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There have been countless times I have talked to unbelievers about Jesus only to have them respond with “I do pray.” There are two things that always strike me about this response:

1) That prayer is one of the main disciplines that people associate with God’s people.
2) That unbelievers do not realize that prayer is exclusively available to God’s people.

Unless we have been regenerated (filled with God’s Spirit because we are believers in Christ), we cannot speak with God.

Why not? Sin. It is just that simple.

If I had not confessed the sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened. Psalm 66:18 NLT

Sin immediately hinders our communion with God. Even those in Christ can have their prayer hindered by sin. In the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus instructed His disciples to pray, “forgive us of our sins” Matt 6:12a NLT

When I enter into prayer, I ask the Lord to forgive me of anything and everything that may hinder my prayer. I do this by surveying my day and asking myself some pointed questions.

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“As you sit before the Lord today, review the following questions and record the answers in your [prayer journal]:

• Can I recall any moment today where I clearly know that I sinned?
• Did I feel convicted by the Holy Spirit over any of my actions today?
• Do I have any bad habits that need correction?
• What things did I fail to do?
• Has the Holy Spirit revealed any stubborn sins in my life?” Organizing Your Prayer Closet

I think it is important to understand what our failings are so we can intentionally surrender them to the Lord. Sometimes I feel as Christians when we sin, we act like it’s no big deal. I feel like we take God’s grace for granted.

I want to be more like Jesus. I want to conform to His likeness, but if I ignore my natural bent toward sin then I am neglecting my sanctification process. How can God use me if I am not sanctified? How can I be sanctified if I am caught up in sin?

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I know this is an oldie, but it is such a good song. Please listen closely to these words:

Enjoy these other tips and posts on prayer:

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Author Gina Duke is a wife, mom and Director of Women’s Ministry at her local church. With a B.S. in Organizational Leadership, she is able to bring a clear word for authentic Christian living. Through her book, “Organizing Your Prayer Closet: A New and Life-Changing Way to Pray” (Abingdon Press), she imparts 1 Peter 4:7 with the gift of structured prayer journaling. If you would like to schedule Gina to speak on prayer or host a prayer journaling workshop, click here for more inormation. You may also follow her on Twitter and Instagram @TheGinaDuke.

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