Everyone knows that prayer is a main channel through which we communicate with God, but do you knowto God? Grasping the three points below, you will know how to pray to God so that God will listen.
The Lord Jesus said, “God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24).
God’s words say, “The minimum that God requires of man is that man be able to open his heart to Him. If man gives his true heart to God and speaks what is truly in his heart, then God is willing to work in him. What God desires is not the twisted heart of man, but a pure and honest heart. If man does not speak from his heart to God, then God will not move his heart or work in him. Therefore, the crux of prayer is to speak to God from your heart, telling Him your shortcomings or rebellious disposition, laying yourself completely open before Him; only then will God be interested in your prayers, or else He will hide His face from you.”
From God’s words we can see that God is faithful and that He likes honest people and also likes it when we speak sincerely to Him with an honest heart. For example, in the Bible it is written that the publican prayed, “God be merciful to me a sinner.” Although the publican said only a few words, these words were spoken honestly from the heart. He did not speak false or cloaked words in his prayer to deceive or fawn on God. On the contrary, with a pious heart, he spoke openly to God about what was in his heart and he spoke truthfully. He regretted his sinful deeds, and he asked God to take mercy on him and forgive him. The publican’s prayer was made from the heart and was sincere and earnest, and therefore God commended him.
Then how do we pray? Actually, most of the time we like saying pleasant-sounding words before God. For example, when we pray to God, we say that we will not leave Him no matter what the circumstances. But when we encounter something at odds with our notions, we put our prayer in the back of our mind, become filled with misunderstandings and blame toward God, and even shun and betray God. Let’s look at another example. We often come before God and make a resolution to Him, saying that we will practice God’s words and love God to eternity. In life, however, we treasure reputation and status, and are also able to often tell lies and deceive others for the sake of personal profit. Even if we give things up and expend ourselves for God, it is just done to gain blessings and crowns—it is not done to love and satisfy God…. When we are before God in prayer, we just say wonderful things to deceive God, so how can such prayers be approved by God? We must know that God is holy and is a jealous God, and that He loathes people’s falsity and deception, so we mustn’t give empty promises or spout empty slogans to deceive or fawn on God when we pray. Instead, we must pray to God with an honest, pure heart, speak sincerely and truthfully, and tell God about the true state of our hearts, our difficulties and weaknesses, and our true thoughts, asking Him to enlighten, lead, and work in us or discipline us. Only in this way can our prayers be heard by God.
God’s words say, “You seldom pray genuinely, and there are some who do not even know how. Actually, to pray is mainly to say what is in your heart, as if you were speaking as you normally do. However, there are people who forget their place as soon as they begin to pray; they insist that God grant them something, heedless of whether it accords with His will, and, as a result, their prayers wither in the praying. When you pray, whatever it is you are asking for in your heart, whatever it is you long for; or, perhaps, there is an issue you wish to address, but into which you have no insight, and you are asking that God give you wisdom or strength, or that He enlighten you—whatever your request, you must be sensible in phrasing it. If you are not, and kneel down and say, ‘God, give me strength; let me see my nature; I beg You to work; I beg You for this and that; I beg You to make me such-and-such….’ That ‘beg’ of yours has a coercive quality; it is an attempt to put pressure on God, to compel Him to do what you want—whose terms you have unilaterally decided in advance, no less. As the Holy Spirit sees it, what effect could such a prayer have, when you have already set the terms and decided what you want to do? One should pray with a seeking, submissive heart. When something has befallen you, for instance, and you are not sure how to handle it, you might say, ‘God! I do not know what to do about this. I wish to satisfy You in this matter, and to seek Your will. May Your will be done. I wish only to do as You will, not as I will. You know that all human will is contrary to Yours, and resists You, and does not accord with the truth. I ask that You enlighten me, give me guidance in this matter, and let me not offend You….’ That is the appropriate tone for a prayer.”
God’s words show us that whatever happens, we must abide by our own position in prayer and pray to God with a seeking and obedient heart, rather than constantly asking God for things in return or asking Him to do as we desire. Only when we pray to seek God’s guidance and leadership for the sake of satisfying God, are our prayers reasonable and can we gain God’s enlightenment and guidance.
Then how do we pray in our daily lives? When we encounter something that doesn’t fit with our own desires or encounter natural or man-made disasters, most of the time we pray to ask God to take away such environments and protect us from disasters. For example, when we encounter a problem at work, something unfortunate happens to our family, or we ourselves become sick, we implore God to take away these environments, protect us from disasters, or heal us. We appear to pray in earnest to God, but our prayers are nothing but pleas, perhaps pleading for God to bless us, or to arrange this or prepare that for us. By praying in this way, we are taking an incorrect stance and are trying to compel God to do so, full of extravagant desires and requirements of God—we aren’t standing in the place of a created being to worship God. Such prayers are unreasonable and not in accordance with, so God will not hear these prayers and the Holy Spirit will not work in or lead us.
So, when we come across tribulations, trials, and the things at odds with our notions, we should pray to God with a seeking and obedient heart—this is the only way God will hear our prayers. For example, when calamities befall us, we can pray to God, “O God, now faced with this disaster, I feel very helpless and don’t know how to experience it. I don’t understand why You permitted such a thing to befall me and I’m feeling a bit weak. But I know Your will is good. May You enlighten and lead me to understand Your will. I’m willing to obey Your sovereignty and arrangements, stand witness for You and satisfy You….” If we are able to seek and pray to God with an obedient heart like this, we will not speak sinfully, and will receive God’s protection, enlightenment and leadership, so that we will understand God’s will.
God says, “If prayer is to be effective, then it must be based on the reading of God’s words. Only by praying from within God’s words can one receive greater enlightenment and illumination. The manifestations of aare: Having a heart that yearns for all that God asks, and moreover desires to accomplish what He demands; detesting that which God detests and then, building on this foundation, gaining some understanding of it, and having some knowledge and clarity regarding the truths God expounds. Where there is resolution, faith, knowledge, and a path of practice following prayer, only then can it be called true prayer, and only this type of prayer can be effective.”
From these words we can see that when we pray from within God’s words, seek to understand God’s will, and seek how to satisfy God, such prayer is in accordance with God’s will.
For example, God requires this of us: “God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24). We can see that God asks us to use our hearts to truthfully worship God. So how should we practice in real life? What can we do to worship God in spirit and in truth? First we can pray to God with this burden. In addition, when we see from God’s words that God asks us people, then we can pray and reach out to God: “What are specific manifestations in honest people? What expressions of dishonesty do I possess?” These are just a few examples. In short, we should pray from within God’s words to seek God’s will. When we understand the truth in God’s words and understand God’s will and requirements through prayer, we will be able to forsake ourselves and practice according to God’s words when we encounter issues. So, only when our prayers are established on the foundation of reading God’s words can they be heard by God, and moreover our will be closer than before.
From the above fellowship we can see that the reason why our prayers aren’t heard by God and we cannot feel God is because there is a problem with our prayers. If we are able to practice according to the three paths above, the results of our prayers will get better and better and our relationship with God will become closer and closer.
Editor’s Note: After reading this article, “How to Pray to God So That God Will Listen,” I believe you will grasp the three paths to pray so that God will listen. If you feel this article has been helpful to you, please share it with others. If you’d like to learn more about the practice of prayer, please leave a message below to contact us.