Growing up in a family where we prayed together before every meal, I thought I knew how to pray. Recently, I have valued to process and results of praying, but not in the way I ever had before.
To figure this out, it approached praying in many different ways. By experiment, I prayed different ways and for different reasons. By theory, I read different books about what makes prayer so important. By listening, I have heard many reasons from some intelligent and thoughtful people why prayer is effective.
Many people abandon prayer because, despite the songs and the lessons about it, prayers do seem to be left unanswered.
In my head, a thought forms which in turn may become a belief. I mull it over, I create entire scenarios around it, I create conversations someone may have with me about it. I am a blatant introvert. However, I have realized the evolution of my thoughts into actions or reactions.
Once I finally spit out what I had been thinking, I get yet a different angle to examine. I hold it, I twist it around, I get to see what others think. It can be entirely different from what I had originally thought it meant.
This is where prayer has recently becomes important to me. Call it meditation, talking to a therapist, or consulting with a good friend, being able to think about something on a different level is important for healing and making the right decision. By speaking out loud what has been on my mind, I can better see what I need to do. On the other end, I have heard others in their need and through no advice from me, I can see that just being able to talk it out helps.
With prayer, no one is talking back either, but I am definitely speaking out loud on some level.
I am not saying that there are unanswered prayers. Quite the opposite. God knows what he is doing and shows us the importance of prayer. And I do believe he is more than qualified to listen.