The Christian Teen’s Guide to Praying With Confidence
Ever struggle to trust that God is listening? Check out these ideas!
Prayer should be an important part of the life of every Christian, but that doesn’t mean it’s always easy!
Some Christians struggle to trust that God will hear them when they pray or are concerned that prayer isn’t actually working. So how can you pray with confidence that God is listening and will respond?
Let’s dig into that topic!
What does the Bible say about praying with confidence?
God is always listening to his children. How do we know this? That’s what the Bible promises! Here are some verses that tell us this:
‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’ - Jeremiah 33:3
In my distress I called to the Lord;
I cried to my God for help.
From his temple he heard my voice;
my cry came before him, into his ears. - Psalm 18:6
Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. - James 5:16
This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. - 1 John 5:14
God keeps his promises
So God promises to answer our prayers. How do we know he’ll keep that promise?
Throughout the Bible, God consistently keeps his promises.
- He promised that the Israelites would enter Canaan and make their home there – and it happened.
- He promised that Abraham’s wife Sarah would have a son even though she was too old – and it happened.
- He promised to send Jesus – and he did.
God has proved that he keeps his promises, so we can trust when we pray he will keep his promise to listen.
God answers prayer
Even if we know that God keeps his promise to listen, sometimes it can seem like our prayers aren’t that important to God – he’s so big and busy and can feel so far away! When he hears our prayers, is he doing something about them? Or are they just sitting in the inbox of his computer?
No matter what, God answers our prayers. The Psalmist expresses in Psalm 17:6, “I call on you, my God, for you will answer me; turn your ear to me and hear my prayer.” Notice what he says: not “you MIGHT answer me”, but “you WILL answer me”!
However, we need to be careful to recognise that sometimes God’s answer is not what we wanted. Sometimes we might ask for something and God will say no, or wait. Sometimes we’ll pray consistently for something for years and it won’t happen.
In those moments, God isn’t ignoring our prayers. He is simply answering them in a way that aligns with his greater will for the world. Perhaps it isn’t part of his overall plan to say yes to your prayer.
But don’t let this discourage you too much. We can trust that when God says no, or wait, he has a good reason. We may not understand that reason this side of the new creation, but God always keeps his promises and he promises to do what’s best for his children.
Let’s get practical
So the Bible assures us that God does listen to our prayers – so how can we practically pray with confidence, knowing that? How can we foster deeper faith that God is listening? Here are some ideas:
Try a prayer diary
A prayer diary is a great way to help foster confidence in God’s response to prayer! In this Fervr article, you can read that “a prayer journal will help you keep track of how God is answering your prayers. I don’t know about you, but often if I pray for something, a week later I’ve forgotten about that thing! Using a prayer journal ensures that you won’t forget, and you’ll be able to see when God answers your prayers. This can be really encouraging for those who struggle to pray because it feels like God isn’t listening.”
Pray small prayers regularly
It’s hard to feel confident that God is listening to our prayers when we’re struggling to actually pray! We can feel like if God doesn’t actually care, it’s useless to bring the everyday matters of our lives before him.
Maybe you’re finding it hard to talk to God about big issues, but talking to him about everyday little things – like a lack of motivation to finish an assignment, or a headache – can help reignite your prayer life.
As John McKinley explains in this article on Fervr: God is involved and attentive to our daily lives already; he invites us to cast all our cares upon him as we face small and large concerns in daily life (1 Peter 5:7). These small prayers can become a reflex and habit to “practice the presence of God with us” (Brother Lawrence).
The privilege we have to talk to God about everything that is going on with us is staggering. To consider it rationally just seems crazy—the Master of the Universe is more attentive and available to me than anyone else in my life. He gives his direct attention to me whenever I turn to him!”
Pray with others
Sometimes, if you’re struggling to talk to God with confidence, it can be helpful to spend some time praying with others. Get together a small group of Christian friends to pray, and listen to the way that they express their dependence on God. You might find their faith lifts you up at a time when you’re struggling to with faith yourself.
Ironically, one of the best ways to increase your faith and trust in God when you’re worried about whether he’s listening to you is to ask him for help! As we’ve already established, God is listening, and that’s a fact whether you believe it or not, so ask him for help and he will!
Questions to think about
- Do you ever struggle to pray with confidence?
- Does it reassure you to know that God is always listening and keeps his promises?
- What steps can you take to help you pray with more confidence?
- Now is probably a good time to pray!