These two articles provide some keys to answered prayers.
God as our loving Father is always happy to answer the prayers of His children for both material and spiritual needs (Matthew 6:25-33). In fact, we are encouraged to ask and promised that our requests will be answered (Luke 11:9-10). The Father may be even more willing to provide for us than earthly parents like to give gifts to their children (Luke 11:13). This is especially true when we ask for the Holy Spirit (same verse), and asking for the Holy Spirit can be equated with asking for the Divine Love.
In the so-called “Lord’s Prayer” (Matthew 6:9-15), we are encouraged to ask for both material and spiritual needs. At the top of the list is a prayer for the coming of God’s Kingdom (v. 10) – which again can be equated with asking for the Divine Love because God’s Kingdom or the Celestial Kingdom is only open to those who possess the Divine Love in their souls and have thereby had their souls transformed into divine substance. In fact, we are promised that if we seek first the Kingdom of God and God’s righteousness (again, Divine Love), all our physical needs will be taken care of as well (Matthew 6:25-33).
God personally answers our spiritual prayers – specifically those for the Divine Love – by having the Holy Spirit infuse our souls with the Love. As a result of this, we also receive true faith as the Love and faith work in tandem.
Our prayers for material needs are answered by the work of God’s angels and spirits (Hebrews 1:14). God does not exercise any arbitrary power to answer prayers, nor does he answer them by fiat. Rather, when sincere prayers are offered to Him, He works through His angels, who are always watching and working, and when the opportunity comes, they use their influence in the best possible way to bring about the desired results.
Some prayer answers depend on the will of others. God or the angels will not violate human will, but may be able to influence people to act in the desired way. If that happens, those prayers that are proper and worthy may then be answered. God does not answer prayers for material things that are not in consonance with laws controlling the free will and actions of humans or that violate the laws of love. Only those prayers will be answered which tend to bring about the overruling of evil and injustice. If we are not habitually doing God’s will or if we ask with wrong motives, our prayers will not be answered (John 9:31; James 4:1-3; 5:16).
In answering prayers, the spirits and angels operate under certain limitations. It is a fact that God helps those who help themselves – so we have to do our part toward what we wish to happen. Yet the spirits can influence – but not control absolutely – others’ desires and intentions, and thus bring about favorable circumstances. However, answers to prayer will never violate the laws of God governing the material things of His creation, or go beyond the powers naturally given to spirits or angels.
So the keys to answered prayers (spiritual prayers answered by God or material prayers answered by angels and spirits) include asking according to God’s will, with the right motives, and in the right priority in order to do good and to further love and justice in the world.
Here is a complementary article describing the keys to answered prayers or, in other words, conditions under which the Father will answer a person’s prayer.
The Father hears all sincere prayers, and He Himself is bound by His own Law in this regard. He will not turn a deaf ear to any prayer sincerely offered, so you must realize that a positive outcome will have to follow such a sincere prayer. What the particular outcome will be we cannot say; but, of necessity, that outcome will be a beneficial one.
The care and troubles of earth life can be so greatly reduced if people would but realize that they are first and foremost spiritual beings who have great resources at their disposal as children of the Father. They need not depend upon themselves alone, but should ever realize that the Father is always ready to receive their prayers with open arms, and that He is even more prepared to answer these prayers benevolently when petitioned for with great and true yearning. The Father has a law which He Himself abides by — The Law of Prayer. But he will not exercise His Part in this law without activation of His children’s own prayers. But once He receives a sincere and unselfish prayer, He is only most willing to answer this prayer in the best interests of the supplicant.
God knows what His children need at all times, and He does not need words to convince Him of these needs. What He requires is that these needs are put in such a prayerful form whereby the supplicant’s heart and soul are involved. And this is the part that man has to play. The prayerful energies of the person’s soul must be exercised and brought into play, else their prayer lacks the link-up with the Father that will assure a benevolent response and answer.
God’s relationship to His children is not based on words but upon soulful communication. But once a person’s soulful energies come into play, the Father’s listening ear is automatically and unfailingly activated. It is as if one were to dial the correct number to the Father’s private phone. A merely verbal prayer, lacking soulful energy, can be likened to the supplicant dialing a wrong number. But, on the other hand, a true prayer that emanates from the soul, no matter in what words it is couched or conveyed, is a prayer that never fails to ring the bell, and one that the Father is only happily waiting to hear and answer.
As a man prays, it is his sincerity and his soulful energies exercised which determine whether or not the Father will respond.
God is Soul and man is soul. And if man wishes to truly communicate with the Father, they can only do so soul to Soul. And even though one may not be asking for the Father’s Love in prayer, nevertheless, he or she must be asking for whatever blessing they are seeking through the active energies of the soul. Their mind alone will not do.
For although the Father knows our thoughts, it is not our thoughts alone He will respond to. Only if these thoughts are given the energy and wings of the soul will they reach the Father’s listening ear and be received with His pleasure.
Benevolent responses to people’s prayers are absolutely assured if they will but bring their prayers to Him on the wings of their own souls.
“If the only prayer you say in your whole life is ‘Thank you’, that would suffice.” (Meister Eckhart)
Related Bible references:
Examples of especially beautiful prayers:
Ephesians 1:16-19; 3:16-21; Philippians 1:9-11; Colossians 1:3-6, 9-14
For a fuller version of the above article, see http://www.fcdt.org/messages/dl_lawofprayer.htm
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Helpful videos on How to Pray: