How to Pray for God to Listen
God is not a vending machine that dispenses with a deposited coin.
- Do not think of prayer as going to a vending machine to shop: Once you choose an item, you start praying, which is like dropping in the coins; with enough coins, you expect the items that you desire to be dispensed by the vending machine. It is as if you expect that with more prayers, whatever you desire would drop down from heaven. And if not, you think that prayers are not effective and that something must be wrong with God. It is like saying the vending machine is broken; you kick it and abandon it.
We have to know our almighty God is not a vending machine that accepts man’s prayer transactions to satisfy his predetermined choices. The sooner we give up this concept, the more we can face reality and do what needs to be done.
Prayer is not to write a love letter to God.
- Do not treat prayer as a love letter. In Luke chapter 15, the prodigal son who came home did not understand his father’s love and thought that with earnest words he would move his father’s heart to receive him back. Little did he know that his father had long been waiting for his return, and upon seeing his return, immediately put the best robe on him, a pair of shoes, and a ring which he had long before prepared for his son. The father also slayed a fattened calf to feast with him and celebrate his return.
Remember, God does not care for beautiful words of prayer; He is after the sincerity of our heart in turning and drawing near to Him. He said that even before we ask, the Father already knows what we need. He also promised us that if we seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, all these things will be added unto us (Matthew 6:33).
Many times, people misunderstand that prayer is a way of using God to get our wishes. We focus on the “how’s” and not on God Himself. But God is omniscient and not subject to bribery. “Now therefore let the fear of Jehovah be upon you; be careful how you act, for there is no iniquity with Jehovah our God, nor respect of persons, nor the taking of bribes” (2 Chronicles 19:7).
God will give you what you ought to receive sooner or later.
Prayer is to communicate with God, to inquire of Him, to know His desire, to have fellowship with God, and walk with Him. To use prayer to get what we want often leads to self-deception and a weakening of the faith. But if we use prayer to communicate with God, know God, and develop a relationship with Him, it is a foolproof way to gain Him.
May the Lord bless us to stretch forward and pursue toward the goal for the prize to which God in Christ Jesus has called us upward (Phil. 3:14)