This is a very good question, for the Lord loves to hear our “heartfelt” prayers. He despises prayers that are memorized or said with the purpose of impressing others. Jesus warned us against this in Matthew 6:7, “But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.” So, how do we avoid praying shallow, mechanical prayers? I would suggest there are three conditions of heart that we need to “pray from the depths of our heart.”

1) We need to pray from an UNDEFILED HEART. David prayed in Psalm 139:23-24, “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” David was willing to allow God to search the innermost regions of his heart and to expose any sin that may be lurking there, for he knew that a heart defiled by sin would hinder His walk with the Lord. When the Lord does reveal sin in us, we need to confess and forsake it. This will give us a clear conscience before God and give us boldness when we do pray. 1 John 3:21-22 says “Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God. And whatever we ask we receive of Him, because we keep His commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in His sight” (NKJV).

2) We need to pray from an UNDIVIDED HEART. This is borne out in James 1:5-8, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of Godbut let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways” (NKJV). Later, in James 4:3, we read “You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures” (NASB). If our hearts are divided between Christ and the world, we are indeed a “double-minded man,” which leads to asking for the wrong things because our hearts have the “wrong motives.” The remedy for this is found in Colossians 3:1-2, “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affections on things above, not on things on the earth.” Matthew 5:19-21 speaks of this same truth, for it says, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures on earthbut lay up for yourselves treasures in heavenfor where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”  If our hearts are focused on Christ and heavenly things, we will have the “undivided heart” that is needed to “pray from the depths of our heart.”

3) We need to pray from an UNDISTURBED HEART. The Lord Jesus said in John 14:1, “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in Me.” He went on to say in verse 27, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” Our blessed Lord knew that we are prone to having fearful hearts that rob us of the peace we so desperately need. He teaches us in these verses that He desires to calm our troubled and disturbed hearts by giving us His peace! The apostle Paul echoed this truth in Philippians 4:6-7, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (NASB).  Here we learn that in order to pray from an “undisturbed heart” we need to bring EVERYTHING to God in prayer. This includes not just what we consider the BIG THINGS, but ANYTHING that would produce anxiety. The word “supplication” means we should be very specific in our requests. And let’s not forget “thanksgiving,” thanking God for prayers He’s already answered and for the many blessings we receive. If we do pray in this way, we are promised that “the peace of Godwill guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” We will indeed be able to “pray from the depths of our hearts,” hearts that are flooded with God’s peace and that are guarded from everything that would serve to fill us with anxiety and fear.  (177.10)  (DO)