God is aware of everything we say and do. Not even a sparrow can fall to the ground without His knowing it (Matthew 10:29). Therefore when anyone prays to God He is well aware of the words that are spoken. But does He really consider all the requests that are directed to Him?
First, let the Scriptures explain: "Behold, the Lord's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; nor His ear heavy, that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear" (Isaiah 59:1-2).
Jesus Christ gives additional instruction: "Whenever you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites, because they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by people. I assure you: They've got their reward!" (Matthew 6:5, HCSB).
What then must we do for God to hear our prayers?
Jesus continues: "But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions [saying the same words over and over] as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words" (verses 6-7).
The Scriptures show that public prayers are appropriate in proper situations. But most of our prayers should be sincere, private conversations between just us and God.
God has promised to hear us if we sincerely approach Him in this manner, with an attitude of seeking to do His will and a willingness to allow His Word to guide and correct us. "For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their prayers; but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil" (1 Peter 3:12).
God looks on our attitude, our heart (1 Samuel 16:7), rather than on our past sins. He can see the direction we want to go, and that is what is important to Him.
He expects us to have faith that He hears us and to trust His judgment. "But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind" (James 1:6).
God is especially aware of our motives when we pray. If we sincerely want to do what is pleasing to Him and pray accordingly, He is delighted to hear us. He responds according to His judgment, according to what He knows is best for us.
Regrettably, not everyone prays from pure motives: "You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures" (James 4:3). God will not honor the requests of those who are interested only in satisfying their own desires but have no interest in pleasing Him.
Again, God looks at our attitude. He knows why we ask, and He knows what is in our hearts.
Prayer is essential in our relationship with God. Therefore, we are told, "Rejoice always, pray without ceasing [habitually], in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for youc (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). When we pray in this attitude, God will hear us.