Imagine with me for a second.
Imagine that you grew up a lowly peasant in a faraway kingdom, and then one day you were summoned by the King. He brings you to his palace and tells you that he wants to meet with you every day, privately, so you can sit across the table from him and tell him what you want from him. It can be anything–what you want as far as foreign policy, what you need from him for your family, what you want for yourself–absolutely anything. And he’ll give it to you.
Would you jump at the chance?
This is total nonsense, right? What king would allow that–and with someone who can do nothing for him.
What if I told you that the king in this scenario is our God–that He has extended that invitation to you? To all of us?
What if I pointed out that many of us are not taking Him up on this offer–that many of us are too bored by His offer to take Him up on it?
This isn’t just some king of a faraway kingdom no one has ever heard of. This is the God of the universe. He hung the stars and knows each one. He knows the number of hairs on the head of every single person on Earth. He breathes life into every creature and knows exactly what is going to happen to you this time next year.
He can do anything He wants.
So why do we need to be more excited about prayer? Because God answers them!
Here are a couple of reasons why He would answer our prayers.
Truth #1: God answers prayers because of our faith.
I know a lot of Christians who pray like they don’t expect anything from God. They go through the motions of asking, but it’s really obvious that it’s just for the sake of fulfilling a religious quota.
I did that for a long time, and I can tell you firsthand that it’s no fun.
You know what is fun? Praying to a God I know I can count on, a God who would violently shake the foundations of the earth in His anger if I called out to Him in distress (Psalm 18). That kind of prayer is far more exciting. I prefer praying passionately over praying because someone told me I’m obligated to–by a long shot.
He prefers that kind of prayer, too.
Our faith is moving to God.
We learn from the gospels that extreme, reckless faith moves Jesus’ heart. We see it in Luke 7 with the centurion, and in Matthew 15 with the Canaanite woman. When people asked Jesus for things with full confidence in His power and His identity, it deeply affected Him and He gave them what they asked for.
We can be modern versions of those people. We can be the ones who ask God for what we need in complete faith–faith that stirs His heart with affection.
Matthew 21:22 says, “And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.”
Isn’t it amazing that anything we do could possibly affect the God of the universe? More than that, the thing that does affect Him is nothing more than our confidence in who He is.
Conversely, James 1:6-7 says, “the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord.” If we doubt, we can’t expect God to answer our prayers. It’s as simple as that.
This seems harsh, I know, but when I really think about it, the times I’ve doubted God the most are the times when I forget how good He is because I haven’t spent any time with Him. They are the times when I am not abiding in Him much or at all, which brings me to…
Truth #2: God answers prayers because we abide in Him, and He in us.
When we spend time with God, our faith increases naturally because we get to know how good, powerful, loving, and strong He is. We start to realize that He truly is the King of the world, able to do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20).
More than that, even, it causes our hearts to align with His. In John 15:7 Jesus says, “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.”
First of all, how do we abide in Him?
Here’s a gift to all you language nerds out there!
Note: I am one of you. I’m currently learning Greek on Duolingo.
The word “abide” in this passage comes from the Greek word μενω (menó), which can also mean “to remain,” or “to continue to be,” or “to wait for.”
“If you remain with me…”
“If you continue to be with me…”
“If you wait for me…”
It sounds like He just wants us to stay with Him. We can do this through time alone with Him, but we also need to consciously remain with Him as a state of mind. I know for me, it’s really easy to get distracted by what is seen, what is right in front of me. I have to constantly remind myself of God’s presence and the bigger picture.
Remaining with God rather than living for ourselves is a sacrifice, but it’s one that is rewarded.
I believe that He answers the prayers of those who abide in Him because those people’s hearts are aligned with His. He already wants to do the things they’re asking for. He is the One who put those desire in their hearts in the first place.
Truth #3: God answers prayers because He loves us.
“For I, the Lord your God hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you.” ~Isaiah 41:13
2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you.
3 For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
I give Egypt as your ransom,
Cush and Seba in exchange for you.
4 Because you are precious in my eyes,
and honored, and I love you,
I give men in return for you,
peoples in exchange for your life.
God helps us because He loves us.
God saved us because He loves us, He listens to us because He loves us, and He answers prayers because He loves us.
What if I just forget to pray?
This is a valid question. We’re all busy; we all have things that eat up our day. It can be hard to remember what we’ve already prayed for and what we haven’t.
Step 1: Find a way to keep track of your prayer life.
Prayer journaling is one way to mitigate this forgetfulness, and I know that works well for lots of people. I found this really great article on prayer journaling.
If you’re like me, though, and you’re not a fan of writing out your prayers, you can do what I do and use a prayer schedule. Just make a note on it whenever you pray for something. I made one for you that you can use throughout the week. This way you don’t have to write endlessly, but you still have something visual you can look at later and start to notice prayers being answered. I took the liberty of creating another printable you can use to mitigate this forgetfulness.
Step 2: Pick a time to pray.
I know people who pray in the shower, in the car, in their closets, first thing in the morning…they run the gamut. It really doesn’t matter so much when you pray, so much as that you are actually praying.
If you can, set an alarm and then pray, no matter where you are.
Prayer is one of the most valuable tools at our disposal, and we need to stop neglecting it!
So join with me and pray, friends.
Imagine how the world could change.
Thanks for reading,