3 Things God Looks For When We Pray

All through the centuries God has shown Himself mighty and done so great things in order to answer the prayers of His children.

God has healed the sick, raised the dead to life, brought drought, then rain, sent fire down from heaven, gave baby boys to barren women, saved nations and destroyed nations, and so much more in answer to the prayers of His people.

Besides the accounts in scripture, biographies of the saints are full of God’s miraculous interventions in answer to prayer.

young woman praying top of mountain

This post may contain affiliate links. You can read my full affiliate disclosure here.


But, you know what?  God wants to avail much in answer to our prayers, too!  God so wants to manifest Himself and His power and love for us that He has James make sure that we understand what He looks for when we pray…that we know what prayers have power with God.

The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.  James 5:16b


The book of James tells us 3 things God looks for when we pray.


First, God looks for faith. 

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. 

For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.  James 1:5-7

When we pray, God first looks for faith.  Not enough faith, but faith.  Period.  We sometimes get tripped up thinking that we have to have a certain amount of faith for God to hear us and answer.

So, like the little boy who is asked to “Show us your muscles,” we stand and strain to muster up enough faith, or prayer “muscle”— as if to produce our own miracle.

However, it isn’t the quantity of faith that matters.  Because even faith the size of a mustard seed is acceptable to God.  It is the quality and focus of our faith that makes the difference…and gets results when we pray!

Unwavering faith in the God Who has promised, is all we need.

Oh, how God delights to avail much for His children, yet many times He must hold back.  Why?  Because of unbelief.

And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief.  Matthew 13:58

God has not changed.  He is still the miracle-working God He has always been.  Do you believe that?  Then take God at His Word and pray fervently, believing in the God of miracles.

And don’t give up until God gives His answer—a Yes, or a definite No.

Then keep on praying to the One who loves you, died for you, and has a perfect plan, His plan, for your life. 


Second, God looks for righteousness.

The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.  James 5:16

God tells us here that it is the righteous man’s prayers that avail much.  Does this mean that only the Old Testament prophets or “super spiritual” people, like “missionaries” or “those in full-time ministry” can have their prayers avail much?

Evidently not, because in the next verse, God makes a point to remind us that the prophet Elias was a “regular” man just like we are.  We also know Elias was a sinner, because “all have sinned”.  (Romans 3:23)  Yet, his prayers availed much!

What hope for all of us sinners!

When we pray, God looks at our hearts and our lives.

For more help deepening your prayer life, you’ll want to be sure to check out all these powerful Prayer Resources!

He looks for righteousness—first, Christ’s righteousness.  For we cannot hope to be righteous, and cleansed from iniquity, apart from Christ’s righteousness.  (2 Corinthians 5:21) Do you have Christ’s righteousness? Is He your Saviour? Do you belong to Him?

God then looks for personal righteousness.  He isn’t expecting sinless perfection.  That isn’t the righteousness we can achieve in this life.

What God does look for is a heart desiring to do right in obedience to His commands and who quickly repents when confronted with their sin by the conviction of the Holy Spirit.

The righteousness God looks for is found in the heart of those who want only what God wants.  And who will still love Him, if His answer is “Wait.”  Or even “No.”



Third, God looks for a right request.

Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.  James 4:3

When we pray, God looks at our request and our motives for making it to determine whether it is a request He can honor.  If our request is not in line with His Word or is a self-centered request, it will not be granted.

Does that mean we aren’t to pray for ourselves?  Of course not.  It means we aren’t to pray to be rich, for example, so that we can live only for selfish enjoyment.


So what can we pray for?

  • Anything

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.  Philippians 4:6

God tells us here that we are to pray about anything we need or want from God.  He is waiting to hear us.

We may ask God for literally anything that is not wrong for us as Christians to want!

And even when we don’t know for sure what the right thing is to ask, the Spirit helps us to pray always in the will of God.  (Romans 8:26)

All we have to do is just pray according to His Word as best we know how, and the Spirit does the rest!  Praise God!


  • Big things

God is still the miracle-working God.  God forgive our unbelief.  God performs a miracle in our lives each time He answers a prayer for us that would not have happened unless we had prayed and He had intervened in our life.

