Increased intimacy with your heavenly Father is the richest reward of bringing your petitions to Him.
Imagine what would happen if God gave us whatever we wanted as soon as we asked. We probably wouldn’t spend much time with the Lord, which is essential for knowing Him and having a relationship.
The biggest benefit of prayer is that we develop intimacy with God—not that we receive whatever we requested. Think of Paul, who asked three times for his “thorn in the flesh” to be removed before God answered no (2 Corinthians 12:7-8). Paul was probably disappointed, but eventually he realized the situation drew him closer to the Lord. Then he was able to say, “I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me” (2 Corinthians 12:9).
When we’ve been praying long and hard but don’t feel our words matter, that time with the Lord is not wasted. It sustains our relationship with Him.
God is listening attentively to our cries, and His Spirit is our constant companion—even when we cannot “feel” His presence or involvement. So if you’re tempted to give up on unanswered prayers, remember that the Holy Spirit is there to teach us all things and even to intercede when we don’t know how to pray (John 14:26; Romans 8:26). He will help you persevere and enjoy the real benefit of prayer—time with your Father.