The reason we as believers are confident that God hears prayer is because of the Bible. God gives us reasons we should expect him to answer prayer.
1. He’s the one who takes the initiative after all.
It is not us coming to Him saying please can we pray. It is Him coming to us and commanding us to present our requests. He’s pictured in the Bible as happy when believers present their requests to Him. It’s a matter of obedience. “Seek the Lord and His strength. Seek His face continually.” 1 Chronicles 16:11 “A man ought always to pray and not to give up.” Luke 18:1 “Watch therefore, and pray always.” Luke 21:36
2. And you know, further, he doesn’t just give us the command. He gives us encouragements to us to obey the command. We see that in the attitude He commands us to have as we pray. “Draw near with confidence.” We see that in the promises He gives to us as we pray. “The prayer of the righteous man is effective and accomplishes much.” How about what Jesus says? “Ask and it shall be given to you.” We find encouragement to pray not just in the promises, but in the stories that are told in Scripture with the specific purpose of encouraging us not to give up on praying. Sometimes in the Scriptures we find stories where it is almost like God is overcome by people’s prayers.
3. For those of us who struggle with doubt, He gives us all kinds of examples of ways He has answered prayers. We find that in the Old Testament. Think Moses. We find it in the New. Read the book of Acts. God commands us to present our requests, He encourages us to present our requests, He tells us stories about how He answers prayers.
4. We see in the Bible God’s commitment to hearing prayer in how quickly He often responds to prayer and how much He gives in response to prayer. I think of how James says we should ask God because He is the giving God, who gives liberally and without reproach. The Bible definitely presents a picture of God’s attitude towards our requests that is very different than the attitude of important people in our world. He wants us to make requests, He approves of us making requests, and He accepts our requests as a way of us honoring Him.
5. If we needed any more proof of God’s commitment to hearing and answering our prayers, we find assurance in the Scripture that we are not on our own when it comes to prayer. God the Son is praying for us. Romans 8:34, “Christ Jesus is the one who died, more than that who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.” And God the Holy Spirit is helping us. Romans 8:26, “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.”
6. If we take our theology and apply it to prayer, everything in our theology leads us to expect God to answer our prayers. Do we really think that the One who crushed His Son is going to lose interest in us? In our good? Jesus’ work on the cross, what forgiveness means, what justification means, what union with Christ means, is that there’s nothing separating us as believers from the love of God and there’s nothing that can.
If it were just you and me coming to God, there would be no hope for God hearing and answering our prayers, we would have no reason to expect it, but it is not just us. The reason we expect God to answer our prayers is not based on the way we would like things to be, but instead it is based on what God Himself has told us and what God Himself has done for us.