some more challenges from ‘Prayer: Does it make any difference?’ by Philip Yancey and you really should get the book:

‘I remembered reading the account of a spiritual seeker who interrupted a busy life to spend a few days in a monastery. ‘I hope your stay is a blessed one,’ said the monk who showed the visitor to his cell. ‘If you need anything, let us know, and we’ll teach you how to live without it.’

We learn to pray by praying, and two concentrated hours a day taught me much. To begin, I need to think more about God than about myself when I am praying. Even the Lord’s Prayer centers first in what God wants from us. ‘Hallowed be Your name, Your kingdom come, Your will be done’ – God wants us to desire these things, to orient our lives around them.’ [pg. 45]

‘The main purpose of prayer is not to make life easier, nor to gain magical powers, but to know God. I need God more than anything I might get from God.’ [pg. 47]

‘In a telling comment Jesus also said, ‘Your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.’ He could not mean that prayer is unnecessary, for His own life belied that. He could only mean that we need not strive to convince God to care; the Father already cares, more than we can know. Prayer is not a matter of giving God new information. Instead of presenting requests as if God may not know them, it might be more appropriate to say, ‘God, you know I need this!’

And that is how Tim Stafford found a sort of resolution to his questions about prayer:

Here, I believe, is the key to understanding what is most personal in prayer. We do not pray to tell God what He does not know, nor to remind Him of things He has forgotten. He already cares for the things we pray about… He has simply been waiting for us to care about them with Him.’ [pg. 50]

to be taken to the start of this series, click here.