Steve McVey posted the following video on prayer which is part of his 101 Lies Told in Church Every Sunday series. I found it to be a very good teaching to help me understand prayer.
Prayer has become nothing more than a way of manipulating God to give us what we want. All sorts of teachings have developed to teach us how to pray to get results. We quote scripture to God to remind him of his promises. We use the name of Jesus like a talisman or good luck charm. We believe that he's holding out on us and has to be forced to give up the goods. What an awful picture religion has painted of God.
Jesus said that it's Father's pleasure to give us the kingdom. He's not holding out on us. To be quite honest, I'm not really sure why some prayers that seem to line up with scripture are not answered in the way that scripture says they would be but there is no question in my mind that he loves us and is not holding out on us.
Father's greatest desire is to have a relationship with us and prayer is one of the ways that takes place. Steve points out in the video that God is always the initiator and, when we have a dsire to pray, it's because he's put that desire in us so that we can join him in what he's doing.
I want to take my focus off of getting, getting, getting and instead learn to enjoy and experience relationship with my Daddy at a deeper. So, I join the disciples in asking, "Lord, teach us how to pray."