If we are whimpering, and sniveling, and begging to be spared the discipline of life that is sent to knock some smatterings of manhood into us, the answer to that prayer may never come at all. Thank God! If you are not bleating to get off, but asking to be given grace and strength to see this through with honour, "The very day" you pray that prayer, the answer always comes.
Do not burn false fire upon God's altar; do not pose and pretend, either to Him or to yourself, in your religious exercises; do not say more than you mean, or use exaggerated language that goes beyond the facts, when speaking to Him whose word is truth.
Prayer is not intended to change God's purpose, nor is it to move Him to form fresh purposes. God has decreed that certain events shall come to pass through the means He has appointed for their accomplishment.
Real prayer is communion with God, so that there will be common thoughts between His mind and ours. What is needed is for Him to fill our hearts with His thoughts, and then His desires will become our desires flowing back to Him.
The prevailing idea seems to be, that I come to God and ask Him for something that I want, and that I expect Him to give me that which I have asked. But this is a most dishonouring and degading conception. The popular belief reduces God to a servant, our servant: doing our bidding, performing our pleasure, granting our desires. No, prayer is a coming to God, telling Him my need, committing my way unto the Lord, and leaving Him to deal with it as seemeth Him best.
...people mostly pray as if there were no God with them, or as if He did not heed their prayers. Let us ascribe to the Lord at least the same amount of attention that good parents show to the requests of their children, at least that provident and attentive love which good parents have for their children.
When you are praying alone, and your spirit is dejected, and you are wearied and oppressed by your loneliness, remember then, as always, that God the Trinity looks upon you with eyes brighter than the sun; also all the angels, your own Guardian Angel, and all the Saints of God.
Just as the salt water of the sea is drawn upwards by the hot rays of the sun, and gradually takes on the form of clouds, and, turned thus into sweet and refreshing water, falls in showers on the earth (for the sea water as it rises upwards leaves behind it its salt and bitterness), so when the thoughts and desires of the man of prayer rise aloft like misty emanations of the soul, the rays of the Sun of Righteousness purify them of all sinful taint, and his prayers become a great cloud which descends from heaven in a shower of blessing, bringing refreshment to many on the earth.
There are many beautiful things in the world around us, but pearls can only be discovered in the depths of the sea; if we wish to posses spiritual pearls we must plunge into the depths, that is, we must pray, we must sink down into the secret depths of contemplation and prayer. Then we shall perceive precious pearls.