"Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself. . . ."
- Luke 18:10-11
God answers all prayer. Sometimes we think that isn't the case. The truth is that sometimes God will say no to our prayer, and we just don't like the answer. God answers all prayer with yes, no, or wait.
So how can we have our prayers answered more often in the affirmative? Is there anything that we can do to cause God to say yes instead of no?
We can start by making sure that we are actually offering our prayers to God. You might be thinking, That is the stupidest thing I have ever heard. Isn't all prayer offered to God? Actually, no. Haven't you ever prayed and had your mind wander? While you or someone else are praying, you are thinking, Did I turn the iron off when I left the house? I don't know if I did. Oh, I need to call so-and-so. You know, for lunch I think I am going to get a hamburger. . . .
You can be praying with your eyes closed and hands folded, but not be praying at all. By the way, you can pray with your eyes open too. In the Bible, we read of people praying with their eyes open, their eyes closed, and their eyes lifted to heaven. We find them on their knees, laying on their faces, and lifting their hands. Any posture for prayer is acceptable. But the main thing is that our prayer should be to God.
Jesus told the story of the Pharisee who "prayed thus with himself" (Luke 18:11), meaning his prayers basically went no higher than the ceiling, because there was no thought whatsoever of the God he was addressing.
That is why, when the disciples said to Jesus, "Lord, teach us to pray," He began His model prayer with the words, "Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name" (Luke 11:2).
So to be answered more often in the affirmative, our prayers need to be offered to God.
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