A calorie-conscious woman drove past a bakery and saw some delicious-looking cookies. She decided to pray about it: “Lord, if you want me to have some of those cookies, please let me have a parking place directly in front of the bakery.” Sure enough, the eighth time she drove around the block, there was the empty parking spot!
Sadly, this is how we sometimes approach prayer. We may pray about things we already know God will say “no” to, hoping that if we plead with a convincing enough argument He might relent, or we pray without being willing to listen to His answer, or we doubt that He will answer at all. Often, we foolishly take matters into our own hands without even praying.
When we do pray, we may talk, talk, talk to God as if we’re trying to meet our quota for prayers for each day, without taking the time to quietly sit in His presence and allowing His Holy Spirit to speak to us, guide us and counsel us. We don’t stop to listen after we’re done with our talking. We pray, say “Amen!” and quickly get on with our day’s activities.
And then we wonder why we feel dissatisfied, empty, confused, stressed and powerless. The truth is, we simply have not connected with God in prayer. As the disciples pleaded with Jesus, my wish for all of us is that we would echo: “Lord, teach [me] to pray!” (Luke 11:1)