I’m a big fan of to-do lists and action steps. It helps me know what I need to do to be successful. I’ve often wished there were a check-list for how to be a good Christian. It would probably include things like “pray regularly”, “worship weekly”, “read the Bible daily”, “help others” and other “Christian-y” things.

The problem with a checklist is that it turns our faith into something we do out of a sense of obligation. For example, have you ever thought to yourself, “I should pray about that.”? I have. It wasn’t really because I thought prayer could do anything, it just seemed like something you should do as a Christian. I didn’t really believe that God would answer, I just felt I should do it.

And Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God. Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”
Mark 11:22-24

Jesus connects our effectiveness in prayer with our faith. It makes sense, really. If we don’t really believe that Jesus will hear and is capable of answering, why would He? Without faith, prayer is just another empty work that we are doing because
we should.

Are your prayers being answered? If not, maybe you’re praying out of obligation instead of faith. Ask God to change your heart and see what happens.