Prayer is what enables us to follow Jesus. Following Jesus is challenging and radical, especially in the times in which we live. How can we do this without being mindful of what is going on in our lives and how God is acting in our lives? Prayer helps us focus what is essential.
When we focus on what is essential in our lives concerning time, then we will be able to make more time for prayer, study of scripture, and helping others. We find out that some things we do with our time serves no one and in some cases may be harmful. Prayer also reminds us that all we do can serve God, from cooking dinner to laundry, to letting someone in front of you on I-95. If we pray through our joys and sorrows, we will learn that God does answer.
To paraphrase Soren Kierkegaard , prayer does not change God, it changes me. Therefore, when we pray we want to change to become the persons Jesus calls to follow him and serve his Father. St. Ignatius Loyola has a beautiful prayer(see sidebar) that helps us understand that what we receive when we follow Jesus is all that we need.