Should we pray for things that are within our control or that we can accomplish ourselves (e.g. working harder, being more patient, or being more disciplined)?
Many years ago, a South African immigrant to America (Rabbi Daniel Lapin’s mother, to be specific) asked a friend to pick up some strawberry jelly for her at the store. When the friend delivered the requested jars of jelly, the immigrant was confused. She was actually asking for a Jello type dessert mix, but in America jelly means something quite different.
Among the words prone to misunderstanding, prayer ranks rather high. We are often exposed to the idea of praying to God as children, yet what exactly we are doing needs constant refinement and growing awareness as we mature.