The Holy Bible teaches that there are different reasons or conditions for answered prayers, based on the variability and changeability of every soul. These conditions are:
First: The agreement of two people in asking for the same thing will blossom into fruitful prayers. “Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven” (Mt 18:19).
Second: Faith, even if it were as a mustard seed. “So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you…”” (Mt 17:20).
Third: Importuning, as described by our Lord and which means continuing and persisting in praying and supplicating tirelessly without losing heart. “I say to you, though he will not rise and give to him because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will rise and give him as many as he needs” (Lk 11:8).
Fourth: Giving “Store up almsgiving in your treasury, and it will rescue you from every disaster” (Sirach 29: 12).
Fifth: Purification of one’s life and merciful acts “Is this not the fast that I have chosen: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, to let the oppressed go free, and that you break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out; when you see the naked, that you cover him, and not hide yourself from your own flesh? Then your light shall break forth like the morning, your healing shall spring forth speedily, and your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; you shall cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.’…” (Is 58:6-9).
Sixth: Unbearable afflictions can move God to answer prayers. “In my distress I cried to the Lord, and He heard me” (Ps 120:1) and “You shall neither mistreat a stranger nor oppress him, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. You shall not afflict any widow or fatherless child. If you afflict them in any way, and they cry at all to Me, I will surely hear their cry; and My wrath will become hot, and I will kill you with the sword; your wives shall be widows, and your children fatherless. If you lend money to any of My people who are poor among you, you shall not be like a moneylender to him; you shall not charge him interest. If you ever take your neighbor’s garment as a pledge, you shall return it to him before the sun goes down. For that is his only covering, it is his garment for his skin. What will he sleep in? And it will be that when he cries to Me, I will hear, for I am gracious” (Exodus 22: 21-27)
Thus, it is through many ways that we obtain the gift of answered prayers in order that we may not be deprived of securing useful needs or everlasting eternal affairs. I firmly believe that in reflecting over our pettiness, we will discover our void of all the virtues just cited, that we do not have the worth-of-praise total agreement between two, faith like a mustard seed, nor mercy acts as described by the prophet.
St Isaac The Syrian