When you think about it, prayer, compost, and composting have a lot in common.
Intercessory prayer is a lot like compost. We put compost around a plant to make it stronger, and that usually happens to one degree or another. It doesn’t happen all the time, and we’re not sure exactly how it happens when it does, but it is consistent enough that we do it and usually get some positive result. The same is true of intercessory prayer. We direct it at a situation that needs help and the situation (or folk’s response to it) usually improves in one way or another. We don’t know the particulars of how that happens, but we know that it happens regularly enough to make it very worthwhile.
The process of praying about our own concerns is a lot like composting. We gather things that aren’t all that useful in their own right, bring them to God, He mixes them with His wisdom, and something much more useful results. And just as compost is not an end in of itself, but only one step in the process of growing a crop, our prayers are not the end of the fruit bearing process, but a step along the way to producing what God wants from us.