What We Learn From Jesus
About Prayers That God Hears
Jesus would often seek a private place to pray, and he recommended that his followers do the same. The Bible says: “On the occasion of his being in a certain place praying, when he stopped, a certain one of his disciples said to him: ‘Lord, teach us how to pray’ . . . He said to them: ‘Whenever you pray, say, “Father, let your name be sanctified.”’” (Luke 5:16; 11:1, 2) Thus Jesus showed that prayers should be directed to his Father, Jehovah. He alone is our Creator and the “Hearer of prayer.”
Do all prayers please God?
The repetition of memorized prayers does not please God. Jesus said: “When praying, do not say the same things over and over again.” (Matthew 6:7) We must speak with our heavenly Father from the heart. Once, Jesus emphasized to his followers that the prayers of a sinful person who sincerely wanted to change were more acceptable to God than the prayers of a proud man who carefully observed religious customs. (Luke 18:10-14) So for our prayers to be heard, we should humbly be seeking to do what God tells us. Even Jesus said: “Just as the Father taught me I speak these things . . . I always do the things pleasing to him.” (John 8:28, 29) Jesus said in prayer: “Let, not my will, but yours take place.”
What should we pray for?
Since God’s name has been maligned, Jesus said: “You must pray, then, this way: ‘Our Father in the heavens, let your name be sanctified. Let your kingdom come. Let your will take place, as in heaven, also upon earth.’” (Matthew 6:9, 10) We should pray for God’s Kingdom to come because it is the government that God will use to accomplish his will in heaven and on earth. Jesus said that we can pray for “our bread for the day.” We can also ask Jehovah about employment, shelter, clothing, health matters, and other concerns. In addition, Jesus said that we should pray for forgiveness.
Should we pray for others?
Jesus prayed for others. The Bible tells us: “Young children were brought to him, for him to put his hands upon them and offer prayer.” (Matthew 19:13) Jesus said to the apostle Peter: “I have made supplication for you that your faith may not give out.” (Luke 22:32) Jesus encouraged his followers to pray for others, even for those persecuting them and those insulting them.
Why should we persevere in prayer?
Jesus dedicated time to prayer and encouraged his followers “always to pray and not to give up.” (Luke 18:1) Jehovah invites us to express our confidence in him by speaking to him repeatedly about things that concern us. “Keep on asking, and it will be given you,” said Jesus. But this does not mean that Jehovah is reluctant to respond to those who love and respect him as a Father. Rather, Jesus said: “If you, although being wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more so will the Father in heaven give holy spirit to those asking him!”
For more information, see chapter 17 of the book What Does the Bible Really Teach?*
Published by Jehovah’s Witnesses.