I wonder if prayer is something like shooting a basket?
Jesus tells me to pray that the ball will go in the hoop, so I pray, and then I shoot. The problem is, I’m standing on the opposite side of the court; my shot is an airball. It doesn’t come anywhere near to hitting the basket.
Jesus says, “Come closer to Me.”
So I take a step closer, and He says, “Pray that the ball will go in the hoop.” So I pray, as He tells me to, and I shoot; and again, airball.
And He says, “Sam, come closer to Me.”
I take a step closer and shoot an airball; and each time, He tells me to come closer.
Eventually I’m standing right underneath the basket, right next to Him. He says gently, warmly, eyes gracious and kind, “Pray again that the ball will go in the hoop.” And I pray, just as I had before. But this time He’s drawn me so close to Him that He’s able to lift me onto His strong, rocklike shoulders.
I dunk the ball. A perfect swish!
And He smiles, hugs me and says, “See how close you need to be to Me for your prayers to be answered in the way that I want them?”