Praying for an intention is, apparently, a complicated enough business and most people I think do not know the proper procedure. I know many on this forum know what is involved but I at least didn't until recently enough, when it was explained to me by a friend at a traditional Catholic meeting, and I notice too from some, mild, criticism of what Border Collie has been saying on another thread that others are not aware of these protocols. Also I am just summarizing these points in layman's language so bear with me if I have got it a little wrong. 1) You state very explicitly your intention. I know that sounds counterintuitive, so hence I have a bad knee and I am praying about that and ask Our Lord to heal me but don't bother saying "I ask you to heal my right knee" etc, because God knows everything and obviously then why specify which knee etc? And that is where you would be wrong it seems, you have to be very very explicit. Why? Because it boils down to one of the absolute bedrock principles underlying the Christian view of God, that he always respects our free will, even in prayer. So you have to make the decision to want to heal that knee, you have to say it, exercise your free will in choosing that knee to be healed at this time, and only then can God intervene to help. 2) For similar reasons you have to be forceful and direct in asking for it. Why? Again because you are solidly asserting your free will, you cannot be too mild and vague about it because if so you are not sending this free will decision properly down the line. So you don't add in to the prayer something like well "I'd like you God to do x or y but only if You think its a good idea, if it fits in with Your plans etc" because thats sending a mixed message, a 'maybe or maybe not' thing which again is diluting your solidly made free will decision that you want x or y. God is going to do nothing in answer to a prayer which is contrary to His grand design so those kind of words are superfluous anyway but as I say weaken the effect of the prayer. 3) You must have total faith that the prayer will be answered, and to a degree it will get fulfilled in proportion to the amount of blind faith you have that it will be answered. But this amount of faith is difficult to conjure up especially if you have in your mind that 'the doctors said there was no hope' etc, you have to actually genuinely believe in the possibility of a miracle for a miracle to have any hope of happening. This is such an important point that the rule is then that you pray only once explicitly for a given intention and then after that when praying on the subject you are thanking God for answering your intention, even if in the real world you can see no sign that the prayer was answered. But nonetheless you need that kind of blind faith, as soon as the prayer was asked it was answered and thats that, every other time you are giving thanks, thats the kind of faith you need to get prayers answered. 4) You are working through the real world in seeing how prayers are answered. This issue can be illustrated by the well known story that during some flood a lady prayed fervently to God that she would be rescued. Then a knock on the door comes and its some guy from the neighborhood hoping to bring her along in trying to wade through the floods but she says no, she will wait for God to rescue her. Then she prays again and some guy with a boat asks her to jump in but no God is going to rescue her and then finally the sound of a guy speaking from a helicopter is heard asking her to tie herself to some rope etc but no she is waiting for God to rescue her. But obviously the answer is that God was working through these rescue services, it wasn't a question of being rescued by a bolt of lightning coming from heaven or whatever, she needed to keep her eyes open for the answer to her prayer to come through the real ordinary world. So thats what you do too, to receive the answer to your prayer maybe you have to do something to seize an opportunity say. Hence the healing of a person could come about by an instant miracle or maybe just by tripping across the business card of some great doctor, who knows the genuine cure of the disease. Or say you are praying about getting a job but to receive the positive answer might still mean going out and replying to another ad in the paper or whatever, you don't necessarily entirely wait for your answer to come to you in some supernatural manner, although of course that could happen too. So in otherwords there is still an element of "God helps those who help themselves" that you have to throw into the mix, it mightn't help to be too passive in praying for what you want, you have to go out and 'make it happen', as the Americans say, a bit as well. The answer to your prayer might come in the form of an extra wind at your back helping you along the road but only after you have started on the journey yourself. 5) Then finally, and maybe obviously, its a two way street here in the sense that you have to try your best to be in keeping with God's law before expecting God to help you. Of course God has regard for everybody, and all prayers are important even from the greatest sinner, but nonetheless its obviously better if you make a good effort to abide by the 10 commandments etc. Also the normal prayers, sacraments and fasting can clearly do no harm either. I have probably left out all kinds of important points but hopefully I have covered some of the areas that people would not have heard of unless 'the way to pray for an intention' was explained to them.