Prayer is not so much a matter of persuading God to accept our will concerning a matter as of our discovering His will with respect to it. He knows what is best for us. In contrast, we are often but dimly conscious of our own need. We frequently think we need things that we do need and that may even be harmful to us; conversely, we may not even be aware of our greatest needs (cf. COL 145). Prayer will bring our wills, and thus our lives, into harmony with the will of God (see COL 143). The true purpose of prayer is not to work a change in God, but to work a change in us so that we desire “both to will and to do of his good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13).
Sometimes answer to prayer may be delayed because a change must come about in our own hearts before God can answer it. There are definite conditions to answered prayer, and if there seems to be delay, we should inquire whether the difficulty may be with us. It is an insult to God to be impatient with Him when we have not complied with the conditions under which it is possible for Him to answer prayer.