...we pray for greater faith, love, holiness, wisdom, discernment, experience of God’s grace, boldness, joy in God, and less satisfaction with worldly things.
Such longings and prayers are sincere and God loves them and loves to answer them. But we do not know ourselves very well, nor the depth or pervasiveness of our sin, nor what it really requires of us in order to receive what we ask for. We can’t help but have unreal, romantic imaginations and expectations about what God’s answers to our prayers will be.
Therefore, we are often unprepared for the answers we receive from God. His answers frequently do not look at first like answers. They look like problems. They look like trouble. They look like loss, disappointment, affliction, conflict, sorrow, and increased selfishness. They cause deep soul-wrestling and expose sins and doubts and fears. They are not what we expect and we often do not see how they correspond to our prayers.