The apostle John explains: “This is the confidence that we have toward him, that, no matter what it is that we ask according to his will, he hears us.” (1 John 5:14) Our requests must be in harmony with God’s will. Some pray for things that are clearly not God’s will—to win the lottery, for example, or to win a bet. Others pray with improper motives. The disciple James warns against such abuse of prayer, saying: “You do ask, and yet you do not receive, because you are asking for a wrong purpose, that you may expend it upon your cravings for sensual pleasure.”—James 4:3.
The Bible clearly says this: “No matter what it is that we ask according to his will, he hears us.” (1 John 5:14) This is because Jehovah is a God of justice. His natural laws, such as gravity, reflect that, being applied equally to everyone. If you did not study for an exam, would it be just for God to intervene and cause you to score better than others who did study? Really, it would not be fair to the other students, would it?
The basic things God expects us to pray for are contained in the following Model Prayer, given by Jesus Christ. Notice the priorities in it: “Our Father in the heavens, let your name be sanctified. Let your kingdom come. Let your will take place, as in heaven, also upon earth. Give us today our bread for this day; and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not bring us into temptation, but deliver us from the wicked one.”—Matt. 6:9-13.
Jehovah God expects persons who pray to him to be more concerned about his will and purposes than about their own goals and ambitions. That is only reasonable, since God knows what is best for all of us. There is nothing wrong with praying for material things, our ‘daily bread,’ but nothing is said about praying for riches. Rich people are usually not concerned about God. Notice that God is pleased with prayers that show concern for him and his purpose first, and ourselves second. Such prayers are all too rare today.