Criteria for God Hearing Our Prayers
Prayer is talking with God, but there are conditions attached to prayers.
1. You must have faith
“Whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith” (Matt 21:22 RSV). It means you must believe that God is able to do what you ask Him to do. “Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6).
2. You must be thankful
“Have no anxiety about anything but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your request be made known unto God” (Phil.4:6). Thanksgiving is a worship state of mind which is as important as believing in God’s power to help.
3. You must be at one with God
Jesus said, “If you abide in me and my words abide in you, ask whatever you will and it shall be done for you” (John 15:7). Which is the same meaning as Ps 34:15. “The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous and His ears are open unto their cry”. Identification with God’s righteous purpose is a prime factor.
4. You must be resigned to His will
“And this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask any thing according to His will, He hears us” (1 John 5:14). “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me, nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt…thy will be done (Matt 26:29-42). It is reasonable to yield to His will before you pray.
5. You must be patient
As David says, “I waited patiently for the Lord and He inclined unto me and heard my cry” (Ps 40:1). “Wait on the Lord, be of good courage, and He shall strengthen thine heart”.
If all prayers were answered immediately under the urgency of our pleading we would probably be sadly disillusioned. Our vision is so limited that it is always wisest to wait for God to answer as and when His wisdom may deem best. Lastly, you must cherish no sinful desire, “If I regard iniquity in my heart the Lord will not hear me” (Ps 66:18). This does not mean that a person has to be perfect before they can pray. Over and over again God invites sinners to call upon Him. But you need to be sorry for your sins and willing to be free from every evil thought, word and deed for your prayers to be effective.
James A. Mwangomo (Ilomba, Tanzania)