SnoopyFan has beaten me to the relevant cites, and while I was visiting his (her?) home state. I frequently ask God for things; in fact, I’m asking Him for the right words to say right now. To demand that He do our will, rather than His, to me is arrogant. To blame Him for our own laxness or foolishness is wrong, but to say, “Hey God, I’ve got a long drive home, and I’m kind of tired, so if You could keep an eye out for me and the other drivers, I’d appreciate it,” is, to me, acknowledging a relationship which already exists.
My Wiccan friends speak of “energy” which can be directed and shaped by human will. I realize I’m getting into airy-fairy New Age type stuff here, but I’ve felt a sort of energy, both in formal prayer during a church service and in private prayer. What I know of Christianity doesn’t have the right words to explain this, but, again, to me, prayer is a way of taking some of that “energy”, if you will, or some of my will and seeking to blend it with and mold it to God’s Will. It is also acknowledging the superiority of God’s Will to mine: “Not my will, but Thine be done.”
Jesus not only prayed, he instructed us to and told us how to (Hah! You missed one, SnoopyFan!;)) in Matthew 6 which includes the Lord’s Prayer. That, in turn, includes the line, “Give us this day our daily bread.” When I was an arrogant teenager, I thought that line was very presumptous, for who were we to ask God to give us for free that which we were supposed to be able to go out and earn. Life, uncertainty, and hard times have subsequently taught me that having one’s “daily bread” or bare necessities is rather important, and there is no sin in asking God for them.
Crafter_Man, I believe you mentioned you had children. Would you truly be happy if they never asked you for anything, even if they did so because they knew you were a loving father who willingly provides for them? Why then, would God be unhappy if His children ask Him for something?