God hears our prayers; He hears all of our prayers even if that means that your prayers are not answered the way you like. To answer the question “how to you pray” or “does God answer prayers,” you must first learn how to pray and how God looks at prayers.
The first lesson you need to learn if you want to learn how to pray in a way that God will answer your prayers, is that God is not a genie. God will and can give us what we want, but that does not mean that He will. It is always your right to pray for anything that you want, but God reserves the right to not answer your prayer. I have prayed for something and didn’t understand why God did not answer my prayers then, but years later I saw why He didn’t. I have also prayed for something, the healing of a family member, was one of them (see blog here) and that prayer never got answered and I still don’t know why.
A part of learning to pray effectively is learning that God does not always answer prayers the way we would like and when you pray you have to be able to accept that.
Now that we got that lesson how of the way let’s learn how to pray in a way that God will answer.
Praying For What God Wants
As your grow in your walk with God, you will begin to want what God wants, and you will begin to pray how God wants you to pray. And when you pray what God wants you to pray then He is going to answer those prayers because He is the one that told you to pray it in the first place. You will learn to recognize what to pray for and what not to pray for. A big mistake is that we pray for things we should not be praying for. We may pray to keep a job or to make a promotion. Even though that prayer seems harmless and would be good for us, God may be trying to move you to another job. These are things that we recognize when we are plugged into God. He will tell us what He wants us to do in that moment. So instead of praying to stay at one job, God would direct you to pray for another job and give you the wisdom to know which job to take, because He is the one who told you to do it. If you pray to stay at a job and you get fired. You may feel like God did not answer your prayer. But He did, His intention was for you to move to another job. But since you wouldn’t listen to Him and do it voluntarily, He moved you involuntarily. This is an example of God answering prayers in an unexpected way. But had you been listening to the Holy Spirit, you would have known that it was time for you to move on and prayed for wisdom in that, instead of staying where you are.
Praying With A Pure Heart
When you pray God knows the reason why you are praying. You cannot pray for someone to get hurt, for someone to get fired, and do not pray prayers that really come a place of malice. You can tell yourself that you are praying this prayer from a good place, but that will be determined by God. If you are coming from a place of ill will even if it is not apparent to you, it is apparent to God. And your prayers will not get answered.
There is nothing wrong with praying for people. You can pray that you’re ex-boyfriend lives a happy life. But you cannot pray that your ex will see how awesome you are and come back to you. God is not the God of force. He is never going to force someone to do what you want them to do, if the person does not want to do it. That is why He gave all of us free choice. And prayers that take free choice from other people, will never be answered.
Praying a Selfless Prayer
Even if you are praying for yourself, and you will benefit from it; it still must be a selfless prayer. When I was younger, I once prayed for wisdom. I did it because I read the Bible verse saying that wisdom is given to anyone who ask. When I prayed, I didn’t do it because I wanted to be the smartest person in the world. I didn’t do it because I wanted to make money. I did it because I wanted to be able to make good decisions for myself. And my wisdom did not come a day. It came over the course of years.
Let’s talk about when Solomon asked for Wisdom
“’Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, that I may discern between good and evil, for who is able to govern this your great people?’ It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this. And God said to him, ‘Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches or the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right” 1 Kings 3:9-11
Solomon asked for wisdom so that he could lead God’s people (this was a selfless prayer). God not only answered his prayer but also gave Solomon riches because his prayer was so selfless. And because his prayer was selfless, he got the answer to his original prayer and more than what he prayed for.
You can read my blog here on how to talk to God. I remember when I prayed it was some formal ritual that I just did, just to say that I did it and hoped that God would come through. God spoke back and told me that I was not real, I was not being real with Him and it was hard to take my prayer seriously. God knows you, God knows what bothers you, and He knows what you want to pray for. Going before God and putting on this fake version of yourself to prove how Christian you are is not going to fly. Have you ever encountered a fake person? You know they are not really like that, but they put on this fake mask and try to pretend to be something they are not. That is how God sees us when we pray a fake prayer.
“Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them. But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days.” Daniel 10:12-13
Daniel prayed and God answered his prayer right away, but the devil fought the angel sent to answer Daniel’s prayer. And for that reason Daniel’s prayer was not answered for 21 one days. For some people it may take longer.
That is why even after we send our prayers to God, we must never lose faith that He will answer our prayers, provided that you follow the advice given to you above.
If you want to know where to start on how to pray, then I will tell you.
Pray that God speaks to your heart, mind body, and soul. Pray that He guides your footsteps and tells you what to pray for and how He wants you to pray. It is such a simple prayer but a powerful prayer. And if you say it with a pure heart wanting what you really say, then God will answer it. It is selfless, it is what God wants, it does not impose on the will of others, and it is not fake. That prayer is one that will be answered.