How do we pray if we think God may give us what we do not need? How do we pray if we believe God may give us harmful gifts? How do we pray if God is not completely trustworthy? How do we pray if we believe God is a distant, reluctant stranger who needs to be cajoled and manipulated to release a gift? Our picture of our Father in heaven is at stake here.
The truth of who we are praying to changes everything. If God is disinterested, weak, absent, and silent, then we resort to meaningless babble and magical formulas – whatever seems to work. But, if God is sovereign and engaged, powerful and loving, transcendent and speaking – then we pray in a completely different way. How should we pray?