Most people like to know that somebody is listening and interested when they are speaking. Their attention provides the necessary confidence to share what is important, knowing that self-revealed information will be treated preciously. John's experience of talking to Jesus had convinced him that God always listens and responds to those who trust in Him.
Our heavenly Father listens because we are His children. He is especially listening for requests which demonstrate that we have been listening to Him; and therefore we know He will take the appropriate action. Praying according to His will presupposes that we know what His will is, because we have learned what pleases Him from the Scriptures.
The evidence that God is listening is seen in His action (in the same way that the evidence of our faith is in our obedience). As in human relationships, the evidence of love is to please each other by acts of service. As we grow in our relationship with the Lord, we know that He has heard our prayers and will answer us in His time and in His way.
Confident praying results from being secure as God's children: secure that we belong to Him, confident that He loves us, listens to us and will take action on our behalf. Prayer is not an exercise in religion but the privileged communication of being in God's family. But some believers think that God is uninterested, or that He has favourites or that we are not worthy to ask. All those attitudes betray that we do not know Him as we should; and that we have not understood His character from the Scriptures. That is the place to start, and hopefully Word@Work is helping you to see what a close relationship with the Lord looks like.
© Dr Paul Adams