I know someone who teaches a class where a recent assignment was this: write out directions for a specific activity of the student’s choice. The following is a verbatim response, and if these directions are accurate, they help explain why my childhood prayers were answered only at the same rate that would have been expected by pure coincidence. I didn’t know the rules. 

Of course, I usually prayed for things like “please let me pass this test” or “please get me out of the junior high dance class.” When I wanted a new remote control car or chrome spinners or whatever, I wrote a letter to Santa Claus. Apparently he was the wrong guy.

How to Pray

1. Get on your knees and bow your head and body as low as you can.

2. Verbally tell God who he is (“you are the Lord almighty, the healer, the provider”)

3. Humble yourself and lift up his name. (put yourself down and put the Lord on a pedestal)

4. Give him praise for all the things he has brought you and will bring you and you loved ones.

5. Ask him to forgive you and your family for all of your wrong doings and ask him to guide you in how to forgive others.

6. Ask him to bless you with a strong spirit and for him to guide you to know right from wrong.

7. Pray for him to teach you and your family to overcome temptation.

8. Thank him in advance for what he is about to give you.

9. Be specific if you have a request, “Lord I want you to bless me with a brand new cherry red Chevy Malibu with 15″ Chrome spinners and a plush interior by June of next year.”

10. Listen and be still.