Proclaim. Mobilize. Equip.
Call 866-865-6253

4 Things That Can Keep You from Prayer

February 7, 2019

We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away. Isaiah 64:6

When you pray, you will feel your unworthiness. We all do. Coming into a holy place makes you feel how unholy you are. Isaiah knew about this too, and he describes it using four pictures (64:6):

1. The Leper. “We have all become like one who is unclean.”

The leper was outside the camp of Israel. He could not approach the presence of God. So Isaiah says, “I come as someone who has no right to enter the presence of God.”

2. The Rags. “All our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment.”

Even the best things that we do, like ministry and service, are not as good as they seem. Augustine said that he did not want to present the works of his hands to God for fear that God might find more sins in them than merits.

3. The Leaf. “We all fade like a leaf.”

Isaiah felt worn out when he came to God in prayer. “I’m like a dry leaf. I feel drained of energy, lacking in life. I feel as if I have nothing left to give.”

4. The Wind. “Our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.”

That’s a picture of the power of sin. It sweeps us away. Here we are struggling with the same sins and not gaining victory. We’re not prevailing over the world; the world is prevailing over us.

When Isaiah comes to God, he feels unclean, unrighteous, dried out, and unstable. And this is our condition too when we come to pray.

Which of these pictures do you identify with the most as you come to God in prayer?


The Author
Colin Smith

Colin Smith is the senior pastor of The Orchard Evangelical Free Church in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. He has authored a number of books, including Heaven, How I Got Here and Heaven, So Near - So Far. Colin is the president and teacher for Unlocking the Bible. Follow him on Twitter.



Explore this topic further

Cultivating Boldness in Prayer

Let us…draw near with boldness unto the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy, and may find grace to help us in time of need. Hebrews 4:16 (ASV) When God has given a clear promise that is for all people, you can pray with great assurance. The Bible is...

Read Post

Cultivating Humility in Prayer

Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, do you not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while...

Read Post

When Faith Prays with Submission

“Abba, Father,” he [Jesus] said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” Mark 14:36 (NIV) The greatest example of praying with faith in all of Scripture is in the Garden of Gethsemane when our Lord said these words....

Read Post
For your gift of any amount

For All Who Grieve

A new book from Pastor Colin Smith

Get Unlocking the Bible's Weekly Email

"This Week at Unlocking the Bible" features new articles, radio programs, devotionals, and ministry updates

We will never sell or misuse your information.