There was a high school English teacher who had a student in her class who didn't study all year. On the day of the final exam, the student came up and told the teacher he was confident he would pass the exam. The student said he had prayed every night during the past week for God's help in the English exam.
God never intended prayer to be a substitute for study. He never intended prayer to be a substitute for hard work. Receiving God's help is a two-way street. It involves cooperation with God. If we do our part, God will do His part.
St. Ignatius of Loyola describes our cooperation with God this way: "We must work as if everything depends on us but we must pray as if everything depends on God." In other words, we are to cooperate with God and make use of the ordinary means He gives us before we ask Him to intervene in some extraordinary way.
I'd like to close with the following words:
What we are is God's Gift to us.
What we make of ourselves is our gift to God.
Sincerely in Christ,