Prayer is the lifting up of our minds and hearts to God.
Let us lift up our hearts with our hands to the Lord in the heavens. (Lamentations 3:41)
Why do we pray?
to adore God, expressing to Him our love and loyalty;
to thank Him for His favors;
to obtain from Him the pardon of our sins and the remission of their punishment;
to ask for graces and blessings for ourselves and others.
Watch and pray, that you may not enter into temptation. (Matthew 26:41)
How should we pray?
We should pray:
with a conviction of our own helplessness and our dependence upon God;
with a great desire for the graces we beg of Him;
with loving trust in His goodness;
And all things whatever you ask for in prayer, believing, you shall receive. (Matthew 21:22)
For whom should we pray?
We should pray especially for ourselves, for our parents, relatives, friends, and enemies, for sinners, for the souls in purgatory, for the Pope, bishops, and priests of the Church, and for the officials of our country.
But I say to you, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who persecute and calumniate you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:44-45)
How do we know that God always hears our prayers if we pray properly?
We know that God always hears our prayers if we pray properly because Our Lord has promised: “If you ask the Father anything in My name, He will give it to you.”
And whatever you ask in my name, that I will do, in order that the Father may be glorified in the Son. (John 14:13)
Why do we not always obtain what we pray for?
We do not always obtain what we pray for, either because we have not prayed properly or because God sees that what we are asking would not be for our good.
You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it upon your passions. (James 4:3)