With absolute expectation, I pray. I know God is not a slot machine waiting to pay off should the 7's line up. Still, sometimes I am disappointed when my prayers are not met with the answer I wish for in my heart of hearts. Questioning myself following such a disappointment, I arrived at the fig tree of Matthew 21 which withered after Jesus found it without fruit. At that time, He told the disciples, "Truly I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, 'Be taken up and cast into the sea,' it will happen. 22 And all things you ask in prayer, believing you will receive."
Mmm-hmm. That's a powerful statement. Now, either Christ really had it in for that particular fig tree, or there is a mandate here that we should be faith-filled, and that our prayers are an outflow of the expectation that the God of the Universe is listening and active. This morning, the action-oriented parable of the fig tree drew me after reading again of Abraham bargaining with God for fifty... forty?... No! Wait... ten righteous men for whom a whole city could be saved.
In my mind, "God grants our requests," plays over and over. Yes. And no. God's answers can sometimes be simply the turning of our wants and hopes toward his Will. We can ask for whatever we might desire, but His response will only be according to what He deems right. Sometimes that's the "yes," so often called "answered prayer". Sometimes that's the "wait," or "no," that are every bit as much an answer.
Yet, even with the surety that God already knows our heart's desires, we are to ask. Even though He already knows the answers that will be given, we are to ask. Because there is humility in the need to ask and the acknowledgement of God's sovereignty. Faith is expressed in the acceptance of "no," and "maybe." The surety that God is in control and that His authority is always good despite my limited view and perceptions of "good". Yet, in the simple act of "asking" that very power is granted to the petitioner. Out of faith will grow the sought after fruit.