Sometimes as simple and accessible as prayer really is, it seems daunting and elusive. When I began my journey in Christ I remember wondering, Is God really listening to what I pray? Why do my prayers matter, out of the billions in this world? Why do I need to pray if God already knows what happens? Can I change His mind? In the end, I found my answers and peace in simply trusting the Lord. The Bible says that He hears me (1 John 5:14-15) and He commands me to pray (1 Thessalonians 5:17). I've learned to trust Him so deeply that after praying for my own requests, I ultimately pray for His will to be done, because His plans are grander than my own (Jeremiah 29:11). And when I don't know how to pray for something, I tell Him just that--God knows my heart (1 Kings 8:39).
I also questioned HOW to pray. I've learned that it needs be nothing complex and formulaic. God simply longs for a relationship with you, and just as you talk to a friend, so He wants you to talk to Him. A simple trick I use to focus and feel heard is to picture Jesus sitting right in front of me, eagerly listening to my prayers. Even though I can't see Him, I know that's exactly what occurring. Based on the book Heaven is for Real, I believe this is the true image of Christ and this is the man I picture in prayer:
Amidst, all the questions you may have about prayer, here is a simple acronym that may help you view prayer in a more approachable manner. For all you left brain people, this may be especially helpful. The following acronym and descriptions come from Jeanne Zornes, emphasis added:
Praise: We're to enter his gates with thanksgiving and His courts with Praise (Psalm 100:4). Sit quietly and thank God for who He is and what He has done.
Repent: A sober reminder comes from Psalm 66:18: "If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened." A spiritual cleansing is needed in order to comes nearer to the throne of God.
Access: We're not telling God anything new--"All my longings lie open before you, O Lord; my sighing is not hidden from you" (Psalm 38:9). Even so, He gives us access to talk to Him about out needs and frustrations.
Yield: The fact that we have brought our prayer list before God indicates our trust that He will, in His time, and His way, show us the way we should go (Psalm 143:8).