Jesus gave us an insight into prayer - but you have to read to the very end to see what He says we should ask for:
"And, I tell you, ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. What Father among you would hand his son a snake when he asks for a fish? Or hand him a scorpion when he asks for an egg? If you, then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in Heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?" (Luke11: 9-13.)
Luke's version is different from Matthew's. Luke adds that twist: we can be certain that God will answer our prayers when we ask for the gift of the Holy Spirit. Because asking for the Holy Spirit is the most important request we can make. The Holy Spirit is a Gift and a Gift-Giver, the Gift that keeps on Giving.
The Gift and Gifts of the Holy Spirit are the Foundation for good relationships and good decisions. These Gifts will teach us how to interact with others,- how to speak, how to choose, how to give, how to act - so that all the decisions and relationships in our lives will grow and prosper with us.
And everyday, we need to ask for different spiritual gifts from the Holy Spirit. One day, we may need to ask for the Gift of Courage, because we'll be walking into an important meeting, or discussing something important with our husband or wife, and we know we need courage to speak what's really on our mind. We also ask for the Gift of Wisdom, so we'll know how to say what we need to say - Prudently. And the Gift to speak the Truth in Love.
Another day, we know we'll be spending time with a difficult person, so we need to ask for the Gift of Patience. And also we need to ask for the Gift of Love, so we can see this person through God's eyes, and the Gift of Understanding to see his or her inherent dignity and worth.
If we are grieving, we can ask, over and over, for the Gifts of Faith and Hope so that we trust God's Word about eternal life.
If we need to talk to someone who is hurting, we can ask for the Gift of Healing so our words and actions will be healing balm for the others' mind and soul - and some of us have the Gift of Healing for others' bodies as well.
If we feel overly-burdened, anxious, fearful, we can ask for the spiritual Gifts of Peace and Joy which flow from a deeper and deeper trust in God - that He loves us and everything is in His Hands - and He is always at work for our good. These Gifts are our Anchors to hold us steady during emotional storms.
If we are peaceful within, we will also be peaceful on the outside, in our relationships. What also leads to inner peace is the Spirit's Gift of Forgiveness and Reconciliation: forgiving ourselves, forgiving others, building bridges of peace and forgiveness between others.
If daily, we center our hearts in prayer, look honestly at our spiritual needs, and ask God to supply what we lack, we will walk forward into our daily lives with increased confidence in God - and in ourselves.