...it has more to do with God's talking to me than my talking to God; it has more to do with my being bended to conformity to God's inscrutable Will than with God's doing stuff that I request. Even though intercession is a valid function of prayer, this function is way down on the list, below adoration, praise, thanksgiving, and pleas for forgiveness. If all I do is ask God for stuff (even good stuff!), my prayer life is seriously deficient.
Yeah what he said.
My dad has a t-shirt that says "PUSH Pray Until Something Happens". I inwardly cringe every time I see him wearing it. Partly because it brings to mind Jesse Jackson's shake down group the Rainbow Push Coalition. Partly because I know people will assume the shirt means "Pray Until What You Want Happens".
Now I know dad knows better than to think that praying is about getting stuff or that the "something" that happens will be what he wants to happen. The story of David and Bathsheeba immediately comes to mind. When their son was dying David prayed until something happened. The something that happened was the death of David's son. I'm pretty sure that that was not what David wanted to happen. Dad's a smart guy when it comes to this kind of stuff. But not everybody is. Too many Christians see God as their cosmic sugar daddy* who will give them their heart's desire if they can sweet talk him just right and if they have enough faith.
Prayer's not about what you do or don't get. I think it's safe to say that the vast majority of prayers recorded in the Bible are not people asking for things. They're about God.
*I'm pretty sure that I saw someone else somewhere mention the God as sugar daddy concept but I don't remember who, what, when, or where. If you do let me know.