We all had times when God did not answer prayer the way we expected. Some of us have grown discouraged because of that. But think for a moment. Has God changed? Has his promises to us about prayer changed? No.
Therefore let us not grow discouraged and stop praying. Instead of fighting with God about unanswered prayer let us seek after God with tears and repentance. He will answer because he is true to what he has promised in his Word about prayer.
Now what is our problem with prayer? First of all, we think about prayer as asking God to get something for ourselves. This idea of prayer is not the primary motive for prayer. Prayer is first and foremost a conversation with our heavenly Father. For right praying our relationship should be right with God. Is your relationship with God right at the moment? Or have you forsaken your first love, your great enthusiasm for God when you first met him?
Fall in Love
The secret is to fall in love with God one more time, again and again, for your prayers to become right. Then you will not approach God just to ask for benefits and blessings. Of course, there is nothing wrong in asking for them. Every child will ask his father for whatever he needs. That is quite ok. But beyond that let your time of prayer have an air of love, romance and intimacy with God. Prayer than shall become a joy for God has promised to give his children joy in the house of prayer.
Give Up Bitterness
It is impossible to approach God with bitterness in our heart against someone. Our anger and unforgiving attitude and hatred will be like huge walls that come between us and God. There might be valid reasons for your anger. But the problem is that God has forgiven us much already. What if he holds anger and wrath against you and me? Will we stand? Therefore search your heart and ask God to help you forgive. You need his help to do so.
There is nothing like praise that can lift up your spirit. Try to recollect all that God is. He is good, merciful and compassionate. He is above all, full of glory and majesty and honour. He is incomparably holy. Think on all these and more. And slowly but surely, with a thankful heart, start praising him. You might not feel like doing this when your circumstances are bad. But start praising God. By doing so, you are saying that God is in perfect control of your entire situation. So, when everything looks hopeless and beyond repair; thank him and praise him. He will take care of your needs and all the mistakes you have made.
As a believer, you cannot have your feet in two boats at the same time. Most of our prayers are not answered because we play with evil. It can be in our talk, in our looks, in our attitudes or even in what we love to listen to. It can be in our actions. Whatever it is, seek God’s help in staying away from evil. When you have a clean heart and pure heart, you will find it a joy to pray to God.
Praying for Others
God has kept us as a community of believers. Even when he is deeply interested in us as individuals, he is more concerned about the body of Jesus Christ. That is the entire community of believers. One of the great privileges you have is to pray for your fellow believer. When you pray for your fellow believer you are blessing him or her with the favour of God. And slowly they will come out of their discouragement, whatever it is. What a joy it is to help someone find strength in God as Jonathan did for David!
When answers are delayed to prayer we grow discouraged. Now why does God not answer quickly? Several reasons might be there. Our motives might not be pure. God waits to know whether we need something desperately or we just wish for something. God delays to prepare the time and circumstances and people to be ready to bless us with an answer that is far above what we have dreamed of. Beyond all this God delays answering our prayers to build our faith and character. They have greater worth in his eyes than gold.
Start Praying and Never Give Up
Jesus told a parable of the persistent widow to tell us that we should always pray and never give up. We should watch and pray so that we will not fall into temptation. We should pray because God has given great promises about prayer. We should pray because the Bible records the prayers of God’s people and it also shows God as our Mighty God who answers prayer. We should pray because God has given us the Holy Spirit to help us in our prayers. Do not worry about praying perfectly. None of us can do so. But keep praying. The more you pray, the more you learn to pray.
Often we fail to pray because we wait for the right moment to pray. Even though it is helpful to have a quiet place and time to pray, it is not a must. Even as you are reading this, why not stop for a moment. Just lift your heart in thanks and adore God who loves you. Get back to God; and get back to him in prayer just now! Amen!