I GOT A BIRTHDAY CARD with a message inside that read, "When you wish for something, be specific!" On the front of the card was a nonplussed kitty with a computer mouse between her paws.
That card got me thinking about prayer. It's not a great idea to pinpoint the color, shape, and size—or even the outcome—one is praying for. That would amount to telling God what to do, and I don't know anyone qualified to do that. When it comes to prayer, I'd rewrite that card this way: "When you pray about something, be scientific." A scientific approach to prayer involves understanding the nature of God, who is entirely good. This kind of prayer is neither wishy-washy nor directive. Rather, it's focused on discovering God's nature and on feeling His presence right where we are.
I had an opportunity to do this once when I was vacationing on a chartered cabin cruiser. We'd left the protected cove where we'd spent the night, and as we headed into open water, we could see that there were rough seas ahead. Warm sun and calm waters had characterized our trip for nearly two weeks, but conditions in Desolation Sound can change in a moment. All of a sudden, we found ourselves rolling and pitching in large swells. Two of my traveling companions quickly retreated to their cabin, where I could see them holding on to each other and to whatever didn't move. Another person and I stationed ourselves in the general living quarters, where we did our best to keep the furniture and any other unattached objects from flying across the room. The skipper, an excellent seaman, was at the helm on the flying bridge (upper deck).