Prime Minister, President, etc.For this is the will of God1 Peter 2:17
  • 1 Peter 2:11 “Dear friends, your real home is not here on earth. You are strangers here. I ask you to keep away from all the sinful desires of the flesh. These things fight to get hold of your soul.” (NLV) Romans 13:14; Galatians 5:16-17, 24; James 4:1; Philippians 3:3; 1 Timothy 4:3
  • If you are a child of God, you must not only abide by God’s rules but also those put in place by your government and employers – 1 Peter 2:13-25
    • Submit to all human authorities; this ranges from the leader of your country to the law enforcement agents – 1 Peter 2:13-17; Romans 13:1-7; Titus 3:1
      • Why should we obey laws made by people in authority? 1 Peter 2:15 “For this is the will of God, that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men:“. (RKJNT) We should realize that the unchurched and unbelievers are watching, we represent God and it is God’s will that we live honorable and respectable lives.
      • You are God’s chosen and special people {1 Peter 2:9 (CEV)}; a royal priesthood “it is royal inasmuch as it belongs to the King, serves him, and shares his glory in a ministry of witness”from Theological Dictionary of the New Testament [my note: King=King of Kings]; You belong to God.
    • 1 Peter 2:18 (NSB) “Servants, be in subjection to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle master but also to the hard to please.” – 1 Peter 2:18-25; Isaiah 53:9; Ephesians 6:5; Colossians 3:22; 1Timothy 6:1; Titus 2:9; Romans 13:3, 7
NOTE: I know the Scripture uses a slave (servant)/master relationship. Consider employee/employer for modern rendering just as we replace king with the appropriate title for our respective country’s leader. Keep in mind that we must interpret Scripture literally and figuratively.

Lack of honor and respect

  • Wives that do not submit to husbands and husbands disrespecting or dishonoring (disgracing or humiliating) their wife – 1 Peter 3:1-7 also consider Malachi 2:13-16
    • 1 Peter 3:1 “Likewise, you wives, be in subjection to your husbands; so that, if any do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the behaviour of the wives;” (RKJNT) 1 Peter 3:1-6; Genesis 3:16; 1 Corinthians 7:16; 1Corintians 9:19-22; Ephesians 5:22-33; Colossians 3:18; Titus 2:5
    • You husbands, likewise, conduct your married lives with understanding. Although your wife may be weaker physically, you should respect her as a fellow-heir of the gift of Life. If you don’t, your prayers will be blocked. 1 Peter 3:7 (CJB)
NOTE: some believe the final statement, ‘Do this that your prayers may not be hindered‘, applies to the husband and others believe it applies to the husband and wife. Remember, this is a letter, originally written without breaking into chapter and verse, the prayer blockers began in chapter 2 verse 11. So, one could take each of the commands i.e.,
keep away from all the sinful desires of the flesh” can end with “Do this that your prayers may not be hindered.”
Submit to all human authorities” can end with “Do this that your prayers may not be hindered.”

Other believers, anger, and doubt

As we search the Scriptures we find that others can block your prayers e.g., other believers and people with whom we are angry or have unsolved issues. When we are not sure that God will hear us or that He will not respond to our prayers, this is doubt or lack of faith/belief. Like any good father, God wants His children to believe in Him, to trust that He will take care of them. 1 Timothy 2:8 Updated King James Version (UKJV) “I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.”

  • Other believers who lack understanding – Matthew 19:13-15 {Mark 10:13-16; Luke 18:15-17}; Luke 9:49-50 {Matthew 10:40-42; Mark 9:38-41}
    • The disciples tried to stop Jesus from praying for ‘little children’ – Matthew 19:13-15 “Then little children were brought to him, that he should put his hands on them, and pray: but the disciples rebuked them. 14 But Jesus said, Let the little children come to me, and do not forbid them: for to such as these belongs the kingdom of heaven. 15 And he laid his hands on them, and departed from there.” (RKJNT)
    • The disciples stopped others from casting out demons – Luke 9:49-50 And John answered, Master, we saw someone casting out devils in your name; and we forbade him, because he does not follow along with us. 50 And Jesus said to him, Do not forbid him: for he who is not against you is for you. (RKJNT)
  • Anger; after arguing or if you have unresolved issues with someone – 1 Timothy 2:8; Isaiah 1:12-15; Matthew 5:23-24; Philippians 2:12-18
    • 1 Timothy 2:8-10 “So I want the men in every place to pray. I want them to lift up holy hands. I don’t want them to be angry when they pray. I don’t want them to argue.” (NIRV)
    • Philippians 2:14 Be glad you can do the things you should be doing. Do all things without arguing and talking about how you wish you did not have to do them. (NLV)

From Barnes’ Notes on Matthew 5:23-24

He that comes to worship his Maker filled with malice, and hatred, and envy, and at war with his brethren, is a hypocritical worshipper, and must meet with God’s displeasure. God is not deceived, and he will not be mocked.

