We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
There is one secret ingredient to make prayer work: trust. Gotta have it. Can God work without your trust? Sure — the rain falls on the just and the unjust, as the proverb says. Our problem is we want to understand God before we trust Him. We want Him to strut His stuff, lightning bolts and miracles and the like, before we’ll acquiesce and maybe give Him a break. Sorry, that’s not trust — just the opposite. But God cannot be understood — even in a limited way with our most enfeebled minds — until we first trust Him. Sounds like a bum deal, a Catch-22, but that’s just the way it works. Get over it — you won’t regret it.
And one last thought in this long-winded essay: If you’re new to this prayer thing (or even not so new), start small. Praying for world peace or a cure for your cancer is fine, but a bit grandiose for starters. Pray about your misplaced car keys, finding a parking spot, the wisdom to deal with that difficult patient, or co-worker, or child, or situation. Then open your eyes, your ears, your heart for the response. You won’t hear it every time — but I bet you’ll be surprised how often you do, and you’ll learn something about God, about yourself, and in some small way about how this spiritual world works.
That is a repost of his, so I will take the opportunity to comment here.
I consider prayer and attitude to be of a similar nature.
In my opinion, in order for a prayer to be "successful", one must have the correct attitude to receive the "success".
For example, if you go to the store and just before entering you take a moment to say a prayer for "good service" and then put on a smile and walk in, you may have good service. But if you don't say the prayer or have a frown, you are a lot less likely to have good service. In fact, if you walk in and begin insulting the staff, you'll probably have bad service, regardless of your prayer.
"Success", in this example is dependent upon three things - prayer, attitude, and behavior. But as the quote illustrates, you have to trust that the first is real.
Similarly, if a person says "Give me a a loving spouse and I will have a good attitude", then I believe they have it backwards. A person with a good attitude will attract a loving spouse. The same applies with prayer. Someone saying "Show me lightening and miracles and I will believe" is likely to be disappointed. But as a person who says "I believe." -- I see miracles everywhere.
Like the song says "I saw God Today". (look it up)
On a more physiological level, I look at it this way; Prayer is inviting God into your life Attitude is allowing God into your life
* Behavior is having God in your life