What is prayer but a simple conversation? It is not a sales pitch, or a speech. It is no more than both talking and listening to God. In talking one might ask advice, say “please” or “thank you” or exclaim praise or wonderment, and sometimes even express anger. It is asking for instruction, or replying that a task is done. Prayer need not be formal, prayer can be simple as a thought, they need not contain a single word. Sometimes the best prayers occur in silence when you think a thought, and listen for a response. The quiet listening often is the most important part of prayer, it also is the most forgotten. To listen is to hear the response to those cries, and pleas, and petitions. When one asks “Lord, what should I do now?” it is foolish not to listen to the response. A response is an Angel, those messages from God.
Jesus said to his disciples:
“In praying, do not babble like the pagans,
who think that they will be heard because of their many words.
Do not be like them.
Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
Interesting is that prayer Jesus gave us. Short easily remembered and complete. What more does one need than the Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory be. Strung together they are the foundation of a complete prayer life. They can serve as the introduction, to set a tone for a personal petition, or prayed as a rosary complete with meditations as the tool of a formal and structured prayer life. Those structured prayers are not the end in themselves , but merely a beginning in learning to talk to God.
As this is Lent, should I also mention that prayer is one of the foundations of Lent. Prayer, Fast, and giving Alms.