I’m recording this excerpt from Tim Keller’s Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God for my own benefit. Just think: if we could remember that God is all we need before we sit down to pray, wouldn’t that spare us a lot of frustration and disappointment with unanswered prayer?
After all, if God is what we really need—before anything else we might ask for—the good news is that God is what we Christians already have. If we could only believe that God is enough!
At this point we should remember Augustine’s letter to Anicia. There he says, in short, that you should not begin to pray for all you want until you realize that in God you have all you need. That is, unless we know that God is the one thing we truly need, our petitions and supplications may become, simply, forms of worry and lust. We can use prayer as just another way to pursue many things that we want too much. Not only will God not hear such prayers (because we ask for things selfishly to spend on our lusts [James 4:2-3]), but the prayers will not reorient our perspective and give us any relief from the melancholy burden of self-absorption.[†]
† Timothy Keller, Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God (New York: Dutton, 2014), 139.