"And whatsoever we ask, we receive of Him, because we keep His commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in His sight" (I John 3:22).
The Scriptures draw a clear correlation between obedience to God's Word and answered prayer. David recognized this when he proclaimed, "The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and His ears are open unto their cry" (Psalm 34:15). When Jesus and His disciples left the upper room, He affirmed them with the promise that "If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you" (John 15:7).
As we walk in obedience, we learn not to insist on our own way, but to diligently seek God's will. We discover that another requisite for answered prayer is submission, "that, if we ask any thing according to His will, He heareth us" (I John 5:14). Our Lord Jesus exhibited unconditional deference to the Father, as He declared, "I do always those things that please Him" (John 8:29). The ultimate test came at Gethsemane when Jesus submitted to the Father's will despite the exceeding sorrow and anguish weighing on His soul. Under the anticipated agony of divine wrath, our precious Savior prayed, "Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done" (Luke 22:42).
As our hearts grow nearer to God in obedience and submission, we gain a greater understanding of "the love of Christ" (Ephesians 3:19), and our prayers become more earnest and passionate. We come to realize that the "effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much" (James 5:16) and are motivated to "Pray without ceasing" (I Thessalonians 5:17).