Think about your dearest friend, someone you truly love. Do you remember how it felt when you first met—how you wanted to spend time just getting to know him or her? Perhaps you talked for hours or simply enjoyed being together. In time, you learned to care deeply about the other person. There was a freedom in your relationship, not a sense of duty.
Now, think how different that relationship would be if you talked to your loved one only when you needed something. Sadly, that’s sometimes the way we treat God. Instead of coming to Him for companionship, we pray only when we require help. How do you think that makes Him feel?
The Lord created us to have a close, loving relationship with Him. That’s why He’s given us the privilege of talking with Him at any time, about anything. In fact, He tells us to “draw near with confidence to the throne of grace” (Heb. 4:16). If we neglect this privilege, we’ll not only miss seeing answers to our prayers but will also forfeit the awesome opportunity of knowing God intimately.
The Lord reveals Himself to us in a number of ways, including how He responds to our prayers. In Matthew 7:9-11, we learn that our heavenly Father always gives what is good to those who ask Him. However, we don't define what is good; He does. God is a wise Father who looks beyond our immediate desires and sees what we need in order to become the people He has created us to be.
By observing how God answers our requests, we learn about His timing. One of the reasons we so often give up on prayer is because it seems pointless: In our minds, nothing has changed. However, what we can’t see is the Lord’s activity behind the scenes. Sometimes He’s readying the circumstances before He sends an answer, and often He’s preparing us to receive what He wants to provide.
The key to confident prayer is trust in the Father, and that comes only as we enter into His presence to be with Him—not just to get something. He knows each of us intimately and is eager for us to know His heart. And as we spend time with God, we’ll also discover that our heart is changing and growing to be more like His.