I have asked for some mighty big things from God over the years, and believe me, these things happened only through God’s intervention.  One being the salvation of my husband after 14 years of marriage and prayers!  Praise the Lord!

God wants to do mighty things in answer to your prayers, too.

So, ask Him!

Drawing nigh to Him,


This post is part of our James Bible Study.


What miracles has God done in your life?  I’m sure there isn’t enough space here to share them all, but would you share with us one or two that stand out in your mind right now?


How to Pray in the Storms of Life

How To Not Forget God’s Faithfulness

Hearing God’s Voice Through Memorized Scripture

Will God Speak To Me, Too?

Sharing is caring!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. Teresa, Great job on this post. You really spoke to my heart. You have broached a much tougher subject – what to pray. You did an excellent job. I love how you talk about our motives being in line with God’s plan or purpose for our life! Beautiful words! Great job in putting all this together. Keep up the good work. All the Best, Michele 🙂

  2. I lost one son last year 05 /19/20 and I lost 💔 my other son 09/23/21 My first son lost 💔 died from a heart attack and the son died from a birth defects We didn’t know about it he didn’t know either I need prayers for my husband ,daughter rest of the family 👪 and me as well 💔

    1. Hi, Adelcia!
      My heart breaks for you and your family! I am praying for God to wrap you in His arms and help you be able to feel His comfort and love in a special way. I’m also praising God that you obviously know Who to turn to in your time of heartbreak.

      Much love and prayers! 💗

  3. Good Morning and PRAISE the Lord Teresa
    Thank you for the “James” devotional.
    Oh my, God has done and is continually performing miracles in our lives every day. When we wake up each morning, he grant’s us new mercies. Often times we take things for granted and I am guilty of this. But I thank God for what He has done, what He is doing, and what He will do.
    Right now my prayers to God are for a financial miracle….my daughter’s student loans are coming due (ughhh). They are private loans, so the lender’s are not as flexible.
    To me, the total is HUGE, but by faith to God, it’s like a penny in a bucket.
    All though I want answers and the miracle to begin immediately, God works in such a way that he waits until we are totally dependent on Him, when all our resources are depleted, when we have nothing else.
    I’m waiting patiently, but faith without works is dead….right😇.
    I didn’t mean to go on, I have to go to work. But I’m excited to see God work!
    If you have a devotional on debt, please forward to me. We are lenders, not borrowers. We are the head and not the tail.
    Thank you for listening.
    Do have a wonderful Wednesday in His presence ✝️
    God bless🙏

    1. Hi, Teresa!
      God is so very good to us every single day! In countless ways. I thank Him for His miracles in my own life, too. And will pray with you for another miracle for your finances. He is able! I know it’s hard in the waiting, but He will make a way as you seek Him.
      Blessings! 💗

  4. Thank you for your hard work. I can’t wait to start reading all that you have.
    May God bless you.

    1. Hi, Morning!
      I am so glad God used this post to comfort you. God is always faithful to hear and answer the prayers of His children! And to be our comfort!
      Blessings! 💗

  5. I lost my oldest daughter September 24,2022 she 39 years old now I have her girl 18 and two boys 14 & 16 . My daughter birthday is coming up 12/24/22
    I have a hole in me I know she is with God she was saved 2 to 3 years ago that helps with the day to day life but she won’t be at Christmas no more. Your reading is comforting to me thank you may God continue to bless you
    Thank you Ruthie

    1. Oh, Ruthie, I am so very sorry for your loss! But I rejoice with you that your precious daughter is with Jesus! May the Lord wrap you in His loving arms and continue to comfort you as only He can and give you strength and wisdom as you seek to care for your grandchildren. What a day that will be when we are reunited with our loved ones in Heaven one day! Praying for you! 💗

  6. I prayed for deliverance from alcohol and drugs. God delivered me when I surrendered at the foot of the cross.
    Today Lord, I pray that you deliver my child, who has just become a Christian, from the difficulties she faces, and my husband from rebellion.

    1. Hi, Carol!
      God is so good! Praise the Lord for His grace and deliverance for you! Praying for that surrender and deliverance for your family.

