Augustine’s first principle is that before you know what to pray for and how to pray for it, you must become a particular kind of person. “You must account yourself ‘desolate’ in this world…”
We must see that our heart’s loves are “disordered,” out of order. Things we ought to love third or fourth are first in our hearts. God, whom we should love supremely, is someone we may acknowledge but whose favour and presence is not existentially as important to us as prosperity, success, status, love, and pleasure.
Unless at the very least we recognise this heart disorder and realise how much it distorts our lives, our prayers will be part of the problem, not an agent of our healing…It won’t heal our hearts by reorienting our vision and helping us put things in perspective and bringing us to rest in God as our true security.
Timothy J. Keller, Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God (United Kingdom: Hodder & Stoughton General Division, 2014), 84 – 85.