From How Can God Answer Prayer?: Being an Exhaustive Treatise of the Nature:
” The true value of prayer is that it stops people from wanting what they can’t get,” Dr. Patton goes on to apply this theory to some of the Master’s teaching about prayer. We are told to ask, to seek, and to knock.
“Imagine,” he says, “a child asking for some favor, or for the relief of some want, and standing hour after hour, repeating his requests, and being told by the father: ‘Go on asking, my child; it does you much good to ask. The longer you ask the more good it will do you. Do not expect to receive anything, however, as the principal benefit of asking is that, by and by, you will not want anything, and will cease to make any request.’ Imagine a mother seeking a lost child. She looks through the house and along the streets, then searches the fields and woods and examines the river banks. A wise neigh bor meets her and says: ‘seek on; look everywhere; search every accessible place. You will not find, indeed, but then seeking is a good thing. It puts the mind on the stretch; it fixes the attention; it aids observation; it makes the idea of the child very real. And then, after a while, you will cease to want your child.’