Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.

—1 John 5:21
Everyone is passionate about something. Some people are passionate about clothes. Other people are passionate about sports. Some are passionate about computers. Some are passionate about cars. Others are passionate about their careers. And that area can become so important to them that they eat, drink, and breathe it. It essentially can become their god.

God warned the prophet Ezekiel, “Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their hearts, and put before them that which causes them to stumble into iniquity. Should I let Myself be inquired of at all by them?” (Ezekiel 14:3). Idols in our hearts can hinder our prayers.

You may say, “I don’t have any idols in my life. I don’t go and bow before some statue. Therefore, this doesn’t apply to me.” Yet we are told in the New Testament, “Little children, keep yourselves from idols” (1 John 5:21).

Understand, an idol is anything or anyone that takes the place of God in our lives. Is there something right now that is more important to you than Jesus Christ is? Let me rephrase that: Is there something in your life right now that, if God were to ask you to give it up, you would be unwilling to?

If so, that very well could be an idol. It is not because God wants that particular thing. He wants your heart. But if that thing, if that pursuit, if that possession, or whatever it might be, could get in the way of your relationship with Him, it could be an idol that might hinder your prayers.

Is a relationship with someone more important to you than God? Is it keeping you away from Him? Is something you’re engaged in more important than Him? Consider that, because it could be hindering your prayer life.

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