Does God answer prayers? A question asked often down through the centuries. For some, God–if there is one–doesn’t pay attention to us at all. We’re on our own. No one’s listening and no one cares.
Certainly, Jesus believed in asking for things in prayer from a Father who cared, and he taught his disciples to pray as he did. For example, he asked over and over in the Garden of Gethsemani that his life be spared, “Father, let this cup pass from me.” He trusted a Father who loved him more than any human father could. No distant, uninvolved God for him.
As he knocked the door opened, the answer came, yet not as he willed, but as God willed. And to accept that answer “an angel came to strengthen him.” So also with us: we may not get what we ask for, but a strengthening grace is always given, and the promise of life always remains. God has something better in mind.
As the gospels make clear, Jesus prayed constantly during this life; he taught his disciples words of prayer and finally, in his darkest hours he gave them an example of prayers they would never forget. “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit” ; “I thirst”; “My God, my God why have you forsaken me!” Heartfelt, trusting, real prayers.
We pray with our own voice when we pray; that’s true. But we pray best by following the way of praying that Jesus gave us. “Let us pray as God our Master taught us, asking the Father in the words the Son has given us, letting him hear the prayer of Christ ringing in his ears…Let the Father recognize the words of his Son; let the Son who lives in our hearts be also on our lips…” (St. Cyprian, On the Lord’s Prayer)
For more on the prayer of Jesus, http://www.cptryon.org/prayer/jesupray.html