In Summary

BARRIERS. When you pray, you want God to answer. But does this happen your way. Rajab Mukombozi explores details.

Prayer is a conversation with God, when we pray we open the door for God to intervene in the different situations we are facing at the time.
According to www.harvest.org true prayer is what happens when our will is aligned with the will of God, prayer is our connection to heaven or heaven’s connection to us. Prayer is passionate, sincerity of the heart and putting your whole heart into it.
When we come to places of worship we expect to put our hearts before God.
“Son of man, these men have set up idols in their hearts and put wicked stumbling blocks before their faces, should I let them inquire of me at all... Ezekiel 14:3.”
An idol is anything or anyone that takes the place of God in our lives, it’s any object, idea, philosophy, habit, occupation or loyality to any degree that decreases the trust and loyalty to God. However, a look at some of the practices, behaviours and habits exhibited by worshippers and places of worship shows lack of respect for prayers and levels of having idols in worshipper’s lives.
Pastor Willy Tumwine of Holy Spirit Fire Church in Mbarara, during church service recently, urged worshippers to bring wholeness to God. He said every believer should at all costs avoid any habit, practice likely to disconnect them from the presence of God.
Pastor Tumwine enlisted some of the common habits and behaviours which hinder our prayers from being answered.

Dress code matters
Indecent dressing has taken a toll on the current generation. “If it were not for praise and worship hymns, one would mistake some congregations to be at a beach party, karaoke dance or going to the bedroom,” says Pastor Tumwine. Imagine young girls wearing see-through dresses, miniskirts can disrupt the congregation, especially the weak-hearted making their prayers ineffective. But also the bible says our bodies are temples of God.
He further quoted: “Do you know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you received from God? You are not your own, you were bought at a price, therefore honour God with your bodies... 1Corinthians 6:19:20.”

Use of phones
With the technological advances in internet services several social media platforms such as facebook, twitter and whatsapp, some worshippers look glued to these when prayers are ongoing.
“Why provoke God, if you cannot concentrate and know why you came to pray better stay at home. We don’t come to church to show off our gadgets or any other business but to offer our hearts to God, you do not just play in the will of God,” Pastor Tumwine cautioned. He added that it is better to switch of your phones or at least keep them in your bags or pockets during prayers.

Lack of concentration
Angella Atwiine, one of the congregants at Worship Harvest Church, says there is nothing that annoys her like parents who cannot attend to their children during prayers.
“Sometimes you fail to understand or miss parts of the preachers’ messages because the children are screaming, running up and down even reaching the pulpit . Ushers move around trying to contain them while parents are comfortably watching,” she says. Sometimes children cry to seek attention and parents seem unbothered. This keeps most of the congregation distracted. How does one expect God to answer their prayers when their mind is not at it in church?

Cleanliness
Even the Bible says we should observe hygiene. As we converge for prayers in places of worship we should observe some cleanliness both the body and the outside. Filthiness may not only inconvenience other worshippers but is also good for an individual going for prayers. 2Corinthians 7:1,“Having therefore these promises dear beloved, lets cleanse ourselves from filthiness of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God...”.

Lack of love
Love, compassion, humility and sincerity are also necessary for effective prayer.
Some people come to places of worship to pray because they are either heartbroken, frustrated, or need to be loved and counselled. But is that what we always find when we go for prayers?
Amos Ainembabazi, a worshipper at Worship Harvest, says he was disappointed one time when he went to pray in one of the churches and when he tried to shake hands with a neighbour and was instead given just two fingers. “I was new at this church but almost failed to finish the service, lost concentration. Such people can hinder one’s commitment to his God in prayers,” says Ainembabazi. “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other as Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:32.”

Quick Note
We must be disciplined in the practice of prayer, and we must remove the hindrances that God reveals. This we can do by confessing and forsaking that which is wrong - look up Proverbs 28:13; 1 John 1:9.