I've been reading Don Carson's The Call to Spiritual Reformation: Priorities from Paul and his prayers. I can't recommend it highly enough. I'm reading through it fairly slowly, taking notes, so I can really absorb what he is saying but as it is, I'll need to go back and study each prayer again as I learn to pray through them.
I've been writing down some quotes from the book and meaning to put them up here - both as an encouragement to read the book and as an encouragement to think more deeply on these things.
p. 36 - "If we 'pray until we pray', eventually we come to delight in God's presence, to rest in his love, to cherish his will."
p. 44 - "... we must look for signs of grace in the lives of Christians and give God thanks for them."
"Do we make it a matter of praise to God when we observe evidence in one another of growing conformity to Christ?"
p. 53 - "That (Paul's prayer that God would count the Thessalonian Christians worthy of their calling) means these believers must grow in all the things that please God so that he is pleased with them and finally judges them to be living up to the calling that they have received."
p. 54 - "That cannot mean less than that we should become increasingly holy, self-denying, loving, full of integrity, steeped in the knowledge of God and his word, delighted to trust and obey our Heavenly Father."
p. 56 - "The truth is that unless God works in us and through us, unless God empowers these good purposes of ours, they will not engender any enduring spiritual fruit; they will not display any life-transforming, people-changing power."
p. 59 - "To think that rebellious, self-centered mortals become children of God, increasingly mirroring his character and one day enjoying the unclouded bliss of a perfect existence in the presence of the Triune God - this could not possibly be the fruit of our own endeavours. Rather, Christ is glorified, he receives the praise that is his due as we are glorified..."
p. 60 - "...everything he has asked for is available only on the basis of grace."
p. 62 - "... at the heart of all our praying must be a biblical vision. That vision embraces who God is, what he has done, who we are, where we are going, what we must value and cherish. That vision drives us toward increasing conformity with Jesus, toward lives lived in the light of eternity, toward hearty echoing of the the church's ongoing cry, "Even so, come, Lord Jesus!" That vision must shape our prayers, so that the things that most concern us in prayer are those that concern the heart of God."