I've been noticing something lately about prayer. When we pray for little things that will teach big lessons, God seems to be very interested in answering with a yes. I'll give you an example. Person X has a pet missing for 3 days as of Saturday night. Person X knows I'm a pastor and asks me to pray that this pet will return. I, of course, agree to do so and ask 2 different churches to pray the next morning. Pet comes home by noon on Sunday.
Now, I've prayed for such things many times and had the hoped-for results not come about. But this time, instead of just praying for the pet to come home, I prayed that God's seemingly little action would teach a big lesson. My prayer was as follows: "God, you care about everything that we care about. Person X cares very much about this pet. If it be your will, bring this pet home. Let this person learn that you care about her concerns and, more importantly, that you're in the business of bringing the lost home. Amen."
So a new tactic in my prayer life is to try to identify how answered prayers would fit with what God wants people to know about Him. Instead of just praying for this or that, I'm praying for 'this' b/c it will prove 'that' in recognition of the fact that all things allowed into our lives can serve as part of God's plan to relate to His children.