I often tell people to pray about the concerns they have in their lives. I also pray for them. Sometimes I know I am walking into the throne room of God and He is listening to my words. Sometimes I know that I am far away and do not know His presence. I have realized that my own condition will keep my prayers from being heard. I searched the Scriptures and found seven things in my life which could keep my prayers from being answered. I have put these in the form of questions which I have written at the front of my Bible so I can repent and come into His presence again.
1. Am I prideful? (Luke 18:11-14, James 4:6) God opposes the proud. I need grace if I am coming to Him in prayer. I cannot be full of myself and be full of Him. I must humble myself to come into God's presence.
2. Do I have unrepented sin. (Psalm 66:18) Sin will separate me from God. Repentance will always unite me with God. The first step for my prayers to be heard is to repent so that I can come to Him. God will not hear my prayers if I remain in sin.
3. Is my request selfish? (James 4:3) I realize I can turn any prayer into a pseudo praise for God but He knows the difference between what I want just for my own pleasures and what will actually give Him glory.
4. Do I believe God's word? (James 1:5-7) We should expect to receive nothing if we doubt what God has already said He would provide. You are doubting His word when you don't believe what He has already told you.
5. Am I being disobedient? (Proverbs 28:9) My prayer will be despised if I ignore keeping God's word. I cannot ignore what God has said and still have my prayers answered.
6. Have I forgotten the poor? (Proverbs 21:13) I realize that I cannot give to everyone who passes by but I can help some. If I forget the poor I will find myself without a prayer.
7. Is my worship meaningless? (Isaiah 1:15) I cannot live one way in the world and another way at church and expect my prayers to be answered. God says so Himself.
I encourage you to take a look at these scriptures. I encourage you to write these questions and the scripture references in the front of you Bible. Ask yourself these questions when you pray. This has helped me in my prayers. I hope it also helps you.