In Psalm 143:1 David pleads, “Hear my prayer, O LORD, give ear to my supplications! In Your faithfulness answer me, and in Your righteousness.” We all want our prayers to be heard and answered but the sad fact is many simply do not know how to pray. It is not uncommon in regard to prayer to hear folks say they don’t know what to say or how to say it.” Even the disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray (Luke 11:1).
While Jesus answered His disciples with the model prayer (and the outline He sets forth for us there is indeed a great place to start) I want us to consider something Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount. In Matthew 7:7–8 Jesus sets forth important factors that, if followed, will benefit us with regard to prayer. Jesus said, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” The application of this in line with our subject of prayer is that our prayer should be…
Simple. Jesus said, “Ask.” Asking is a prerequisite of receiving. Verse eight says, “For everyone who asks receives.” James said, “You do not have because you do not ask” (James 4:2). Pray is not as complicated as men often teach or think. Keep it simple, talk to God.
Intense. Jesus says, “Seek.” Seeking is a precondition of discovery. Again in verse eight Jesus says, “he who seeks finds.” Through the prophet Jeremiah the Lord said, “And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13). Prayer should be a pouring out of ourselves to God.
Persistent. Jesus said, “Knock.” Knocking is the persistent action by which the divine storehouse of God’s blessings is accessed. Notice again Jesus says, “to him who knocks it will be opened.” We often think of persistence in prayer in the framework of repeatedly asking God for the same thing, but may I suggest that persistence here may have more to do with Paul’s instruction to, “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). How persistent are we in prayer?
While these things will all help us in regards to aiding in the Lord hearing our prayers there is one other crucial factor that must be mentioned. Above all else, in order for the Lord to hear and answer our prayers, we must be right with God! James 5:16 says, “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” 1 Peter 3:12 declares, “For the eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their prayers; but the face of the LORD is against those who do evil.”
If you are not in a right relationship with God today you need to understand that your sins are hindering the ears of the Lord from hearing your prayers. Isaiah 59:2 proclaims, “But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear.”
Jesus died for every man on the cross, became our advocate, so that we might have access to the Father (Ephesians 2:18). If you will come to Him in obedience, repenting of your sins, confessing His name, and being baptized for the remission of your sins, He will cleanse you and open His ear to you. If you are a Christian who has fallen away, if you will repent and ask His forgiveness, you can once again enjoy the privilege of saying, “Lord, hear my prayer,” and the assurance that He will.