Prayer is not about prayer...just like a cell phone is not about a cell phone. A phone's primary purpose is not for itself but to serve as a conduit to connect us in relationships. If held up to our ear without engagin another person with it, we're not making it do what it's been created to do. Likewise, there are activities you can undertake that may look and feel like prayer, but they're not really prayer if God is not truly engaged.
Prayer, at its heart, is communicating with God. Reverently and openly. Sincerely. Interacting directly with the magnificent God of the universe who is really there.
What is prayer? Prayer is communion with God in order to...
1. Intimately know, love and worship Him.
Knowing Him and loving Him leads to worshiping Him. The natural response the the presence of God is worship. Honor and loving adoration. Dedication and delight. Willing submission.
2. Understand and conform our lives to His will and ways.
Prayer doesn't merely change things; it will change us. As we pray, God reveals His will and ways to us, and then starts to align our hearts and minds with His. We yield to His awesome lordship.
3. Access and advance His kingdom, power and glory.
God is unlimited in His capacity to accomplish anything. At the same time, we don't just receive these things but we seek to advance them. When we seek first His kingdom, that's when so many other things fall into place. Prayer allows us the priceless priviledge to not only know Almighty God better, but to join Him in what He is already doing among the nations for His glory.
Prayer is not about prayer. It is about a Person- God Himself. When it becomes merely about accessing the provision or protection of God rather than knowing and pleasing the Person of God, then we are getting off track. But when the one goal of our praying is to live in relationship with Him- one on One- He will cause prayer to also help us experience His purposes, His plans, His provision, His protection, and everything else He intends. All for His glory.
-Tidbits from The Battle Plan for Prayer by the Kendrick brothers. Well worth reading!