I am having difficulty with my prayers. The whole matter of asking God for things is becoming so empty and unreal to me. It seems that door after door is closing upon me. Sometimes I catch myself asking, Why pray anymore? Nothing comes of my prayers. Will you help me with my problem? I am 17 years old.
I wish you had told me more about yourself and about the kind of things for which you have been asking in your prayers. However, let me give you the following, and if you need more help. you are at liberty to write again.
Christ teaches us to ask in his name (cf. John 14:13, 14). Now the Name in Scripture is identified with the character and will of the person named, so that to pray in the name of Christ means to pray with Him in mind. It means to pray within the conditions of his Kingdom, and these conditions include the fact that “the Father may be glorified in the Son” (John 14:13). We cannot appropriate the promises of Christ except on the conditions of Christ. The privileges are the privileges of the Kingdom and they presuppose conformity to those conditions. No one can say that he has conformed to those conditions unless he has committed himself to the priority that underlies them all, namely, God first in all decisions, in all requests, in all plans.
It comes down to this, that we cannot be trusted with any gift from God until we love the Giver more than his gift. Perhaps your prayers have become “unreal” because when you pray you are not asking first for God but for something less than God. Wasn’t that the tragic mistake of the Prodigal Son? He was more interested in the gifts of the father than in the father himself. He said in effect. “I don’t want you; I want something apart from you.”