Grace and peace to you.
1. Do not give God a timeframe to grant your request. “This is what the Lord says, at just the right time, I will answer you…” (Isaiah 49:8 NLT). Our generation is guilty of being in a hurry and thinking that we know the right time that things should occur. And so, when we make requests, we expect God to respond in our timeframe. This approach is disrespectful to him. We are implying that we are wiser than him and he should conform to our expectations. God is Sovereign, he has a plan for us and knows the right time to grant our petitions. As such, he is pleased when we trust his timing and patiently wait on him.
2. Do not repeat words. “When you pray, don’t babble on and on as the Gentiles do. They think their prayers are answered merely by repeating their words again and again” (Matthew 6:7 NLT). We are all guilty of repetition during prayer at least once in our lifetime. We engage in this behavior because we think that our prayers will be more pleasing to God and he will grant us our desires. It also makes us feel good, holy, and close to God. Interestingly, these thoughts and feelings are inconsistent with God’s words. God has an excellent memory and remembers our words, consequently, repetitions are not necessary. They will not inspire God to answer our prayers.
3. Do not pray to be seen. “But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you” (Matthew 6:6 NLT). Private prayers indicate that God is your only audience. During these prayers, pretensions and boastings are stripped away and you are focused on genuinely talking and listening to him. Private prayers yield remarkable results.
4. Do not ask for things to appease your selfish desires. “And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong, you want only what will give you pleasure” (James 4:3 NLT). God loves when you request resources to carry out your divine assignments. For example, if your assignment is teaching, ask for wisdom, knowledge and other things that will enhance your teaching abilities. Solomon’s request was granted because he asked for wisdom to help him carry out his duties.
5. Do not expect your will to be done. “Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine” (Luke 22:42 NLT). In this prayer, Jesus expressed his desire but asked that God’s will be done. You are required to do the same. If you make requests according to your will and expect God to fulfill it, you will be disappointed. God is obligated to fulfill his will and not yours. For this reason, he encourages you to pray for his will to be done.
6. Do not harbor sin. “If I had not confessed the sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened” (Psalm 66:18 NLT). You might agree that it is better not to pray than to do so while harboring unconfessed sins. The Bible teaches that we have all sinned (Romans 3:23), and if we think we are without sin, we deceive ourselves (1 John 1:8). Consequently, we are encouraged to confess our sins when we pray. By so doing, God will hear our prayers.
7. Do not doubt that God will answer your prayer. “But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind” (James 1:6 NLT). God promises that whatever we ask for that is in agreement with his plan, he will give to us. Therefore, when we pray accordingly, he wants us to believe wholeheartedly that our request will be granted.
Heavenly Father, help us to adhere to these commandments. In Jesus’ name, amen.