  • Doubt; limited confidence or faith in God; an uncertainty of God and what He can / will do – Mark 11:24; James 1:2-12 (6); Matthew 21:18-22 {Mark 11:20-24}; 1 John 3:18-22, 5:14
    • Mark 11:24-26 Therefore I say to you, Whatever things you desire, when you pray, believe that you have received them, and you shall have them. 25 And when you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone: that your Father who is in heaven may also forgive your trespasses. 26 [But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father who is in heaven forgive your trespasses.] (RKJNT)
    • James 1:5-8 But anyone who needs wisdom should ask God, whose very nature is to give to everyone without a second thought, without keeping score. Wisdom will certainly be given to those who ask. 6 Whoever asks shouldn’t hesitate. They should ask in faith, without doubting. Whoever doubts is like the surf of the sea, tossed and turned by the wind. 7 People like that should never imagine that they will receive anything from the Lord. 8 They are double-minded, unstable in all their ways. (CEB)

Question for ‘avoid the prayer blockers – part one’: Please share your experience with ‘prayer blockers’, do you have any?

Please continue or jump to the end to give feedback in the comment area/poll. Go to end.

Prayer Blockers – Part Two

Picture of a flower for the prayer blockers bible study
Prayer Blockers
Get to know what blocks your prayers, So that God will answer your prayers

What is the biggest ‘prayer blocker’ in your life? Lack of discipline and not enough time are reasons for not praying, again I ask what blocks your prayers? When you pray what keeps them from getting through to God?

Tip #1 – how to avoid the prayer blockers

Jude 1:20 But you, dear friends, use your most holy faith to build yourselves up even stronger. Pray with the help of the Holy Spirit. (ERV)

More prayer blockers – unbelief, wrong motives and SIN

  • Unbelief or lack of or wavering faith/trust; unbelief is different from doubt in that is the act of rejecting and the absence of belief in God. It is understandable that a person that does not believe in God will not pray to him, so, not believing in God is definitely one of the prayer blockers. In reading Matthew 13:58, it is crystal clear that Jesus did not perform many works in a place where the people did not believe. – Matthew 13:53-58 {Mark 6:1-6}; Mark 16:14-18; 9:23-24;
    • Matthew 13:55-58 Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary? And are not his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? 56 And are not all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?” 57 And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his own household.” 58 And he did not do many mighty works there, because of their unbelief. (ESV)
    • Example of believers (Jesus’ disciples) wavering faith/trust/belief: Mark 16:14 Still later Jesus appeared to the eleven apostles while they were eating. He put them to shame for their unbelief and because they were too stubborn to believe those who had seen him alive. (GW)
      1. They did not believe Jesus’ teaching:

        Mark 8:31-33 Then Jesus began to teach his disciples: “The Son of Man must suffer much and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the teachers of the Law. He will be put to death, but three days later he will rise to life.” 32 He made this very clear to them. So Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. 33 But Jesus turned around, looked at his disciples, and rebuked Peter. “Get away from me, Satan,” he said. “Your thoughts don’t come from God but from human nature!” (GNT)

      2. Second time

        Jesus tells them a second time that He would be killed but, He will rise three days after His death: Mark 9:30-32 And they departed from there, and passed through Galilee; and he would not have any man know about it, 31 For he taught his disciples, and said to them, The Son of man will be delivered into the hands of men, and they shall kill him; and after he is killed, he shall rise on the third day. 32 But they did not understood that saying, and were afraid to ask him. (RKJNT)

      3. Third time

        They did not believe what Jesus specifically told them would happen (a third time). Mark 10:32-34 And they were on the way up to Jerusalem; and Jesus went before them: and they were amazed; and as they followed, they were afraid. And again he took the twelve aside, and began to tell them the things that would happen to him, 33 Saying, Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be delivered to the chief priests, and to the scribes; and they shall condemn him to death, and shall deliver him to the Gentiles: 34 And they shall mock him, and shall scourge him, and shall spit upon him, and shall kill him: and the third day he shall rise again. (RKJNT)

