"You do not have because you do not ask." (James 4:2)
That's pretty clear. James doesn't beat around the bush...burning or otherwise.
But if you're being honest...and if you're anything like me...you might be thinking right about now, "I've asked plenty, but a lot of those prayers have gotten me zilch."
Well, James has a verse that covers that pretty well, and it's the very next one: "You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures."
Yep. You got me there. I pray for my bank account (so we can eat out more often). I pray for my Beloved's health (so she'll feel well enough to do things with and for me). I pray for the people on our church's list of requests so I won't feel guilty and so others will think I'm a great elder.
I'm pretty much like the mortal in this F Minus comic, by Tony Carillo:
While the metaphor of God being a genii can only go so far, and probably shouldn't even go that far, the point is that here we are...with direct access to Someone with "phenomenal cosmic power"... and we spend our time asking for physical health and financial wealth.
How about things like "make me a positive peace-maker in my contentious workplace"? What about "make Yourself real to my atheist friend" or "help our church to change our neighborhood"?
Truth is...I want to be an instrument in Your hands, Yahweh. Forgive me for not thinking big enough, for not dreaming in Technicolor, and for making You small enough to fit in my tiny box. Unleash Yourself upon a sick and dying world...and if You want to use me to do that, here I am.