Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.
(1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
It is God's will that we pray. He hears the prayers of His children, those who belong to Him through faith in the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of our unique position as children of God, we have the incredible privilege of coming into His presence anytime and anywhere with our prayers, petitions, and thanksgivings.
When we or someone we love is hurting, prayer comes easily. Walk into a busy hospital emergency room waiting area and you will see people praying. Many of these folks have not prayed much before. But now they are out of human options, desperate and crying out for help from a God that many of them don't even personally know. The Bible says that God does not hear the prayers of unbelievers, but has promised to hear the prayers of His children; "We know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is God-fearing and does His will, He hears him. (John 9:31)
Our heavenly Father wants us to come to Him when we are hurting. He also wants us to come to Him when we are rejoicing, with our praises and thanks. In other words, He wants us to pray to Him "without ceasing; in everything giving thanks".
God always answers the prayers of His children. Sometimes He immediately gives us exactly what we ask. Like a good Father who loves His children, sometimes He makes us wait for His perfect answer knowing that waiting produces stronger faith, endurance and patience. Sometimes He just says "no" because, as a loving Father, He always knows what is and is not best for us.
When you don't know how to pray and need God's wisdom and direction, ask Him; "But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him." (James 1:5)He gives "generously", meaning He gives even more than what was expected, and "without reproach", not making His children feel bad for coming to Him with their lack of wisdom. He wants us to both seek His wisdom and then do His will, according to His perfect wisdom.
In 1876, Mary A. Kidder wrote the following words in her Hymn "Did You Think to Pray":