Let me share some rough thoughts on praying without expectations. I think it might end up being the very reason why we pray.
I think I share a weakness with other Christians, that I cease to pray if I do and am still tempted and sin; I fail in a venture; healing is delayed or doesn’t occur; I lack peace or face adversity. We know and are taught that we ought to pray, lest we fall into temptation. Or positively, we pray to find success in life, to be healed, to feel at peace and face life’s challenges. But, too often, I cease to pray if what I expected to “get” out of it doesn’t happen at all or in the way I desired.
What if the reason or “why” of prayer is to simply “be” with him?
Adam and Eve walked naked with God in the cool of the day, and since the Fall man has hoped to walk that way again. Maybe that’s how we ought to approach God now: naked, without pretense or preamble, devoid of any reason other than to be with him. The literal definition of God’s name is the verb “to be”. As we approach, maybe we only want to be as he is being and so in that to, perhaps, touch the essence of God. I don’t know. It’s still a mystery to me.
Have you ever been in love? Two lovers often simply “be” with one another. They can revel in the silence and presence of each other. No gifts are required. No words or activity. Just being with each other is an end in itself because the two lovers see each other as ends and not means. And so it is with God. He is the beginning and end of all that is, but often our way of prayer devalues God into a means and not an end.
We can and should often pray for something or someone. We also should greatly expect God to move when we ask for something; after all, doesn’t a good father jump at the chance to meet his child’s request? We ought to have intentions when we pray, because God wants us to trust those things to him.
But, underneath it all, we ought to pray simply because.
Jesus said give without expecting anything in return. Give and it will be given to you, pressed down, shaken together, and running over. Ask and it will be given to you, and how much more will God give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him? The foundation of all our intentions, petitions and intercessions is the giving of prayer with no expectation of return. So we ought to also pray in this way. Expecting
nothing in return other than himself.