Prayer begins with an awareness of God's presence (or apparent absence) in our life. There are times when we are fully aware of God's presence and our need for God's help; it is generally easy to pray at those times. At other times, we may need to intentionally make an effort to become more aware of God's presence and our need for God's help; once we do that, prayer will flow more naturally and easily.
All prayer is a combination of listening and responding, but there are many types of public and personal prayer. Some types fit one person's personality or spiritual needs better than another's. For instance, if you are a very active, talkative person, you may find it more natural to develop a style of verbal prayer which includes traditional prayers and spontaneous prayer. If you are more reserved or reflective, you may find it more natural to develop a style of reflective prayer, which includes forms of meditation and contemplation. Creative persons may use art or music as a form of prayer. As a general rule, you will find prayer much more natural and less burdensome if you develop a style of prayer which fits your personality as well as your spiritual needs.
As in any other relationship, how often we express the awareness of our relationship to God in prayer will depend upon each individual and the circumstances of our lives. Learning to pray better does not always mean learning to pray more. The quality of our prayer is more important than the quantity, or even the frequency, of our prayer.
Keep in mind, however, that God is the other “person” in this relationship, and God may be waiting to speak to you when you're not paying attention.
• If you wish to grow in prayer, choose a good friend, pastor, pastoral staff person or spiritual guide who can help you learn more about different styles of prayer and can help you discern what style of prayer works best for you. Or, explore and choose a prayer group whose style of prayer works well for you.
• Explore Your Prayer Style
• Guide to Types of Personal Prayer
• Local Opportunities for Public Prayer and Devotions
• Information About Spiritual Direction