"Pray for what you want, but work for the things you need."
I had lunch with my wife at a restaurant that serves Chinese food. Kosher, in case you are curious. At the end of the meal she was presented with a fortune cookie. You can read what it said above. We started discussing the meaning of the message and what we thought about it.
The plain message seems to be that you need to work for what is important in life. You shouldn't expect that other people will come forward to offer what you need in your life. Beyond that, you can dream about what you would like to have, but that is not essential. For these things, prayer, i.e. blind hope is good enough.
I have a problem with this message. Actually several. Let's start. I agree that you most definitely need to work towards what you need. But, your ultimate success will be determined by God. How many sales companies tell their eager recruits some variation on the following story: "if 10% of people you phone will listen to your pitch and 2% of the total will buy your product, then Dear Recruit you can calculate how many calls you need to place everyday so that you too will earn a 6 figure income your first year with this company." Of course they don't tell their recruits why they need to post job openings in the first place. You would think that people would be breaking down their doors for an opportunity to earn this kind of money.
Neither do they their recruits that MAYBE 5% of recruits will still be working for this company in a year's time. Why will they leave? Because after breaking their heads trying to find leads, develop strategies and other attempts to bring about success, the formula will not have worked for them. Even worse, the company doesn't mind their leaving. For a minimal investment on the company's part, these recruits have scoured the market and brought the company new business, new investments, etc. Thanks Mom.
Regardless of the business, the story is the same. Procedures help, but ultimate success is not in your hands. Prayer though seems to be particularly appropriate for your greatest needs. It is both a way to connect to God and to elevate yourself into someone worthy of His blessings.
As for the things you merely want. Perhaps these are unnecessary luxuries. Perhaps not. But, do you really want to step before the King of kings and ask for something that is not so important? I don't know. Maybe that is OK. But, I would think that the emphasis should be to pray for what you need. This brings on an interesting question. I don't have the answer, maybe you have a thought. If so, please share it.
We need air to breath and food to eat. But, unless someone is suffering from difficulty breathing or was afraid while in the water, when is the last time they prayed to continue breathing. Likewise, if you are satiated do you pray to have food to eat? You may give thanks to God for your food. But, to what extent does God want us to pray to Him?
Leaving this thought unfinished and getting back to the message in the fortune cookie, I pray for the welfare of my marriage. I hope you pray for yours too. But, I must also act to constantly work on whatever issues come up in my marriage.
Likewise, when something irritates either of you or hurts your feelings, it is time to discuss what is happening to ensure that both of you will be happy and satisfied. You need to refine how you are respectful. As it is, you need to continually sit down with your spouse and discuss your marriage. This is in addition to enjoying time spent together.
Stresses and resentments that have built up over the years need to be resolved. Your marriage is a reflection of how well the two of you are coping with life and supporting each other. The health of your marriage will always be fluctuating and will require your tender loving care. And, pray for each other and your marriage.
Certainly spend more time working and praying on your marriage and for the best for each other than on the latest techno gadget on the market. Fortune cookies can be fun. But, don't be too concerned for how the cookie crumbles.