  7. Dear Daughter in Christ, thank you for the encouragement , we all need it these days . We get attack in the Spirit and need the Armor to protect us and our families . God is a miracle worker and miracles happen every day , just look up .
    God bless 🙏❤️

    1. Hi Esme!
      You are so right that we need encouragement from the Lord every day. So thankful that God hears our prayers and answers in wonderful and miraculous ways. Our God is so great!
      Blessings! 💗

  8. Hi Teresa,
    I have been looking for a ladies bible study on line and I believe The Lord led me to LDN. I’m so thankful for this….I just need a closer walk with the Lord. These reminders on prayer are so rich. Thank you for all that you are doing with LDN and answering The Call of God.
    Many Blessings to you and family!

    1. Hi, Sally!
      I’m so glad you are here, too! I’m right there with you. I also need a closer walk with Jesus! So thankful God brings ladies like you to LDN so that we can encourage one another!
      Blessings! 💗

  9. Wow!!! 3 things God looks for when we Pray!!

    Theresa, a friend sent me some information on prayer and fasting, in reading it I found your link!! Thank you for sharing!!

    My family have a lot going on now, my daughter is leaving to go to chiropractic college in another state along with other life challenges.

    Your 3 things God looks for is a refresher on how to pray to our Lord and Savior, God

    Thank you and god bless

    1. Hi, Sabria!
      That’s exciting about your daughter’s opportunity to go to chiropractic school! But I can also relate to a mama’s heart that hurts at these changes. I’m so thankful that God always sees us through! By His grace and the power He gives us through prayer!
      Blessings! 💗

    1. Hi, Pearl!
      God wants you to walk closely with Him. Keep seeking Him in His Word and prayer, and He will help you to draw close to Him. I’m praying for you to know God in a very real way.
      Blessings! 💗

  10. Thank you for sharing this inspiring information, I ask for prayers for my gluttony. I want more self control over food, spending and everything else that I do that is not in the will of God. The Lord has ordered my steps, and every now and then I get off track. Also pray that I draw even nearer to him, especially in these last days.

    1. Hi, Queen!
      We all get off track in one way or another every single day. Praise the Lord for His grace and willingness to forgive when we seek Him with a repentant heart. I’m praying for you to have victory in those areas of your life. And that God will help you draw closer to Him.

    1. Hi Susan,
      Jesus wants us to come to Him in prayer first for salvation and then for fellowship. And He promises that “him that cometh to me, I will in no wise cast out.” (John 6:37) So, we can know and trust that He will always listen, and help us, and change what needs to be changed within us and in our circumstances, as we listen to His Word and trust and obey Him. Praise the Lord that He promises that when we seek Him, we will find Him! (Jeremiah 29:13) And finding Him is what truly changes our lives!
      Blessings! 💗

  11. Our Lord Jesus, is a miracle worker. He,has been with our family through health issues, finance, on many occasions without even us knowing it. For we are only human we can become weak in our walk. I try to remind myself, For we walk by faith, not by sight ( 2 Corinthians 5:7) can becomes hard at times. Specially when we seeking for answers or help.Let’s all pray for one another and remember to keep on praying. God bless!

  12. God saved both my sons from a destroyed life of drugs. I was fervently praying for them, for years. God came through.
    My younger son was in a moterbike accident 13 years ago. The doctors said he will not make it. Left him in Rhesus, ventilated and waiting for him to pass on. I have poured out my heart to God, I was not ready to let hom go, because he was unsaved. After 3 days in Rhesud, he was transferred to ICU, again the dr said, if he lives he will be blind, deaf and will be unable to walk. I never stopped praying. It was a difficult road, but my son learned to speak, eat and walk. He was like a little baby. He could not even sit up straight swallow his food or speak. We had to feed him through a pegg in his stomach. Today he is working, he drives big trucks, and he is avery strong young man. Physically and mentally . The only thing that has not healed is his vocal cords that was paralysed and has a left facial palsy, weakness in face muscles. To be able to talk he has to push air out with his stomach muscles. He sounds as if he is inebriated and people don’t take him seriously. But I trust God for another miracle, that He will also heal my childs facial muscles and his vocal cords.
    My oldest son were also in a motorbike accident 3 years ago. He broke nearly every bone in his body except his skull and vertebra.
    The doctors said that he will not be able to walk again. Everyone who helped him, the Physio, Occupational Therapist and Psychologist could not believe that he survived the accident. Within a year he walked without crutches and only used a cane. The doctor had tears in his eyes when he saw him and said “It’s a miracle” My son told him yes we prayed and asked God for a miracle. He still suffers with a lot of pain, but he manages and he is working. He had an encounter with God and said if this accident did not happen he would never have had the relationship with God like he has now.
    I hope this will enspire every mother out there to never stop praying for your child.

