Let us not merely say, “To work is to pray,” but “Pray that we may work.”
We must come to know and love God, the sum and substance of all spiritual life, or it is idle to talk of loving man or doing anything for him. We must have, to give. We must drain from an eternal fountain, from a well that never becomes dry, in order to water the smallest garden or plot of ground.
Now, in order to have a real energy of spiritual life, we must have actual [contact] with God himself. To think about him, to meditate upon his works and ways, is one thing; to commune with him, another. And to commune with him, we must have something to say to him; and that something must be something out of our actual life, something which really interests us, not something which we think ought to interest us. We must say to God something we wish to say, and not something we think we ought to say. Our prayer … must be the “soul’s sincere desire.” Therefore, God, in order that men may come into real communion with him and so receive real vital energy,– faith, love, peace, joy,– has ordered it so that we may speak to him of our real wants, and of all of them, and by an earnest petition do something towards realizing those wants.
– James Freeman Clarke, The Christian Doctrine of Prayer, 1890
Delight thyself also in the LORD;
and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.
The Bible, King James Version
Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me,
and I will hear you.
The Bible, Revised Standard Version