We all want our prayers answered and it would be easy to write a book on the topic but here are just three simple thoughts.
1. A humble heart
Hebrews 5:7 (NIV)
7 During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission.
A humble heart does not take God for granted or assume that because of who you are in this world, or who you are in the Church, that God will grant your request. Jesus was The Son, and He came to God in reverent submission. A humble heart may mean you hide away in your room with bended knees in a place where only God can see you. It is not about the words you use, but the heart you pray from.
There are many traps that can give us a wrong focus. One key trap is taking God for granted. Just because we have instant access to the throne room of the Living God through Jesus Christ, that does not mean it is right to charge on in with a list of requests.
Think of your own prayer life and how humble you are before God.
2. A listening heart
1 John 5:14-15
14 And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.
When we pray, it is easy to spend all the time talking and telling God what should happen. If we want God to answer our prayers then we need to hear Him and His will or least give Him an opportunity to speak into our situations. We may often assume that our will is correct and God will logically be aligned to our will. For example, we may say to ourselves “surely it is God’s will to heal me” or “surely it is God’s will to get me a new job” This may well be His will, but do you know that? – or have you assumed it?
To pray according to His will means we need to stop and listen. It means allowing time for the Lord to speak to our hearts so that we can hear His will. God will speak through scripture and/or whisper into our hearts or speak through other believers. If we give God the opportunity to speak to us, then He will speak at the right time and as you wait for that time it may be that you will still be praying for that answer the best way you know.
A heart that is ready to listen to God, will hear His will. If we hear God’s will, we can pray according to that will. God may not answer in the way we want Him to, but we will be blessed with an answer.
3. A thankful heart
1 Thessalonians 5:17-18
17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
When Jesus healed 10 lepers, only 1 came back to say thank you. (Luke 17:14–16) If this was a representative statistic then only 10% of us remember to thank God for answers to prayer. Indeed 1 Thessalonians 5:18 tells us that His will for us is to give thanks and I am sure many of us often fail to do this. We all want to know God’s will in our lives but many of us fail in this one basic area of giving thanks.
Think of the blessings you do have in your life and be thankful or just thank God that He is there to listen.
It is the will of God that you give thanks.
Prayers that get answered are asked with a
- Humble heart
- Listening heart
- Thankful heart
Ultimately, we have to trust in God’s love for us and power to help us, even when it seems that the answer we are looking for is not there. Scripture gives us the confidence that God’s help is always present. “Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord!” (Psalm 31:24).
To learn more about prayer, check the post on Prayer