Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:9-10 NIV).
Prayer is not meant to change God's mind, but to change ours. Prayer aligns our thinking with God's will. When we begin our prayer with praise, we take the focus off of ourselves and put it on God. When we pray for God's will to be done, we take the focus off of our desires and put it on God's desires for our lives.
Jesus taught His disciples to pray, "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven." For those who recite what we've come to know as the Lord's Prayer on a regular basis, it is very important that we never take those words for granted or say them flippantly. It is the cornerstone, the focus, and the ultimate purpose of prayer. Jesus himself prayed for God's will to be done. In the Garden of Gethsemane, just before his arrest, Jesus prayed, "Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me." His prayer was so intense, capillaries burst and droplets of blood trickled down his forehead. And yet, as much as He would have welcomed redemption in any other way than the cross, Jesus prayed,
"yet, not my will, but yours be done," (Luke 22:42).
I am so thankful that God has not answered each of my requests with a "yes." My life would be much different than it is today - and I don't mean for the better. How thankful I am for my Heavenly Father Who knows what's best for me! He has plans that are "above and beyond all that we ask or think" (Ephesians 3:20) and in order to hear God speak through prayer, we must allow ourselves to think beyond our limited knowledge, to see beyond our limited vision, and to believe beyond our limited understanding.
Prayer turns our focus toward God and allows Him to rearrange our priorities and set our agenda. It is more than unloading our burdens and enumerating our desires. Prayer is more than telling God what we want. It is asking God what He wants.