What we believe about prayer will determine when, how, and what we choose to pray. If we don’t believe God is listening or will answer, we probably won’t pray at all.
Some Christians think they must be deserving before God will give them what they want, following the cultural paradigm of Jesus’ day. Standing before the Sanhedrin, the man who had been born blind said what everyone assumed to be true: “We know that God does not listen to sinners” (John 9:31). Was the man right?
Jesus once compared two people praying in the Temple—a Pharisee, the most highly regarded and devout of the Jews, and a tax collector, one who was known to be a liar and a cheat (Luke 18:10–14). The Pharisee proclaimed his righteousness and was ignored, but God heard the tax collector who begged forgiveness.
What is the distinction between the two paradigms? One believed he was most deserving, but he didn’t get what he wanted. The other saw himself as undeserving and was ready to give up all he wanted for the sake of what God wanted.
That’s why I’m thinking I need to be more concerned about surrender than success.
We know for certain that God always hears our prayers when we ask for what pleases him. — 1 John 5:14