The matter of your prayer must be according to God’s will: ‘And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:’ (1 John 5:14). The favourites of heaven have no further the ear of the King of kings in prayer, than the matter of their prayer is sound, and “according to the will of God.” (Romans 8:27). The matter of your prayer must fall under some particular or general Scriptural precept or promise, or else God will never own it nor honour it with acceptance. You must not pray as Augustine prayed before his conversion; he prayed for patience, with a proviso: “Lord, give me patience,” says he, “but not yet.” Such hypocrisy is double iniquity, and God will deal with such sinners accordingly.
– Thomas Brooks