More on prayer from Anne Lamott in Help, Thanks, Wow:
“The response probably won’t be from God, in the sense of hearing a deep, grandfatherly voice, or via skywriting, on in the form of an LED-lit airplane aisle at your feet. But the mail will come, or an e-mail, or the phone will ring; unfortunately, it might not be later today, ideally right after lunch, but you will hear back. You will come to know.”
“The response probably won’t be from God….” No, but it will be OF God. Too often I miss the answer to prayer because it is not my desired answer, not the answer I wanted, the answer I had hoped for. It is easy to let prayer slip into what I call the vending machine mode – to pray for a particular outcome, result, or resolution, to push a particular button and then judge God’s responsiveness by what pops out of the chute — whether He delivers exactly what I prayed for. On reflection, that seem a bit silly when petitioning an all-knowing God (and why pray to any other type?). What comes to mind is a person on the street seeking handouts and deciding that today, he/she will ask for and accept a specific currency or coinage – say Friday is one dollar bill day. If anyone offers a five, a ten, a twenty, or coins, it is rejected and returned. A sandwich or something to drink, no way, that’s not what was asked for. How crazy would that be? Yet when the answer to my prayer comes from an unwanted source or takes a form not wholly consistent with my expectations….