I'm grieved when I hear people talk about God as if He were some distant immovable object to be assaulted by our prayers until He somehow, yet unwillingly, changes His position. Sort of some celestial rock/blob that must be moved.
I'm pretty sure that prayer is supposed to be an intimate conversation among shareholders in the family business. The Father's business - as it's been explained to me - is the expansion of His influence of blessings and reconciliation in the world. We call it The Kingdom, since that is the space where what God the Father wants done is actually done. The "bottom line" of the Kingdom business ledger is in several columns: People Blessed, Lives Changed, People Healed, Dreams Revived, New Partnerships Floated, etc.
We spend time chatting in our daily quiet time. I drink coffee and read from The Book - The Family Story. Reading The Book helps me understand how the family related to their world and circumstances in the past. I read how my ancestor David sang songs to the Father. I read how my spiritual relative Isaiah listened to the the Father and knew how Jesus was coming to suffer as a servant both for The Family and also for those who were not family-members.
My elder brother, whom I love and admire paid a big price for the business to open up a new market in the earth. He flung open the doors! He is my example. He listened to what Father said and watched what Father did and followed Father's instruction to a "T." Great results, but at a great price.
Because of what Jesus did, I am part of the family today. I was born of the Spirit and adopted in all at the same time.
And when Father and I chat, as the son responsible for a small part of the business/Kingdom, I make requests that are useful to the part for which I have responsibility. I express needs. I express hopes. I express aspirations. I ask The Father show me where he wants me to go. I ask Him to assist me in getting there and ask Him to talk to those I'm going to be with before hand so that we're on the same page.
Often He reminds me of places, people and ideas we have previously discussed. (I forget things He says! And things written in The Book! Yikes! Why is that? How dumb...) I ask Him to open doors - that only He can open - so that I might walk through them. I ask Him to help me network with the people He's chatting with already. I ask Him to guide me with His Father-presence wherever I am and whatever I'm doing. And I remind Him that I'm working to do this for Him and not for me.
Because He is my Father and we work together and because I love Him, I serve Him. I want to be useful to Him and His personal desires as well as the business goals we have. I do labor, I do work, but not as some employee or servant. I labor as a son with a vested interest in the business. When I succeed, the business succeeds; when the business succeeds, I am successful.
I attempt to anticipate His wants and desires in advance. Not because I'm afraid of His wrath, but because I my only real fear is that I might displease Him with an attitude, motive or action.
Prayer is about a chat, an on-going conversation about the things that are on my heart and the things that are on His heart.