One way our faithfulness to God becomes evident is in our prayer life. We can learn a lot by praying specifically for God’s aid in a certain situation or during a trial, and we can have unshakable faith He is always there to help and deliver in the right way and at the right time.
The George Barna research company on religious matters suggests that large numbers of people pray to God on a regular basis, even those with no orthodox religious affiliation. "The emphasis upon prayer during the past five years has influenced many people," commented Barna. "However, many people pray without any sense of assurance that there is a living and powerful God who hears their prayers, or that they are praying to a God who has offered forgiveness for their sins. For many Americans, prayer is like snacking – we don't really think about it, but we do it out of habit and without passion."
May I add, that may be the reason that they really don't want to get answers when they pray. Let me explain it this way. A person may pray, but the prayer can be so general, so non-specific, they are merely going through the motions, so answers aren't really an issue. Prayers are uttered without any expectations of receiving an answer.
Then there is the other side of the coin where people who are religious, don't pray except when they congregate, or before meals, if then. How would they define answers?
It seems to me that it is useless to pray unless you have requests firmly in mind. Of course, prayer involves acknowledgement that God is our God, our Creator and our Saviour. It would involve praise, thanksgiving and confession or repentance. It would also contain requests for forgiveness and daily bread.
A person could easily answer in the affirmative that their prayers are answered.
You and I know life isn't like that. There were many cases where people prayed that Jesus Christ would heal them or a child. (Their request for healing was the same as our prayers).
Elijah earnestly prayed that it would not rain for three and one half years and it didn't, and he prayed again and the heavens gave rain. (see James 5:17-18) That was an answered prayer!
There could be many reasons why prayers aren't answered. One of the big reasons as mentioned here is that the request is never mentioned.
James also said, and it is probably tied in with his example of Elijah and praying for the sick, "You do not have because you do not ask." (James 4:2) Could that be true? So if a person says, he or she prays, but there are no answers, one of the reasons is that they may not be asking.
There could be a number of reasons why prayers may be general and not specific.
One of the reasons is that we doubt that we will get answers, so to make our prayers successful, we don't ask. At least we can say that we pray in response to the expectation that we should pray.
Prayer for specific answers is a test of our relationship with God. How do you see God when you are in need? Can you state them clearly with God? Can you put forth your reasons to God why you are making the request, similar to the way Abraham and Moses did in making their requests. Not demanding, or accusing God, but asking in a way that shows you have thought about it and you need to convince God why you need these answers.
If God has a different answer for you than the one you request, then He has a reference point of discussion with you. If we are vague in our prayers, God could be vague in His answers too, so they may not be recognized.
We could be afraid to be specific because we are fearful of the answer we may get.
Direct and specific prayers to God require specific answers. God gives answers.
What is His will in the matter for which you are praying?
Are you ready for His answers?
We can't be afraid of what He might say. God is always right, as Job found out. And God is faithful. Our faithfulness to God is shown in how we pray. You can learn a lot by praying specifically for His aid in any kind of trial or situation, or for what you really need Him to do for you. That is the road of faith, and Jesus encouraged us to pray in that way.