Someone gave us a book called "Effective Prayer Life" by Chuck Smith. I loved what I read today...
"Only by denying yourself, taking up your cross, and follwing Jesus Christ do you recieve access to the powerful promises of God regarding your prayers."
When we are denying ourselves and following after Jesus Christ we will not pray for things that are self-pleasing. Denying oneself causes us to become other's centered. Our prayers will be in line with the Father because we will be seeking His heart.
For example and to be honest:
I have a tendency to pray for my children to obey because when they do so it makes my ministry easier--instead, I need to pray for obedience because it pleases the Father.
When we are in public I pray for my kids to be respectful and polite. But, many times the prayers are self focused, because respectful and polite kids make me look like a good parent. Rather, I need to pray for my kids to be respectful and polite because it pleases the Father.
I long to be dead to self but alive to Christ. There is still a lot more daily denying that needs to go on.
Oh, my patient and loving Savior, thank you for striving with me.