And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him. (I John 5:14-15)
Many professing believers see prayer as the cause rather than the channel of obtaining from the Lord. It is the believer arriving at the will of the Lord in His Word and praying in agreement with that Word that brings blessing and reception of that which is promised. Our assurance in prayer rests in the Person and Word of God. In so ordering prayer in this fashion, we learn our absolute dependence upon the person of Christ.
John Lowe wrote to this end. Just as Whitefield saw prayer as the finishing school of his ministerial education, Lowe saw prayer as both necessary and in contrast with the lost man.
A believer's encouragement to prayer is not from anything that he expects to work in God by his prayer, but in what he apprehends to be already in God before he begins. He hopes in what God has determined in his own grace to do; and in his prayer he looks for the outbreaking of this. Therefore, in prayer he keeps close by God's promises. A natural man, on the contrary, can pray without a promise; for he thinks to work upon God - to bring him to do what he had no mind to do before. (Quoted from Pentecost Today? by Murray, 69).
Let us not be as the vain Pharisee who thought that by much repetition and the increased numbers of prayers offered, the answer was given. We do not impress God by our supposed self-piety. Seek His person in His Word. Learn of Him and that knowledge will lead us to pray in His will with the joy of knowing He has answered.