I've been trying to teach my young children the importance of praying about everything. Whether they are not feeling well one day or if they're needing help understanding something with their school work, prayer needs to be their first line of defense.
If we pray for healing, it will be to be of better service to God. But if we stay sick, we will strive to honor God through it. If we pray for a job, it will be to use our position and resources to build his kingdom and not our own. But if we can't find a job, we will use our time and struggles to glorify God. No matter what we're praying about, we will put God first in everything. All prayer should lead us to him.
Psalm 66:19 says, "But certainly God has heard me. He has given heed to the voice of my prayer."
Why we pray influences what we pray for. If we pray primarily to get what we want, then our prayers will become selfish and short-sighted, serving only our interests. But if we pray to know God and to glorify God, then our prayers will put God right where he belongs--at the center of things. This means we will pray for those things that honor and make God happy, even if we are praying for our own needs.
I had seen a bumper sticker on a car the other day that read: Prayer Changes Things. And while that is true, I'll take it step further: prayer changes me and then I change things!