Do you ever feel like your prayers aren't going anywhere?
Oh man, Maybe this sounds weird, but I feel that way quite often and it's definitely frustrating! I had been through a couple of rough patches, and I must say - I've prayed some desperate prayers and it just didn't seem like anything except the ceiling was hearing me.
My prayer life has changed vastly over the past couple of years. I was really convicted by a study I read on the prodigal son. It said something like this: the prodigal does not ask the father to forgive him, but merely lays his sin (Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you) in front of the father knowing full well he deserves judgment. It's the earnestness and lack of request that actually displays the depth of his repentance. He has surrendered himself to the father. Even in repentance, rather than saying, "Father, forgive me!" I find myself gravitating more and more to "Father, I've sinned against you," I looked at my prayer life and saw that it was flooded with so many asks. Of course, asking, requesting, and depending on the Lord for things is definitely a good thing, but if I was to enter into a true relationship with God, how could my communication with Him mainly be via requesting things of Him?
So, rather than asking, I tend to give Him a report of my day and my heart. Perhaps there was something to celebrate, or there was something stressing me out, or maybe I was unfaithful that day - I would tell God those things and tell Him how I felt about it. I would tell Him how angry or sad or desperate I was, and much of those times, it still seems like I'm speaking to an empty room! It's hard to explain, but ever since I felt convicted to try to remove my asks, my heart or my soul would remember how big God is and how immense His love for me is, and at that moment, I would feel so small and so still, but so safe. I guess you could call it making myself vulnerable to Him in prayer. I really do believe God cares about how I feel and wants to hear from my lips the things that are in my heart. There are only a handful of times I can testify to hearing the voice of God, but I do know that God's presence is tangible, and when I surrender my life and my heart to Him in prayer, He most definitely responds.