    1. Hi, Rika!
      Our God is so very gracious to us all! Praise the Lord for His goodness and healing for your sons! I am so thankful God hears the fervent prayers of mothers for our children. And that He knows what it will take to get hold of their hearts. Thank you for sharing here to encourage us!

  13. I believe God answers all prayers
    it may not be the answer you wanted however it was the solution needed at that time in your life
    God is always with us

  14. Teresa,
    Thank you for reminding me that I don’t need to have a great measure of faith, but faith the size of a mustard seed and a heart to follow and be obedient to our Lord.
    I also have been praying for my children to live for the Lord wholeheartedly. It has been now over 16 years, but I will continue to hold hope for His faithfulness to fulfill His word.

    1. Hi, Gina!
      Praying for you, dear one, as I know it is so hard to watch someone we love not living for God and missing out on enjoying all the blessings He has for them. We moms must keep the faith in prayer for our children and never give up. God certainly hears the heart cries of His dear children as we pour out our hearts for our precious children!
      Blessings! 💗

  15. My daughter had been mentally ill for a number of years, and she has gotten worst over the past year. My relatives and I have decided to have a day of fasting, for her, and today we are doing exactly that. Please help us to pray for A breakthrough for her.

    1. Hi Evadney,
      May the Lord graciously intervene in the life of your precious daughter. Praying for wisdom, strength, and God’s peace for you and your family as you care for her.
      Blessings In Christ!

  16. Thanks.It spoke to my heart.Im 38 living among impossibility in an unbeliever family.Only believer.Waiting for God to do a miracle in my marriage.My parents are Muslims.

    1. Hi, Sitara!
      Like Hagar of old, God sees you. And He is working to answer your prayers for your family. I’m praying for you in this terribly difficult situation that God will continue to encourage you as you seek Him and continue to follow Him.

  17. Hi good morning, my name is Gina, please pray for my family to be saved, and pray that I overcome and get deliverance from the enemy and healing and get closer to God filled with the holy spirit or God will intervene in my life and those around me, when I was younger I pray to God that he will deliver me from and he did I have never stole ever since .me and my friends gather around and pray to ask God to blow the ball of the tree cause got stuck and he did, and he also restored my brother and father relationship I pray for that and he did God bless I thank you for encouragement I’m looking for to pray more better

    1. Hi, Gina!
      Thank you for sharing your heart with us here. I’m so glad that you know that God answers the prayers of His children and that you are seeking Him in prayer for your needs and those of your family. I’m praying for you that God will guide you, encourage you, and help you as you continue to seek Him.
      Praying for you! 💗

  18. Hi my name is Sheryl Thorne-Reid n I’m texting about my prayer life is like I can’t pray whenever I start to pray I lose focus and my mind wonders to other things sometimes I don’t even remember what I was praying about is like my mind goes blank I know prayer is very important to God because that is how we communicates with Him I feel so frustrated n helpless and it is affecting my walk with God it makes me feel alone n lost please can you help me I really need back my prayer life….I’m from Jamaica 🇯🇲

    1. Hi, Sheryl!
      I believe we all go through times when our prayer life feels dry. But I know God will help anyone with a heart to fellowship with Him in prayer. Two things that have helped me are: 1) kneeling to pray and 2) praying out loud as I picture God in Heaven on His throne (that way I’m just talking to my Heavenly Father like I would any loved one). I hope these ideas will be a help to you. And take heart…our Lord seeks His own, and therefore, it won’t be long before the seeking Saviour meets a soul seeking Him!
      Blessings! 💗