Confession: I'm still struggling.
But God is faithful and has been teaching me a lot in this area.
One way the Lord has been teaching me is through my husband. The other day I was having a mini nervous breakdown because I had so much going on that day and didn't know how I was going to get through it all. I was starting to tear up and wallow in my misery when Alex stopped, held my hands, and prayed. Wow. What a shift in perspective. Instead of focusing on little ol' me and my problems I began to see who God is. He is faithful. He is sovereign. He is in control. After that, my day went smoothly. I often focus way too much on myself or others instead of on God. My immediate response to bad situations is not to pray or look to God for guidance, rather it is to freak out or get depressed. What am I communicating about God when I react like this? That He is small and incapable of helping me. That's wrong. My God is so much bigger than I am. My God is so much bigger than any problem that could come my way. And that day Alex reminded me that I should always turn to the Lord in any given situation. He is my strength.
Another way God has been teaching me about prayer is through a book I was reading last year, The Discipline of Grace by Jerry Bridges. There's one chapter where he talks about Nehemiah's prayer life. Nehemiah displayed two types of dependent prayer: planned periods of prayer and unplanned spontaneous prayer. Basically, we show our day-to-day dependence on God by daily praying to Him and we show our moment-to-moment dependence on Him by responding in prayer when unexpected events pop up. It all boils down to the fact that prayer is the tangible expression of our dependence on Him. We need to pray without ceasing.
This is what the Lord has been working on in my heart and I can only respond with gratitude in praise for His Spirit's work in my life. And then I need to pray some more for more understanding and wisdom.