The hindrances to solitude are those things that grieve God within us, and therefore would keep us from prayer. There are many things that would grieve God, but we will talk about four things in particular.
The sins of lust. What I am referring to here are all those sins that are sexual in nature—immorality, impurity, and lust. I believe God is especially grieved by these kinds of sins. They are a perversion of His most precious and intimate gift. Furthermore, they are extremely damaging to our relationship with God and others, and they corrupt us to the deepest level of our being.
The root of these kinds of sins (Eph. 4:19) seems to be the hardening of the heart toward God, to the point where there is no sensitivity toward Him and others. One who has developed this hard, rebel heart has blocked out God and has decided to get his needs for intimacy met on his own terms and in his own way.
The result of this kind of sin, for a believer, is that there is great turmoil in the soul—for he seeks pleasure in the flesh, and at the same time, in his spirit, he hates what he does (Rom. 7:15). Wherever he goes and whatever he does to find solitude, if he does not confess his sin and get right with God there will be war against his soul (1 Pet. 2:11).
The sins of anger. Anger is one of those sins that invites many other sins to come along with it. I think the angrier we get and the longer we continue being angry the more sins we seem to attract to ourselves. So what I am speaking of here as the sins of anger is not only anger itself, but all those sins that go along with it, such as quarreling, jealousy, factions, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder (2 Cor. 12:20), also bitterness, malice, unforgiveness (Eph. 4:31), and filthy language (Col. 3:8). I would say that anger is the sin that keeps these other sins together and strengthens them; and in turn they work to strengthen anger. Together they work in harmony (or perhaps in disharmony) as a choir, not to sing but to yell and curse and cause discord.
These sins are a great hindrance to finding inner solitude—for God is greatly grieved by them, and therefore, it is impossible to pray and commune with Him.
The sins of pride and selfishness. Pride and selfishness, I would say, are sort of the same. To be prideful is to be arrogant, rude, haughty, and disdainful. Selfishness, it seems, is the root of pride. It means to think only of yourself, or at least to think more of yourself than others. One who is selfish and prideful is one who is always thinking of his own status and importance and reputation and happiness—without regard to others. He is also one who thinks others should serve Him, but he doesn’t really care to serve them (Phil. 2:2-8).
The entanglements of this world. What I am speaking of here are all the things of this world that tend to entangle us and entrap us so that we have no time for God. As I see it from scripture, there are three parts to this world (or to worldliness) that seeks to entangle us.
1. Material things and the pleasures of this world
2. The values and beliefs of this world
3. The lifestyle of this world.
This is another excerpt from my book Joy of Prayer