Yesterday I stopped at Home Depot to check out some baseboard molding for our bedroom. I looked over the options and walked out empty-handed. Because I had neglected to measure the room beforehand. Before a remedy can be applied, the problem needs to be assessed, which in this case means, the room needed to be measured.
How often I have approached God with a general "I need this from you" mentality, but without having done the prior work of actually measuring out the situation so that I can come before him with specific prayers. When I live a generalized Christian life, too often I leave the heavenly Home Depot empty-handed.