“And if we know that He hears whatever we ask, we know that we have what we have asked Him for.” 1 John 5:15 (HCSB)
Praying is not just wishful thinking. What we believe about God and prayer makes a huge difference. In fact, we can actually undermine the effectiveness of our own prayer by the words we speak and/or by our doubt. To say things like, “I think prayer matters” or “I hope God will answer” or “I am not sure if God cares, or even heard my prayer” simply releases doubt and unbelief into the spiritual atmosphere around you. If you don’t believe God heard you, or cares, then you will doubt the effectiveness of your prayers. You will lack confidence regarding receiving what you ask for in prayer. At this point, prayer can become a wish list.
James tells us to ask without doubting (1:6-8). He calls the one who is a doubter a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways, who should not expect to receive what he asked for! Ouch!!! Faith matters!
John tells us that when we ask we need to know that God hears (1 John 5:12). In other words, we must not doubt but believe that God has indeed heard our prayer and is going to respond! When Daniel prayed and the answer was delayed, he didn’t doubt (Daniel 10). The problem wasn’t that God didn’t hear Daniel’s prayer or that prayer didn’t work, but that the answer was held up in the spiritual conflict above him. Daniel pressed in for a total of 21 days before angelic reinforcements came to ensure that answer made it to him.
Ask God to increase your faith in prayer, to show you any place where you approach prayer more as wishful or hopeful thinking, rather than with confidence. Ask Him to give you a faith like Daniel’s, that won’t let go until the answer comes. Ask Him to stir your faith to believe for even greater things (John 14:12). Tell Him that you know He hears all your prayers and will respond to them!