Praying to Be Heard
DO YOU pray to be heard by men or to be heard by God? If you pray to impress men, you are like the ones Jesus condemned when he said: “You must not be as the hypocrites; because they like to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the broad ways to be visible to men. Truly I say to you, They are having their reward in full.” (Matt. 6:5) Their reward was the admiration of men, not the hearing ear of God. It may be you are not one that prays for the sake of appearance, but rather with the sincere desire to be heard. If you are, be certain that you are praying in the right manner by following the instructions of the Bible.
Your sincerity in prayer can be shown by the effort you make to learn what God has to say in his written Word. If you expect him to listen to you, you must be willing to listen to him. Your pursuit for material things and pleasures is not more important than the instruction he has for you in his Word. If you think you are too busy to consider what he has to say, how can you expect your prayers to be heard? Respect his Word and seek the wisdom in it by doing as he says: “Acquire wisdom, acquire understanding. Do not forget and do not turn aside from the sayings of my mouth.” (Prov. 4:5) By studying the sayings of his mouth you will learn how he wants to be approached in prayer.
Since the Almighty God is not hard of hearing or inattentive, it is not necessary to repeat the same prayer over and over again. That is senseless repetition and is contrary to Scriptural instructions. “When praying, do not say the same things over and over again, just as the people of the nations do, for they imagine they will get a hearing for their use of many words.” (Matt. 6:7) He is easily reached when approached in the way that the Scriptures show to be acceptable to him. “Jehovah is near to all those calling upon him, to all those who call upon him in trueness.”—Ps. 145:18.
Unless you call upon him in faith you cannot expect him to hear you, “for he that approaches God must believe that he is and that he becomes the rewarder of those earnestly seeking him.” (Heb. 11:6) If you earnestly seek him, you will study his written Word diligently, with an aim to gain the knowledge that is a necessary foundation for faith. You will learn by your study that prayers must not be said for selfish purposes. They must put God’s will foremost. So, cherish God’s Word. Follow its instructions. “For Jehovah’s eyes are upon the righteous and his ears are toward their supplication.”—1 Pet. 3:12.