Prayer is sometimes difficult for me. I struggle with praying for certain outcomes that would make my life easier. I like to pray about changing behaviors in other people or the situations they face. I pray and ask God to bless the difficult people in my life so that they become less of a bummer to be around. I've prayed long hours about situations in the world but often with no result. So, I get disappointed when things don't go the way I wish, hope or intend. The temptation to question whether prayer is important or matters at all seeps into my mind.
Maybe prayer is more than 'talking to God.' The image of Forrest Gump rambling on about life seated on a park bench comes to mind. Like Forrest, we are so tempted to ramble on about things in our lives. It's often difficult to listen to someone go on and on about their life with no real point. I can only imagine what God may go through with all of humanity on a daily basis.
What if God longs for something greater from us? What if our prayer life could be more than our machinations about life and our pursuit of personal happiness? It wasn't until I began to truly understand my prayer life with God as a two-way street that I found my prayers had impact. I had to learn to discipline myself to spend more time listening and less time talking to God. So, why not try it? Start listening for God in simple, practical and ordinary ways. Slow down your pace. Breathe deeply. Quiet your mind. Listen.
My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. -John 10:27 NIV