We have it built into us that we need to be in control. That we need to have our act together, to have our messes cleaned up. Maybe not completely; but to a degree at least. For then God will hear, and then He may be pleased to help.
But this is not how it works; in fact, it may be the direct opposite of what is true. How we need to learn to put off our airs of self-sufficiency, and become as little children. When little children are in need, it just spills out all around. Through tears, through their complete neediness. Immediately. Not after an hour or more of trying to put themselves together. But right at the moment. And all through Scripture, we are encouraged to come to Jesus as little children. Just to come right at the moment of our need.
The daily moment-by-moment life of prayer, this breathing of prayer - comes through a door of neediness. A neediness that recognizes that we need God. Every moment.
"Learned desperation is at the heart of a praying life."
(Paul Miller, A Praying Life)
"Apart from Me, you can do nothing."
Self-sufficiency does not make us wiser. We become the wiser as we become more aware of our own neediness. And through the trials of this life, through the lessons that we learn, God so gently and graciously brings us to places of need, where we find ourselves in desperate need of Him. For when we are in need, we find ourselves in the place of constant prayer.
"If we think we can do life on our own,
we will not take prayer seriously."