It is hard to imagine a less controversial statement, at least among Christians and other people who believe in God or a god. Prayer is one of the most basic things humans, who have a sense of the infinite, will do.
God tells us in his Word that only certain people are heard, however. First, God only listens to those who direct their prayers to him in faith. Without faith it is impossible to please God (Heb 11:6). The Lord heard Elijah’s prayer on Mount Carmel (1 Kings 18). He did not heed the prayers of the 450 prophets of Baal, who cried to their false god, even though they prayed more loudly and, it seemed, more fervently. Jesus tells us we are to pray “in his name” (Jn 16:23), that is, trusting in him.
Sin gets in the way of our prayers being heard, like a wall separating us from God. Only if our sins are forgiven through faith can we be sure of God’s answers to our prayers.
Children of God can pray about everything that is on our minds and hearts. First Timothy 2:1: I urge then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgiving be made for everyone. Philippians 4:6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything…present your requests to God.
God invites us to pray. He even gives us prayers that he loves to hear us use. One hundred and fifty Psalms are prayers God wrote for us to use. Jesus gave us the Lord’s Prayer, saying, “When you pray, say, Our Father, who art in heaven…” He warns us not to babble repetitively or to use nonsense sounds like the pagans, and he says we ought not pray for show, to impress people. But he welcomes our prayers, whether we pray from the heart in our own words, or a psalm or a prayer inspired by God himself or composed by others. When Pastors pray publicly and lead the congregation, it is my opinion that it is generally better to read a prayer, or at least to have an idea of what you are going to say in advance. That way, you don’t say “Father-God, we just…” too many times.
But I encourage all of us to get comfortable praying in our own words, from the heart. Make use of that skill often! Constantly, even!
It is one of the most wonderful privileges you have as a child of God, whose sins are forgiven through faith in Jesus Christ.