First John 5:14-15 says, "Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him."
As Christians, when we pray, there are several things we should know. Too often Christians pray for things that, in reality, God does not want for them. And sometimes God has things for us that we don't receive because we don't ask. According to the Bible in the book of James, sometimes we ask God for something that is according to His will, but we still don't receive it because we ask with the wrong motives. (James 4:3.) When we pray, we must pray the will of God and pray with the right motives.
Several years ago, I heard of a girl who wanted to marry a certain man. He attended her church and every Sunday she would see him and think to herself, That's the man I want to marry. She was in love and she had spotted her man.
One Sunday, the minister of her church preached a sermon on getting your prayers answered. It was a good sermon. He used Mark 11:24 as his text where it says, "Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them." Later in the same message, the minister said we must confess God's Word and act on it in order for it to be profitable. He said that if we speak and act on what we believe, we will receive.
He went ahead and preached the message in balance, but the only thing the young lady heard was "whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them and you will have them." She remembered he said to speak and act, so she devised a plan. When the service was over she went to the back of the church, pointed her finger in the young man's face and said, "I stand on the Word of God and believe that whatever I want, I will have. And what I want is you!" The startled young man didn't know what to say, but as soon as he figured out what was going on he said, "I'm sorry, lady, I'm married."
The young girl was devastated. Had the minister lied to her? Was God's Word not true? What had happened? The young girl actually quit going to church because she felt the Word of God wasn't true and didn't work.
This may seem like an extreme case, but unfortunately many Christians are in the same situation. They ask God for something and when it doesn't come to pass, they blame God.
The fact is we can't get upset with God. He has made promises to those who believe in His Son, Jesus. He gave those promises in His Word, the Holy Bible. But we must know exactly what He promised and all the conditions.
A parent may promise an ice-cream cone to his child if they clean their room. The ice cream cone was promised, but only if the room is cleaned. The child that has not cleaned his or her room cannot blame the parent for not having an ice cream cone. The conditions must first be met.
When we pray, we must ask for things that are God's will. We can know His will by reading His Word. First John 5:14 says "Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us." And if it is something the Word does not specifically address, according to Romans 8:26, we can pray in the Spirit and the Spirit will reveal to us what we need to know.