I was raised in a Christian household, and had been praying almost since the day I had learned how to talk. But if I were to be completely honest, I'd have to say that I did most of my praying when I was in trouble, and very little praying otherwise. In other words, most of my prayer time was spent praying what the Bible calls "crisis-prayers". The prophet Jeremiah gives an account of a period in Israel's history when God's people were not wholly devoted to Him, and He only heard from them when they were in distress. God tells Jeremiah, "I'm not going to listen to a single syllable of their crisis-prayers." (Jeremiah 11:14 MSG) It saddens me every time I read this verse, because it reminds me of how shallow a relationship I used to have with the Lord myself. As I look back, I realize now why my prayers were, for the most part, anemic and powerless.
When I made a quality decision to get serious about my relationship with God, I began studying the Scriptures, having a desire to know Him in every way that He could be known. That's when I discovered that our God desires to have a deeply personal relationship with His children, and He expects them to love Him, seek Him, and serve Him with everything we have. When we make this kind of commitment to God, one of the blessings we receive in return is the privilege of getting "ready answers" to our prayers.
Jesus said: "If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you." (John 15:7 NKJV) One of the reasons why many believers today are not hearing clearly and consistently from God is that they are not "abiding" in Him. Abiding in Christ means that we give Him the best of our time and energy each day. He is the first one we think of and speak to each morning. He is the One we consult about everything, and the One who gets to have the final say in all of our decisions and choices. And He and His Word have first place in our lives.
Don't be the kind of believer who only prays "crisis-prayers" and gets sorry results. God has so much more for you than that, and He will share it with you if you give Him your best. Right now, make the decision to abide in Him all the rest of your days, and watch what He will do in and through your prayer life!