Watch and pray

  • Sleepiness; most of the time sleepiness will result in failure to complete your prayer, Jesus instructed Peter, James and John to “watch (stay alert / awake) and pray” – Matthew 26:36-45 {Mark 14:32-42; Luke 22:39-46}; Colossians 4:2
  • Sins (iniquities) particularly sins that are not confessed – John 9:13-34 (key verses: 31); Psalms 66:18; 34:15; Proverbs 15:8, 29; 21:27; 28:9; Isaiah 1:15, 59:1-2; Jeremiah 11:1-17
    • John 9:30-32 The man answered and said to them, Why, this is a marvellous thing; you do not know where he is from, yet he has opened my eyes. 31 Now we know that God does not hear sinners: but if any man is a worshipper of God, and does his will, he hears him. 32 Since the world began it has not been heard that any man opened the eyes of one who was born blind. (RKJNT)
    • Isaiah 59:1-2 “Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, That it cannot save; Nor His ear heavy, That it cannot hear. 2 But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear.” (NKJV)
  • Wrong motives or selfishness

    • Some may not agree or appreciate this example of Jesus praying (flesh crying out) and asking that He not be required to die for our sins… the prayer was heard (an angel came to strengthen Jesus) but, the request was not granted as it was God’s will that Jesus die for the sins of humankind. – Luke 22:41-44 Then He withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, knelt down, and began to pray, 42 “Father, if You are willing, take this cup away from Me—nevertheless, not My will, but Yours, be done.” [43 Then an angel from heaven appeared to Him, strengthening Him. 44 Being in anguish, He prayed more fervently, and His sweat became like drops of blood falling to the ground.] (HCSB)
    • James 4:1-3 Do you know where your fights [conflicts; wars] and arguments [disputes; quarrels; battles] come from? They come from the selfish desires [cravings] that war within you [in your members; probably parts of the body, but could be members of the church]. 2 You want [desire] things, but you do not [or cannot] have them. So you are ready to kill [murder] and are jealous [envious] of other people, but you still cannot get what you want. So you argue and fight [wage war]. You do not get what you want, because you do not ask God. 3 Or when you ask, you do not receive because the reason you ask is wrong [or you ask with the wrong motives; you ask badly/wrongly]. You want things so you can use [spend] them for your own pleasures. (EXB)

Tip #2 – how to avoid the prayer blockers

Ephesians 6:18 Praying always in the Spirit with all manner of prayer and supplication. (RKJNT)

Christians are to pray continually in the Spirit (i.e., in the power and sphere of the Spirit; cf. Jude 20) from Bible Knowledge Commentary/Old Testament on Ephesians 6:18

Question for ‘prayer blockers – part 2’: Do you overcome the ‘prayer blockers’ with the help of the Holy Spirit?

Please continue or jump to the end to give feedback in the comment area/poll. Go to end.

Scriptures to read and study:

Matthew 21:18-22 (21-22); Mark 9:14-29 (23-24); Matthew 26:36-46 (40-43); James 4:1-3; 1 Peter 4:7-11 (7); Matthew 5:21-26 (23-24); Mark 11:20-26 (24); 1 Timothy 2:1-8; James 1:5-8 (6); 1 Peter 3:1-7 (7); 1 John 3:18-22 (21-22)


Picture of downtown LA for the prayer blockers bible study 1 Peter 3:7
Wives, submit to your husbands; husbands, respect your wives; if you don’t your prayers will be blocked.
1 Peter 3:1 and 7

1 Peter 2:13-14, 18, 3:1-4, 7 13 For the sake of the Lord, submit yourselves to every human authority — whether to the emperor as being supreme, 14 or to governors as being sent by him to punish wrongdoers and praise those who do what is good. 18 Household servants, submit yourselves to your masters, showing them full respect — and not only those who are kind and considerate, but also those who are harsh.

1 Peter 3:1 In the same way, wives, submit to your husbands; so that even if some of them do not believe the Word, they will be won over by your conduct, without your saying anything, 2 as they see your respectful and pure behavior. Your beauty should not consist in externals such as fancy hairstyles, gold jewelry or what you wear; 4 rather, let it be the inner character of your heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit. In God’s sight this is of great value. 7 You husbands, likewise, conduct your married lives with understanding. Although your wife may be weaker physically, you should respect her as a fellow-heir of the gift of Life. If you don’t, your prayers will be blocked. (CJB)

Tip #3 – how to avoid the prayer blockers

Pray for things that are in God’s will – 1 John 5:14 And this is the confidence that we have in him, that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. (RKJNT)

You can avoid the prayer blockers if you get to know the reasons God will not listen. Learn what pleases God, how to pray, and what to pray for; God will answer your prayer. I pray that the prayer blockers will no longer be a problem for you. God does hear and answer the prayers of His obedient children when we have a right relationship.

I pray that you have enjoyed and will make the most of this Bible study. Blessings to you and your loved ones— Tim. ☺

Related studies/lessons/snacks for further Spiritual growth:

See what is available on the Sound Truth Ministry website.


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