Back in the day, we taught our kids to pray the Lord's Prayer in Sunday School. We had specific times in service when we'd all pray it corporately. Some of us even learned to break down the Lord's Prayer into segments that really describes how it is we 'work through' prayers to God by following the pattern laid out in that prayer. Most of us really don't know 'how to pray' - we just wing it. We might have memorized a few prayers when we were growing up, able to recite them verbatim now, but is that really prayer? I think God is most 'impressed' with our simple sharing of our hearts and souls with him, not the big words we might memorize, the 'pattern' we might follow, or the 'corporate' recital of a few verses. He is more interested in making that 'connection' with us.
We do not know how to pray as we should. But the Spirit himself speaks to God for us, even begs God for us with deep feelings that words cannot explain. God can see what is in people’s hearts. And he knows what is in the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit speaks to God for his people in the way God wants. (Romans 8:26-27)
As interested as he is in that 'connection', we still struggle with this concept of prayer because we make it something that is not. We try to fit our need into some neat little packaged prayer and expect that we will somehow feel 'connected' with God as we do. If we were totally honest with each other here, we don't usually feel that 'connection' in the 'canned prayers' as much as we do when we just share whatever is on our heart, in our own words, sometimes complete with tears or agonizing groans. Honestly, we don't know how to pray as we should! Isn't that what scripture just showed us? We need the Spirit of God within us to help us express those deep feelings that our 'words' cannot explain.
If we approach prayer with this in mind, we won't get so 'down' on ourselves when we find it hard to share our words. We will allow the Holy Spirit of God within us to begin to share those words on our behalf. That may come in the form of tears or groans, as I already mentioned, or even in words we may not understand, but totally realize as words the Holy Spirit is speaking through us (what some refer to as their 'prayer language'). Either way, the 'words' we could not find are somehow conveyed in a heart-to-heart connection with our heavenly Father. Prayer is all about the connection - not that we get the words right!
The good news is that God can see what is in our hearts, so when we are doing a very 'inadequate' job of expressing what is deeply seated there, he already knows and finds ways to help 'coax' those things out of us in a way that is totally beyond the 'canned' prayers. We don't need to feel our words are not eloquent or that they aren't really expressing all we'd like to say because God knows specifically what is there and what we are attempting to say. God knows our hearts, but he also knows the mind of his Spirit within us. When those two things connect, wondrous things begin to happen. Isn't it about time we start allowing our heart to be expressed and God's mind connected with our needs? Just askin!