- Refusal to surrender an idol to God (Ezekiel 14).
- Sin in the heart (Psalm 66:18).
- Unresolved conflict between brethren (Matthew 5:23; James 5:16).
- Because of unbelief (Matthew 13:58; Mark 5:40; Luke 8:54).
- Marital unrest (1 Peter 3:7).
- Asking with wrong motives (James 4:3 NASB).
Pertinent Ellen G. White Materials
The offering of such prayer [special prayer for the sick] is a most solemn act, and should not be entered upon without careful consideration. In many cases of prayer for the healing of the sick, that which is called faith is nothing less than presumption (Ministry of Healing, p. 227).
As laborers for God, we need a more sacred nearness to him, and a closer fellowship with one another, that our prayers and efforts may not be hindered (Historical Sketches, p. 119).
He was blessed and strengthened, and rode four miles. After he arrived at Bro. P.’s he grew worse, and seemed to be sinking every hour. Some things had hindered faith in his case. Faithful testimony was borne to him, and humble confessions were made on his part, where he had erred, and a few who had faith were permitted to enter his room. Our earnest, fervent prayers went up to God, that the progress of disease might be stayed, and then faith grasped still more, immediate restoration (Spiritual Gifts, vol. 2, p. 44).
There is a decided message to be borne to our people upon the question of health reform. Let us come into line that our prayers be not hindered (Spalding and Magan, p. 429).
A few words of explanation might change entirely the views of those who have been at variance, cherishing bitter feelings. We cannot be obedient to the law of God until we put out of the mind all differences, until we allow our hearts to be softened and subdued by the Spirit of Christ. Our prayers are hindered by our pride of heart, by our refusal to confess faults and to remove wrong impressions (This Day with God, p. 19).
Only as we live in obedience to His word can we claim the fulfillment of His promises (Ministry of Healing, p. 227).
To convince one of his errors is a most delicate work; for, through constant exercise, certain modes of acting or thinking become second nature; through habit a moral taste is created; and it is very hard for those who err to see their errors. Many are blind to faults in themselves which are plainly discerned by others. There is always hope of repentance and reformation in one who recognizes his faults. But some are too proud to confess that they are in the wrong, even when their errors are plainly pointed out and they see them. In a general way they will admit that they are human, liable to err; but they expect others to trust them as if they were unerring. Such confessions count nothing with God. . . . .We have no right to withdraw our confidence from a brother because of some evil report, some accusation or supposition of wrong. Frequently the report is made by those who are at enmity with God, those who are doing the enemy's work as accusers of the brethren. Someone not so mindful as he should have been of Christ's words, "Take heed how ye hear," allowed his unsanctified ears to hear wrong, his perverted senses to imagine wrong, and his evil tongue to report wrong. Many a man will not come openly to talk with the one he thinks in error, but will go to others, and under the mask of friendship and sympathy for the erring, he will cast reflections. Sometimes he openly agrees with the one whom he covertly seeks to injure. Suppositions are stated as facts, without giving the person charged with wrong a clear, definite statement of his supposed errors, and without giving him a chance to answer the charges. This is all contrary to the teaching of Christ. It is the subtle way in which Satan always works. Those who do such things have set themselves up as judges through admitting evil thoughts. One who engages in this work communicates to his hearers a measure of his own spirit of darkness and unbelief; his evil surmisings sow in their minds the seeds of bitterness and suspicion toward one whom God has delegated to do a certain work. If they think one makes a mistake, it is seized upon, magnified, and reported to others, and thus many are led to take up the reproach against their neighbor. They watch eagerly for all that is wrong, and close their eyes to, and are unable to appreciate, all that is commendable and righteous. Through this acceptance of hearsay evidence the enemy obtains great advantage in councils and committee meetings. Those who would stand for the right, if they knew what it was, have to wade about in the foul pools of evil surmisings, because they are misled by the surmisings of someone in whom they have confidence. Their prayers are hindered, their faith is paralyzed, and unkind thoughts, unholy suspicions, come in to do their work of alienation among brethren. God is dishonored, souls are imperiled (Manuscript Releases 15, pp 172-175).
In order to receive His blessing in answer to prayer, they [ill because of unhealthful practices] must cease to do evil and learn to do well (Ministry of Healing, p. 227).
In order for them [those who desire prayer for their restoration to health] to receive His blessing, sin must be confessed and forsaken (Ministry of Healing, p. 228).
If any who are seeking health have been guilty of evilspeaking, if they have sowed discord in the home, the neighborhood, or the church, and have stirred up alienation and dissension, if by any wrong practice they have led others into sin, these things should be confessed before God and before those who have been offended. . . .When wrongs have been righted, we may present the needs of the sick to the Lord in calm faith, as His Spirit may indicate (Ministry of Healing, p. 229).
To press our petitions without a submissive spirit is not right; our prayers must take the form, not of command, but of intercession (Ministry of Healing, p. 230).
Praying for the sick is a most solemn thing, and we should not enter upon this work in any careless, hasty way. Examination should be made as to whether those who would be blessed with health have indulged in evil speaking, alienation, and dissension. Have they sowed discord among the brethren and sisters in the church? If these things have been committed, they should be confessed, before God and the church. When wrongs have been confessed, the subjects for prayer may be presented before God in earnestness and faith, as the Spirit of God may move upon you (Spalding and Magan, p. 6).