It's no wonder our praying gets a bit self-centered. From the earliest days, children are taught the following prayer:
Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray, dear Lord, my soul to keep,
If I should die before I wake,
I pray, dear Lord, my soul to take.
We pray for our happiness, our health and our homes and then we pray for those same things for others close to us. All too often, we never stop to think about what God wants. It's all about what we want Him to do for us.
May I suggest that perhaps prayer isn't about getting what we want? If you're thinking, "Why else would I pray?", maybe you can take a look with me at the prayer Jesus used as a model, often called The Lord's Prayer:
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil:
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
The first thing I notice about Jesus' prayer is there aren't any "mes". The requests that are made are sandwiched in between praise to the Father and an affirmation that all requests be according to the Father's will.
Let's look at those requests. There is a simple request for the needs of the day (bread, not cake and daily bread not enough to fill the pantry or freezer). There is a request for forgiveness and enablement to forgive others. This is not a self-centered request when you think of how your flesh resents making an apology! The prayer even goes a step farther in asking for God's power to keep us from needing forgiveness in the first place!
I don't see any of the typical "Help us to have a good day" and "Keep us healthy" prayers that I often pray. Is it any wonder we sometimes don't feel as though we're touching Heaven with our prayers when most of them are begging God for our own temporal comfort?