When I needed healing from lung cancer in 2003, I had to learn how to pray. I had to fast and pray. Every time I've needed a miracle in my life, I've had to fast, I've had to pray: I stay up at night; I get up early in the morning; I go on a long prayer walk; and I pray, and I pray, and I pray. And God answers my prayer! Sometimes He answers quickly, but often I must grow in my faith and obtain answers through patience and persistence (Hebrews 6:12). In the Gospels, although the miracles seem instantaneous to us, the person had been afflicted many years, such as the woman with the issue of blood who sought medical answers for 12 years, one person was sick for 38 years! (Mark 5:25; John 5:5)
I don't want to teach you how to pray, rather I want to teach you how to get an answer to prayer! The key to answered prayer is persistence: the disciples asked in Luke 11, 'Lord, teach us how to pray'. The trouble is, many people stop reading at the end of verse four with the 'Amen' of the Lord's Prayer, but Jesus carried on teaching about prayer until verse thirteen; the key is found in verse nine, "And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will be given what you ask for." (Emphasis mine.)
I pray because I need an answer from God. My God is different to any other god in the world, my God answers prayer. Some people make a god out of money; it becomes their whole purpose in life to obtain wealth. But money never answers prayer. Worldly possessions are not like God, they can't answer prayer; they might provide temporary solutions, but only Jesus answers prayer.
Jeremiah 33:3 was such an encouragement to me when I was praying over my lung cancer. God speaks to Jeremiah when he was locked in a prison - He wasn't sitting in luxury watching a televangelist, he was in a prison; (like Jeremiah, I was in prison for Bible smuggling, and God miraculously delivered me in answer to prayer) - God says, "Call to Me, and I will answer you and show you great and mighty things which you do not know." Look, if you are in a 'prison' of debt, sickness or discouragement; if you want a miracle in your life, begin to pray! Cry out to God. Pray without ceasing!
God is very simple: "Call, and I will answer!" If I can teach you one thing, it is to keep on praying until God answers. And He will answer you! Not only will God answer, but the reason I love this verse, and the reason I pray over this verse is, God says, "When I answer, I will show you great and mighty things which you do not know."
One prayer I pray regularly is, "O God, I call unto You; You have promised that You will answer me, and when You answer, You are going to show me powerful things, something bigger than I can even dream about." And God responds to me, "I'm going to show you something you don't know; something which is beyond your dreams, beyond your imagination. I'm going to open up heaven and show you My glory; I'll show you My power now!"