Namashkar !!! Man proposes, God disposes! God knows our true needs and gives us the best in his own time. What then is the use of prayer apart from the fact that we remember Him at least on the pretext of asking for something. I mean God will anyways give us what we deserve and what we need? So why pray?
The reason is: if you pray, miracles can happen, if you don’t, they won’t.
It’s like this: God is impersonal, but He is too great to be only impersonal, as Yogananda explains. He is also very personal: He is a Father, Mother, Friend. If you don’t pray, His impersonal law will be active, which is karma. Everything then that happens is in the flow of action/reaction, cause/effect.
But there is a higher principle than the law, which is love. God, if prayed to, responds to love. He then intervenes amazingly. It’s part of His “show”, how He has set up His drama of life and creation: He enters into His own drama when He is called, loved, sincerely prayed to.
In the Autobiography of a Yogi you read: “No man lives who has not seen certain of his prayers granted.”
Of course what you say is valid too: we easily pray for things which might not be really good for us. God knows better. The way to pray, then, is “God, give me this, help me with that, if it is Your will.” If one prays for something and the prayer is not granted, then we accept the situation as coming from His hands. Swami Kriyananda actually said that he never prayed for himself, for his health for example. He said: “Divine Mother, do with this body as you like.”
But he did pray for his service, for his mission, for other people, for guidance, inspiration, for Cosmic Energy to fill him, for devotion.
The best prayer is for God-contact: “God, come to me, reveal Yourself!” With that prayer He comes sooner. Without prayer of love, without a soul-call, He will never “break His vow of silence”, as Yogananda puts it.
He actually teaches that we shouldn’t do prayers in the normal sense, supplicating. This is too weak, and not worthy of a child of God. We should do prayer-demands. All of our prayers should be determined demands from a child whose birthright is everything the Father has. Especially this kind of prayer has to be a demand: “You have put me in this trouble, and I didn’t ask for it, I never asked to be created. I am Your child, and You have to free me, now!” Listen to Yogananda on a recording, how he prays. No supplication there, for sure, but a lot of determined love!
He tells us (in Essence of Self-Realization): “God doesn’t need from us carefully contrived theological definitions. And He doesn’t want prayers that are chiseled to perfection lest they give offense to His imperial ears. He wants us to love Him in all simplicity, just like children.”
God bless you and your spontaneous prayers of love, jayadev