Answer: We all know that praying is a way to draw near to God. But some brothers and sisters have prayed for some time yet can’t feel the presence of the Holy Spirit, and thus feel anxious. Actually when this happens, the most effective way is to come before God and seek God’s will.
The Lord Jesus taught us, “But you, when you pray, enter into your closet, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father which is in secret; and your Father which sees in secret shall reward you openly. But when you pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking” (Matthew 6:6-7). “…when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeks such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:23-24). The Lord’s words told us that the Lord takes joy in our worshipping Him in spirit and in truth. Although we hold to morning prayers, evening prayers and saying grace, many times we don’t speak our heart to God, but just say some nice words to gain God’s favor, like “Lord, thanks for shedding Your precious blood and offering Your life, I’m willing to bear the cross and forsake everything to follow You.” But in reality you don’t have such a great resolution. Sometimes we use repetitions to treat God lightly. For example, in the morning we pray, “God, I commit my day to you. Please keep my heart from straying from you.” At night we pray, “God, thanks for protecting me from falling into temptation, so that I spent the day smoothly.” If we don’t pray in spirit and in truth, no matter how many times we pray, God will not listen, and our heart won’t feel the presence of God.
After finding the reason that our prayer can’t achieve results, at the same time we have found the way to achieve results in our prayer. That is to pray to God with our sincere heart. True prayer is not about how many times we pray or how long the prayer is. The most important thing is to speak the words within our heart to God and speak the truth. Tell God the actual situation and difficulties in our life, and seek God’s will. If we realize that we didn’t do certain things according to the Lord’s will, we should open our heart and acknowledge the wrongdoing, not say nice words to deceive God. Like in the publican’s prayer, he said honestly, “God be merciful to me a sinner” (Luke 18:13). He just prayed one sentence, but these were honest words. So the Lord listened to it. But for those Pharisees who always stood on the street corners to engage in long prayers, their prayers were hypocritical and were deceiving God. The Lord Jesus especially loathed them. It can be clearly seen that only by sharing the words in your heart with God in the prayer, can our prayer be listened to by God, and can we enjoy the peace and joy bestowed by the Holy Spirit.
Besides, when we pray we must be reasonable. God is the Creator, and we are the creations. So when we pray to God, we must have a heart of reverence for God, can’t make blind demands and requests of God, or make deals with God, like blindly demanding God to give peace, to heal the disease, or to give us a good job, or praying to God to remove the trials and tribulations and the environment that doesn’t conform to our own expectations, etc. Such prayers lack the obedience and fear that a creature should have towards the Creator. This is an expression of irrationality. We all know that when Job lost his livestock that filled the mountains and his children, in his prayer there was no trade or demands. He knew his identity and position as a creature. No matter whether God gave or took away, he had no demands, and didn’t complain. He only prayed to praise the name of Jehovah. Because Job had obedience and fear to God, he was able to stand testimony in the midst of trial, and were praised by God. So no matter what environment we are in, and how many unpleasant things we experience, just pray to God as a creature of God, seek God’s will, and obey God’s arrangement. Surely God will lead us.
Through the fellowship above, we can see that as long as we pray to God in spirit and in truth, and stay in the place of a creature to pray with rationality and obedience, God will listen to our prayers, and we can get the presence and work of the Holy Spirit.