So, you are a prayerful person, and you want your prayers to be heard by the One to whom you are praying. But how do you ensure you aren’t wasting your time and your prayers will be eventually received and processed by God?
To answer this question, we need look no further than to the story about the Roman officer Cornelius in Acts 10:17-33.
Cornelius is a Gentile. That means many of the people of God think him an unclean sinner not worthy to be a member of their community. But Cornelius obviously didn’t get that message. The first thing we learn about him is that, despite his status as a perceived outsider, he is more devout and God-fearing than many of the people who already claim to be with God. Actions speak much louder than words.
So, if you want your prayers to be heard by God, then be like Cornelius, who doesn’t let the opinions and judgment of others get in the way of his faith or the prayers it produces. Realize that actions always speak louder than words.
Like you, Cornelius prays a lot – several times every day, in fact! It’s almost as if he cares about little else. All he knows is that he loves God with all his heart, and he desperately wants to draw nearer to the One he cherishes and be blessed for it. That’s why he intimately talks to God about his needs all the time.
But Cornelius doesn’t just talk to God about what he wants. He approaches his conversation with his Beloved in a spirit of fear and awe. Cornelius approaches God humbly and meekly because he isn’t in the company of his best friend. Instead, he is the presence of the Almighty Creator, Sustainer, and Governor of the cosmos – the very One who has complete power over his life and death.
If you want your prayers to be heard by God, then be like Cornelius, who has holy dialogue with God in a humble, contrite, and meek manner. He does not make demands and he does not presume to be entitled to anything. He realizes God owes him nothing and all good things in his life are little more than a gift from a generous God for which to be thankful.
Once Cornelius utters his words of prayer, he immediately gathers with his family and close friends and patiently waits. He isn’t idle or passive. Rather, he calls for the Lord’s apostle. When the apostle arrives, Cornelius falls at his feet. He gets quiet and listens intently to the Word of God proclaimed by the Lord’s spokesman. This means Cornelius goes to church. He assembles with other devout and prayerful people, and together with the Lord’s representative, they eagerly expect God’s answer.
If you want your prayers to be heard by God, then be like Cornelius. Don’t just pray once or twice in private and sit around idly waiting for something to happen. Go to church and ask others to pray with you. Why? Because many prayers are much louder than one! And, as you pray with other faithful people, listen intently to the Lord’s apostles as their lessons are read from the New Testament and then explained in the Word which is preached from them. Do this because in the scriptures you will often find the answer or guidance for which you are asking, seeking, and knocking.
Cornelius is heard by God mostly because his faith inspires him to give many helpful gifts to the poor. Throughout the entire Bible we are constantly told that God blesses and provides for those who bless and provide for others.
So, naturally, if you want your prayers to be heard by God, then be like Cornelius. Become a generous giver of your time, talent, and money to those in need.