Prayer is meant to bring us into harmony with God. Submitting our will to His will accomplishes that. In concert with God, we will understand His thinking, feel His feelings, and act according to His motives. The goal is to become His righteousness.
Seek oneness with God, as all do in heaven, in order to carry out His will on earth. That needs to be paramount in prayer. In fact, pursuing God's will is what gave Jesus the confidence to know that whatever He asked, our Father would grant.
More times than not, though, we don't receive what we ask for because we ask from selfish motives. These are usually desires coveting the things of this world. For example, relationships and material goods are used for our glorification, rather than for God's (James 4: 3).
So how can we assure ourselves that our motives will always be right and that whatever we ask will be granted?
The answer is to become spiritually wise. We can always have confidence in what we ask by being obedient to God, and even going beyond obedience by searching for and doing things that bring a smile to His face. (1 John 3: 22).
The process of gaining wisdom begins with taking seriously our relationship with the Father in a reverential, fearful, and single-minded way.
Next, ask God for wisdom. He promises to give it generously (James 1: 5). How? By leading us to His Word; be it from a direct reading, or from a godly person who counsels from His Word.
Knowledge of the Holy One gives us understanding. It is scripture that gives us the knowledge and understanding of the Lord's thoughts and ways.
But know that wisdom is more than receiving knowledge and understanding. For wisdom to be complete, the knowledge and understanding must be acted upon. Jesus says that he who hears and does His words is a wise man, and that he who hears and doesn't do His words is a fool (Matt. 7: 24-27).
That goes back to being obedient. Living according to God's Word is a point that can't be overemphasized because praying to God is more than just words.
Prayers only become effective when we live better. In other words, our lives are our prayers.
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