A friend sent this prayer request via email: “. . . In other words please pray that I GET WHAT I WANT and if I don’t, that I can make peace with what I get stuck with.”
I replied: “I pray.”
I pray that she gets what is the right thing in God’s plan. . .and that she can make peace with it.
On Facebook, my niece asked for prayers that she passes her test. I wrote, “Dear God, I pray that my niece studied enough.”
As for me, I don’t pray for stuff I want. I pray for things like having grace when I’m with my brother, for being able to do what God wants when I go on a mission trip to Guatemala.
Praying for stuff (a new car) or specific outcomes (passing a test) seems shortsighted. Praying for things we think we oughta have is like looking out a porthole of the ship and thinking the entire world is water and sky. There’s more to the picture. We just can’t see it all. . . which might be a good thing . . .?
Check out this guidance from Francois Fenelon about how to pray.
“Tell Him your troubles, that He may comfort you; Tell Him your joys, that He may sober them; Tell Him your longings, that He may purify them; Tell Him your dislikes, that He may help you conquer them; talk to Him of your temptations, that He may shield you from them; show Him the wounds of your heart, that He may heal them; lay bare your indifference to good, your depraved tastes for evil; your instability. Tell Him how self-love makes you unjust to others, how vanity tempts you to be insincere, how pride disguises you to yourself and others.”
This, to me, is a good way to pray.