There's so much good stuff here, but I'm just going to share a bit. Well maybe a little more than a bit. :)
In his book 'Handle with Prayer' Charles Stanley shares the Biblical views on prayer with great wisdom.
He says here:
"God promises He will not only hear our prayers, but He will answer them."
'Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.' Jeremiah 33:3
He goes on to say:
"This brings up two interesting questions: Does God always answer our prayers? Or does He respond to certain kinds of prayer? Think about the requests you have made of God recently. Are they being answered? Do you really believe they will be? You see, the question is not Does God answer prayer? The real question is How does God answer prayer? Sometimes He answers yes. This is usually the only answer we hear. If God says, "Yes," then we believe He answered. If He says, "No," we think He ignored our request."
"When God answers our prayers, He either answers with yes, no, or wait.
..not one shred of scriptural evidence shows that God will say yes to all of our prayers just because we're living right.
God is sovereign.
He has the right to say no according to His infinite wisdom, regardless of our goodness.
We try to manipulate God by our humanistic 'if then' philosophy. If we live good, clean lives, then God must (we believe) grant our hearts' desires. But such attempts to manipulate God defeats the whole purpose of Christianity, which is to glorify Him through our submissive obedience to His desires. Besides, if our goodness was the only factor God considered, where would His grace fit in? Many times His grace is what motives Him to say no."
Charles Stanley explains that God's answer will be 'No'...
-If we have unconfessed sin in our lives...
"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
"Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord." Acts 3:19
-If we are indifferent to His Word...
"One who turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer is an abomination." Proverbs 28:9
"Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You." Psalms 119:11
-If we are selfish; have a hoarding or an ungiving spirit...
"You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures." James 4: 3
"Whoever shuts his ears to the cry of the poor will also cry himself and not be heard." Proverbs 21:13
"If there is among you a poor man of your brethren, within any of the gates in your land which the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart nor shut your hand from your poor brother." Deu. 15:7
-If we have a lack of faith..."And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him." Hebrews 11:6
"Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding." Proverbs 3:5
He says here:
"God wants us to seek Him more than anything else, even more than we seek answers to prayer."
He wants us to seek a right relationship with Him and if answering 'no' accomplishes that, that is what our answer will be.
He goes on to say:
"If we are not careful, God becomes a means to an end. But God desires to be the end; it is His desire that we seek Him and Him alone."
One thing I've struggled with in the past, and I've written this before, is who I am in Christ. Charles Stanley says here:
"The Bible clearly teaches that in Christ we are righteous. To think of ourselves as anything less is to go into battle (prayer) without the most important part of our armor - the breastplate of righteousness.
Our wrong thinking in this area allows Satan to make us feel unworthy in God's presence."
We are being lied to when we feel unworthy. We are worthy in Christ and we should come to battle in confidence. We should trust God's Word.
He also says:
"When our doctrine is Biblically correct, we'll think of ourselves from God's perspective."
"For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." 2 Cr. 5:21
I thought I'd share the 6 points Charles Stanley lays out in this book for affective prayer:
1. Begin with a right relationship with Him through Jesus Christ
2. Make specific requests
3. Pray according to His will for us
4. Pray in Jesus' name and in keeping with His character
5. Ask in faith that is based on God's Word, not on feelings or on others opinions
6. Pray with the right motives. All we do, say and pray must be to the glory of God
He goes into more details on these points in the book, so I hope you get a chance to read it! :)
We often forget that the Lord is King above all, the King who throughout history has appointed all earthly kings and leaders (Romans 13:1) and we should come before His throne humbly and with praise for who He is.
Charles Stanley says here of what kind of spirit we should come to God in prayer:
"Lord, thank You that You are omnipotent. Thank You that You are omniscient and know everything I am about to tell You. Thank You that You are omnipresent, and You are not separated from me. As I come into Your presence, I humble myself before Your throne to thank You for Your holiness, Your forgiveness, and Your mercy. I acknowledge You as the great Creator, Sustainer, and Lover of mankind. Father, I am coming to You, recognizing Your greatness and Your holiness. I bow before You as Your child, knowing that You are more than sufficient to meet my needs."
Daniel was a great example of someone who humbled himself before God with this attitude of prayer and we all know God did great things through him.
"Then he said to me, "Do not fear, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand, and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard; and I have come because of your words." Daniel 10:12
I learnt a lot from this book and also was reminded of some things I'd forgotten. Praying is so much more then just talking to God. It's communing with Him, becoming conformed to His image and achieving His will for us.
One of my favorite quotes has so much more meaning after reading this book:
"Prayer does not equip us for greater works--prayer is the greater work." Oswald Chambers
Buy it HERE on Amazon