In his book Why Prayers are Unanswered, John Lavender retells a story about Norman Vincent Peal.
When Peale was a boy, he found a big, black cigar, slipped into an alley, and lit up. It didn’t taste good, but it made him feel very grown up…until he saw his father coming. Quickly he put the cigar behind his back and tried to be casual. Desperate to divert his father’s attention, Norman pointed to a billboard advertising the circus.
“Can I go, Dad? Please, let’s go when it comes to town.”
His father’s reply taught Norman a lesson he never forgot.
“Son, he answered quietly but firmly, “never make a petition while at the same time trying to hide a smoldering disobedience.”
- Kirk Russel
John Lavender, Why Prayers are Unanswered