Our heavenly Father, Jehovah God, is willing and pleased to hear our sincere prayers. But there are things that would stop him from answering our prayers. What are these things, and what should we keep in mind when we pray? Here are some Bible guidelines.
“When praying, do not say the same things over and over again.”—Matthew 6:7.
Jehovah does not want us to repeat memorized prayers or read them out of a prayer book. Rather, he wants us to speak from the heart. Imagine how frustrating it would be to have a friend recite the same words to you day in and day out. Good friends are open and sincere. When we pray in our own words, we are saying something personal to our heavenly Father.
“When you do ask, you do not receive because you are asking for a wrong purpose.”—James 4:3.
We would certainly not expect God to answer our prayers if we were to ask for things we know he does not want us to do or to have. For example, would Jehovah grant a gambler’s request for good luck when He has clearly warned against greediness and the superstitious belief in luck? (Isaiah 65:11; Luke 12:15) How illogical to expect Jehovah to answer such prayers! For God to answer when we pray to him, we must make sure that our requests are in harmony with what he tells us in the Bible.
“The one refusing to listen to the law—even his prayer is detestable.”—Proverbs 28:9.
In Bible times, God did not answer those who rejected his righteous laws. (Isaiah 1:15, 16) His feelings have not changed. (Malachi 3:6) If we want God to answer our prayers, we must do what we can to live in harmony with his laws. What, though, if we did things in the past that are wrong? Does that mean Jehovah will never listen to us? Of course not! God will lovingly forgive us if we turn our life around and do our best to please him.—Acts 3:19.