Look, let’s go ahead and name the elephant in the room—some prayers work, and some prayers don’t. Why does that surprise and irritate us? Some diets work, but most don’t; no one is really surprised by that. We simply keep looking for the one that will work for us. Some investments produce, others don’t; you look for the program that works for you. Some schools are effective, others fail badly; hopefully you can find the situation that is right for your child. There is a way things work. Can you name anything in life where this isn’t so?
 
And so it is with prayer. We just want it to be simple and easy; we want it to go like this:
 
God is loving and powerful.

We need his help.

So we ask for help, as best we know how. 
The rest is up to him.

After all—he’s God. He can do anything.
 
The uncomfortable truth is this: that is a very naïve view of prayer, on a level with believing that all a marriage needs is love, or that we should base our foreign policy on belief in our fellow man.
That simple view of prayer has crushed many a dear soul, because it ignores crucial facts. There is a way things work.
 
 

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