When we really want something or something to happen, we fall down to our knees in passionate prayer, calling out to God, telling him we would die if our request goes unfulfilled. Then, we get up and wait a couple days. Nothing. We pray maybe a second time, this time with a tad bit disappointment, sounding something like this: “Dear Heavenly Father, please, please, please, I really need this. Please answer me. I don’t know why You aren’t answering me but just please help me during this time.” We get up, some of us with our eyebrows knitted, and wait a couple of days. Still nothing. Okay, I guess that’s that, we think, God doesn’t want to answer me.
We must remember that God also has a reason for answering or not answering a particular prayer and He always works within His time. Is there a sure way to pray so that our prayers are answered by God? The answer is yes.
First, we need to set a plan or organize a request. Bottom line: What are we asking for? We should first put our request through criteria check before submitting it to God and ask: Does this go in accordance with the Will of God? Does this contribute to building the Kingdom of God? The motive behind the request is probably the most important part in prayer. Are we just thinking about ourselves? Although we ask to fulfill a personal need, does the big picture lead to accomplishing God’s Will and returning glory to Him? Jesus taught his disciples to pray the Lord’s prayer asking that God’s “Will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” The core of his prayers are centered on God. Jesus also said, “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given unto you.” When we first focus on God’s kingdom first, all our requests will be answered naturally.
It’s also good to be specific. For example, we would like more people to come to our small group meetings or some type of gathering. We should set a goal with the members of our group and pray to God mentioning a specific number and even a date by which to bring that many to the meeting.
Planning allows the co-work between God and us to accomplish the goal at hand to go smoothly. Remember that although God is the one who answers us, it is not that He does everything for us. He may do a significant large portion of the word we need to get done but He also needs us to co-work with him to make it possible. Jesus healed many sick people but conclusively would credit their faith as what saved them. Even with a mustard seed of effort and faith on our part, God can do miracles.
Second, we need to actually pray. Make a date with God to pray at designated times. He will surely meet us at that time. Jesus tells us Matthew 7:7 that those who seek will find, those who ask will receive, and those who knock will have the doors opened for them.
When we pray to God, we are communicating to Him. In turn and in time, He will respond to us completing the communication. However, we must not let static such as distractions enter us while we pray. Static can also be the doubt within us, withholding us from laying all our trust in God while we pray. It is important to first repent and give thanks to God first before praying to God for our requests.
Third, we need to pray not once or twice, but as many times it takes to have our prayers answered. Think of a prayer is not one session in front of God but a journey just like college is not just one day. Persistence is the secret to a potent prayer. Elijah prayed seven times but by his attitude of prayer, we know he would’ve prayed more than seven times if God didn’t answer him by then.
Persistence also pays off in other stories in the Bible. A widow asks an unjust judge to grant her revenge against her enemy. Although the unjust judge “neither fears God nor care about men” he agreed to the woman’s request so that “she won’t wear me out with her coming.” She kept bothering him until she got what she wanted. We should also persistently bother God until our prayers are answered. We sometimes retract our prayers because we are afraid of annoying God, thinking He must have more important things to do. However, in the relationship of love, asking and relying on another is something beautiful. The mother usually wants to know what her child wants to eat after school or for dinner so she can prepare it. She does the same thing during Christmas time, ask what the child wants so she could prepare it her childe.
God is not the unjust like the judge but He is just. “Wouldn’t he grant His Holy Spirit to his children who call out night and day?” He wants to know what we need so He could prepare it for us but we must show Him how much we really want what we are asking for by being persistent.
Peeking is in other words checking. We may pray and pray persistently but we must also need to check to see whether God has answered our prayers yet. Elijah prayed for rain during a time of drought. He sent his servant out each time after his prayer to check for signs of rain. When he saw a cloud as small as a man’s hand, he immediately sent the messenger to warn the people of the upcoming storm. If we check then we can ensure that God’s answer to our prayers will not go unreceived and unremembered.
The last sure way of praying in such a way as to have our prayers answered is placing our trust in the Providence of God. It may seem contradictory that we are praying because we have a specific request but must be open to the type of provision God has in store for us but this is faith. Faith is trusting that God knows me better than I know myself, knows my desires better than I know them, and wants to provide better things for me than I would want for myself. Therefore, in faith we submit our prayer requests to God believing He will answer them but also in faith we have a flexible mind and heart to receive what God gives. In Isaiah 55:9, God says, “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Our thoughts and ways are incomparable to God’s.