Question: I believe in prayer and I’ve heard about lots of other people who get answers to their prayers, but mine never seem to go anywhere. I must be doing something wrong, but what? How can I get better results?
Answer: When you pray for someone or some situation, the first requirement is faith.“Whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them” (Mark 11:24). “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6). There are also a few other basic principles to prayer.
It may seem to go without saying that you need to ask, but you’d be surprised how many people get stuck in “worry” or “wish” mode; they continue to “have not because they ask not” (James 4:2).
Sometimes “when you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives” (James 4:3 NIV). You need to make sure that your aims are right, and you need to trust that God knows what’s best for you and be willing to accept His answer, even when He doesn’t answer your prayer in the way you wanted or expected Him to.
God is all-powerful, and He truly does want to give us the very best. If you can grasp and believe those two points, you will find great cause to thank and praise Him even before He answers, and that praise will push your prayers to a whole new level.
It’s not just a matter of including words of praise in your prayer, though; it’s the attitude in which those prayers are prayed. When you praise and really mean it, that shows you’re putting your confidence in God. Prayers prayed with full faith in God’s power, when coupled with thankfulness for all He has already done and all He will yet do, are prayers full of praise. They are positive declarations of faith, as opposed to a frantic beseeching. Do you see the difference?
Another key is to make prayer a habit. The more you pray, even for seemingly small or routine things, the more natural prayer will become and the more you will learn to recognize God’s answers. Prayer and praise go hand in hand, and using them together is a wonderful way to bring God more into your daily life and thoughts. Whenever things are going well, praise Him for that. Whenever you run into a problem or things aren’t going well, thank Him that things aren’t always like that, show confidence that He will work things out for good in some way, and pray for His solution. When you have that praiseful, trusting attitude, it pleases Him and it’s His pleasure to answer your prayers. “Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4).