How do we succeed in our prayer? First if we are worthy to receive what we ask for.
Secondly, if we pray in accordance with the laws of God.
Thirdly, if we pray tenaciously.
Fourthly, if we don’t ask anything from the goods of this world.
Fifth, if we know our true interest.
Sixth, if we bring everything we can, in this way you see how many were listened: Cornelius due to his humility and kindness, the Canaanean woman due to her insistence, Solomon due to his demand because `you did not ask for fortunes nor for the life of your enemies…`says God, the publican due to his humility and many others due to other reasons.
And as the prayers are listened for these reasons, in the same way they are not for opposite reasons even if those who make them are righteous men.
Who was more righteous than Moses? But he was not listened when God says: `That should be enough for you`when he asked to enter the Promised Land. But since that was not meant for him, God did not allow it.
There is something else which may impede the acceptance of our prayer: our persistence in sin when we make the prayer. This is what God wanted to say to the Jews when He spoke to Jeremiah: `Do not pray to me for this people, don’t you see what they are doing?`In other words, `they did not give up on their unfaithfulness and you pray for them. I don’t want to listen you`.
It’s the same when we wish the evil for our enemies, then we are not listened and we upset God. Prayer is a remedy and if we don’t know how to take it, we won’t reap any fruit…
We shouldn’t show to God how to help us.
To the lawyers, to those who speak before the courts we show only which are our affairs leaving them to choose how to help us and leaving them the freedom to deal with these affairs as they think it’s better. And we should do this even more with God.
There are some people who say as prayer many words like these: God give me health, double my fortune, punish my enemy…But this behavior is foolish.
All these should be left aside and we should pray we should call God in the same way the publican did it: `God have mercy on me the sinner.`
God knows how to take care of us…It is written : `But seek first God’s kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.`
Saint John Chrysostom