The one who serves God willingly is heard; his petition reaches the heavens. The prayer of the lowly pierces the clouds; it does not rest till it reaches its goal, nor will it withdraw till the Most High responds, judges justly and affirms the right, and the LORD will not delay.
How does God hear the prayer of some and not of the others? Is there a special communication line that the others know and we are not aware of? Is there a more effective way? If we are after God's heart we would want to know what he likes, what He favors, and what He loves.
Time and again, Jesus would say, He favors the humble and the lowly. He would tell His disciples to seek for the lowly place, to be aware of one's sinfulness. He was always more merciful and more tolerant of the sinners than of the proud and self-righteous. He was drawn to the humble of heart and was disgusted with the pride of the pharisees who sees themselves as better than the others.
If we have been trying to be faithful to Him all these years, we may find ourselves thinking we are better than most. This is the waterloo of the believers. Our best gauge to know if we are falling in this trap is to honestly listen to ourselves and look at our hearts. Are we intolerant of the mistakes of others? Do we find ourselves saying, "I am thankful Lord that I am not like him or her, a sinner. I pray everyday. I give my tithes to the church. I am actively working for You unlike this man who is a sinner." Watch out for the yeast of the pharisee! It can easily grow in our hearts into a full-bloom pride and self-righteousness. How do we fight against it? By drawing ourselves closer to God with a listening heart. By being aware of this feeling of pride and self-righteousness and recognizing this as a sin bigger than all other sins. Remember, Jesus was more disgusted with these than the sin of immorality from the adulterous woman, or the sin of greed from the tax collectors who bribed and stole money from the people. He preferred to be in the company of the immoral and the outlaws than to be with the law-abiding and "prayerful" pharisees who did things to the letter but did not have the love and charity of God in their hearts, these pharisees who were quick to judge and to accuse and to find mistakes in other people.
When we truly have that relationship with God, when prayer becomes a loving conversation and not just a series of petition, we draw ourselves everyday to the Light. Then we see ourselves for who we really are.
Self-knowledge is a fruit of a real relationship with God -- when we see the speck in our own eyes, when we realize we have this nagging thorn in flesh that we cannot remove, when we see the frailty of our body and how difficult it is to resist its pleasure-seeking tendencies. Being aware of our own human frailties makes us become more understanding of the other's weaknesses and shortcomings. We begin to have an accepting and forgiving attitude, knowing that we ourselves need as much acceptance and forgiveness, that we are just as unbearable and annoying to the others as they are to us; that the sin that we thought we bear are "less" than their more grievous sin is a fallacy; In the eyes of God, our sin may be more disgusting than the sin of immorality. Once we gain this self-knowledge, we begin to feel God's immense love and mercy and are able to extend it to others. We begin to clear that line of communication with God. He is able to hear us better and we are able to listen to Him better.