The other night I asked my husband, "What about all those prayers we pray that are not in the will of God? Like when I pray for something that doesn't happen, or I pray to prevent something that ends up happening. How am I to understand this?"
He began to speak of our daughter when she was a child. She would always ask Daddy to carry her up the hill to the house from the car, even long after she was too big to be carried. Daddy didn't always carry her, but still in asking she was expressing love and dependence on a father whom she knew cared for her above all else and fulfilled her needs as a father. In simply asking she was acknowledging the father role and her relationship to it.
When we ask our Abba Father to carry us we may have to walk up the hill ourselves, but we express our love for Him in asking even for the unreasonable. Our asking is an expression of faith and dependence on Him. That has to warm our Father's heart!
The other day I prayed before rowing that God would not let me fall in the water. That day I had my first fall in the water. It was my birthday, and as my boat folded me into the water as gently as egg whites into batter, my mind was screaming, "But it's my birthday! It's my birthday! No, no no!"
At first I concluded that my prayer was out of harmony with God's will, until I remembered that I'd also prayed for God to build me as a rower. When I fell in the water I had to learn to get back in the boat, no mean feat. My prayers were in conflict with one another, and God in His infinite wisdom chose which was the best prayer to answer.