I have been thinking of this quotation by Erich Fromm from his book, The Art of Loving, “The truly religious person if he follows the essence of the monotheistic idea does not pray for anything, does not expect anything from God; he does not love God as a child loves his father or mother.
He has acquired the humility of sensing his limitations to the degree of knowing that he knows nothing about God.
God becomes to him a symbol in which man, at an earlier stage of his evolution, has expressed the totality of that which man is striving for, the realm of the spiritual world of love, truth and justice.
He has faith in the “principles” which God represents; he thinks truth, lives love and justice, and considers all of his life only valuable in as much as it gives him the chance to arrive at an ever fuller unfolding of human powers—as the only reality that matters, as the only object of ‘ultimate concern’ and, eventually, he does not speak about God—nor ever mention his name.
To love God, if he were going to use this word, would mean, then, to long for the attainment of the full capacity to love, for the realization of that which ‘God’ stands for in oneself.”
But as people we pray for this or that, concrete and material things, whereas what we should be praying for is the ability to be fully all of whom we were meant to be because we have all that we need. And in the faces of challenges, we should be praying for the strength to bear the challenges. We shouldn’t be praying for things to change to suit our purposes. This is hard, I know, but I think this is the way it’s supposed to be.