Q. I was listening to a program in which the host was listing things that can hinder our prayers. He said that if a wife prays for her husband to be saved just because it would make life easier for her, her prayers would be hindered. He also said that if we pray for the salvation of others for any other reason than that they would stop rebelling against the Lord and that the purpose of their salvation was solely for His glory, our prayers will be hindered. When I pray for others to be saved it is because I don’t want them to go to hell. Does praying with that as my motive hinder my prayers for their salvation? Thanks for taking the time to read and answer my question.
A. I’ve found 4 verses in the New Testament that specifically address the issue of hindered prayers. James wrote that if we pray without the faith to believe that our prayer will be answered we shouldn’t expect anything (James 1:6-8). Peter warned husbands to treat our wives with respect so nothing will hinder our prayers (1 Peter 3:7). And I think 1 Peter 3:12 says that unconfessed sin could hinder our prayers. Since 1 John 1:9 says that confessing our sin purifies us from all unrighteousness, many believers include a confession in their prayers.
Then there’s James 4:3. “When you ask you don’t receive because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” The person you were listening to was probably applying this one to the issue of salvation. I don’t agree with that application because James was referring to selfish or frivolous things. Where salvation is concerned, 2 Peter 3:9 says God doesn’t want anyone to perish but that all would come to repentance. And 1 Tim. 2:1-4 says it pleases God when we pray for the salvation of others, Therefore, I don’t think our motive in asking him to save someone hinders these prayers because we know it’s something He wants, too.