Just recently, I received a request from a dear daughter in the faith regarding prayer and God's will. She asked for references regarding:
". . . Why we pray, how can we pray confidently though many people pray and never see their prayers answered. Is it just a balancing act between praying with confidence but trusting in the Lord and believing if He doesn't answer what we asked that it wasn't His will and we can know it was not answered for a good reason?"
Good questions, and I think very common among many well-seeking believers. Let me give my answer to her since there's nothing in it too personal to share.
Let me suggest that your description of prayer may be a bit too utilitarian. In other words, it seems as though prayer becomes a means unto an end, when it can and may be a greater means of communion with your God. The means IS the end. When you read of Enoch or Abraham, David or Daniel, it doesn't come across that they asked for stuff all the time. They DID ask for stuff, as should we. But it's more than that. Why say this? Because it seems that one may "give up" on prayer once they get the hint that maybe their request is being ignored or even denied! But that would be a shame since sitting in the presence of Jesus trumps any activity or answer! Concerns about confidence or His willingness to answer, or trusting God will dissipate in light of the sunshine of glory in which you will live. Pray expectantly (Mark 11:24), yes. Also, pray persistently (Luke 18:1ff).Tomorrow: Why did this happen to me?
Much could be said about why some "never" get their prayers answered, if they're on "praying ground," or sin inhibits, etc. Knowing God better will often preempt your need to know if something is His will. God often wants us to keep praying for the beneficial intimacy we'd gain. Many cut their praying short and so miss out on this unbelievable connection to their Savior.
I'll stop here though there's much more to discuss. I'll let you process this if needed. Let me know your thoughts. OK?
Grace abundant to you.