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How to Pray in a Way God Can Answer

Maybe our prayers are not being answered not because of our lack of faith or lack of searching. Maybe they are not being answered because they can't be answered—at least not in the way we hoped.

It’s 4:30 a.m. and my two-month-old son is up again—for the fourth time tonight. “God, please help him to go back to sleep,” I silently beg in my head.

Nope. He’s still awake.

I pick him up, feed him, and put him back down. “God, please help him to sleep in!”

Nope. He doesn’t sleep in and wakes up an hour later.

Now repeat this scene for two more months.

I think when my third child was born, a good 90 percent of my prayers revolved solely around our collective sleep patterns. However, these prayers never seemed to be answered—at least not in the time frame I was hoping for.

This did not cause me to lose my faith in prayer or the power of prayer, but it did cause me to reflect on how I could improve my prayers to ask for things that God is more able to answer.

The Bible Dictionary says: “We pray in Christ’s name when our mind is the mind of Christ, and our wishes the wishes of Christ—when His words abide in us (John 15:7). We then ask for things it is possible for God to grant. Many prayers remain unanswered because they are not in Christ’s name at all; they in no way represent His mind.”

What are those things it is possible for God to grant?

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