“Be careful what you pray for…” folks tell you. The addition to that wisdom is to be careful how you pray for what you pray for.
One bad habit I hear in folks’ out-loud prayers is that they are full of demands: God give us this thing over here… grant us this other thing over there… and be sure and give yet another to this person over there….Cure this… Pay for that … Do the near-impossible while I stand around and watch…
That’s not a prayer. That’s a shopping list.
Praying is about being open: open mind, open heart, open soul. “Here is what I/we/they need, LORD,” we pray, “could you give us the discernment/the peace/the wherewithal to figure this thing out and to take action to get what we need, in communion with you?”
Praying always works best when we’re not holding God hostage: “Give me this or obviously you don’t care about me, and I’ll leave you.” If that’s the way you see prayers working – as a constant test to the realness of God – you may as well just quit now.
Sooner or later, the Universe will call your bluff.
I expect great things of you.
Help me to attempt and accomplish
great things for you.
– Keep the faith!