All scripture quotes are from the King James Version of the bible except otherwise stated.
"Teach me thy way, O LORD; I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name." (KJV)
"Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name." (NIV)
At times and because of the nature of our natural disposition to change, we look as if we are created out of many different fabrics. That is, there seems to be more than one person in us. For instance we have the ability to think or act logically but we still have the right and ability to act in other ways aside from being logical. We may choose to be emotional or even totally unconcerned about an issue. There are even issues we approach logically, then mid-way we become emotional about it and before long, totally unconcerned. Logic may suggest that the stronger team will win, but after one's emotions come into play you may decide to support the weaker team even when your mind is still telling you that the stronger team will definitely win. This is why we are wonderful creatures, we can choose to become regimented and at the same time eccentric in our disposition.
"I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well." Ps.139: 14 (KJV)
Achieving success in the pursuit of life's issues can be a very subjective thing in that we may choose to define what we term as being successful. But in the place of prayer, even as we are in the motions of seeking the actualization of desires, the interplay of the human veracity for change (as we earlier touched) can be very challenging.
"A double minded man is unstable in all his ways." James 1:8. (KJV)
This portion of scripture is found within the context of prayer i.e. asking and seeking from God.
"If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways." James1: 5-8(KJV)
And this seems to go against the grain of the natural human disposition because we seem to bask in that ability or freedom to change at any given point in time. There seems to be too many shades of our person's operating at any given moment.
Now if we want to identify these 'persons' in us (that always seems to have their own opinions), we can easily identify our 'thoughts' as one, then our 'mouths' as another and our 'actions' would come up next. All these 'persons' in us are subject to various influences. And these influences can make anyone of 'them' to do something contrary or change its 'character' or 'behavior'. For instance some new development or awareness can make you have a 're-think'. When we pray we use our mouths and (hopefully) our minds. They should agree or be in the same line:
"And it came to pass, as she continued praying before the LORD, that Eli marked her mouth. Now Hannah, she spake in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard: therefore Eli thought she had been drunken." 1 Sam. 1:12,13 (KJV)
The same thing applies to Abraham's servant who prayed in his heart i.e. with his mind (Gen.24: 45). Now if they can only but agree, our prayer lives would definitely go far, as far as answers to them are concerned. But the thing is that our mouths can be saying one thing while our minds are in another place. The responsibilities of making them agree lies on us. By agreeing they are 'uniting' to fear His Name. It is this unity that double-mindedness stands against. It is this unity that brings the certainty of an answer as it were.
The best way (from experience and scripture) to cause your mouth and mind to agree is to start from the one that carries the other.
Now one may think that the mouth (i.e. what we say) in the context of prayer should be the most important, i.e. the one that carries the other. But the understanding given by scripture points otherwise. First of all God is interested in the hidden i.e. that which is not generally seen or perceived by all.
"But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly." Matt. 6:6(KJV)
So for the humans, what goes on inside carries more weight (i.e. to God) than that which is outside.
"But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart." 1 Sam. 16:7(KJV)
"Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also." Matt. 23:26 (KJV)
"All a man's ways seem innocent to him, but motives are weighed by the Lord."
Pro. 16:2 (NIV).
Any prayer that doesn't have its root from the inside won't go far, it would be as one just paying lip service. It is true that God answers the mouth (Num. 14:26-28), but he weighs and responds to the inside even more ( Ge.24: 45, 1 Sam. 1:12,13).
"And God said to Solomon, Because this was in thine heart, and thou hast not asked riches, wealth, or honour, nor the life of thine enemies, neither yet hast asked long life; but hast asked wisdom and knowledge for thyself, that thou mayest judge my people, over whom I have made thee king" 2 Chr. 1:11 (KJV)
"But the LORD said to David my father, Forasmuch as it was in thine heart to build an house for my name, thou didst well in that it was in thine heart" 2 Chr. 6:8 (KJV)
Your heart and mind in the place of prayer is critical. Pray with your mind and speak with your mouth. For them to be united in you, let your mind be on your prayer in thought even as you speak with your mouth. Those that have exercised themselves in this would agree that it will even get to some point where your words won't necessarily be distinct as it were yet the effectiveness of your prayer in the context of the answer. Hanna got to that point.
We are yet to even mention the 'action' side of you. Everything has to be in line, your word with your thought and most importantly, the things you do after you leave the place of prayer (i.e. your actions). This puts the final seal of credibility to the rest. I've always had this personal notion that God answers our lives not our prayers. Because ones actions has to agree with the desires tabled before God in the closet. Behaving or acting contrary to the things you are seeking cancels out ones sincerity in the place of prayer.
All these three has to stay at being one (not just in the moment of prayer but afterwards). Even as you 'watch unto prayer'.
"I will stand upon my watch, and set me upon the tower, and will watch to see what he will say unto me.." Hab.2: 1 (KJV)
You can read it down to verse four, one has to be united in the watching.
Those thought that seems to attack after one leaves the place of prayer (they always seem to question the very thing you went into the closet for in the first place) has to be repelled by Word(s) and deeds that are consistent to the request tabled before God. And it is this consistency in unity that is critical in having one's prayer answered.