For such a long time, I found prayer elusive. I think it is because I treated it like a series of checkboxes, a list of things to be completed as quickly as possible. I suppose this has to do with being taught the five-finger prayer method (praise, thanksgiving, intercession, petition, confession) at a young age. However, as my prayer life has matured, I have discovered that while, yes, that method gives you something to do and makes prayer feel achievable, it forgets about listening. For me, the importance of listening, of opening yourself to God, cannot be overstated.
The Advent Calendar, which I encourage you to use this month, focuses on Prayer on Wednesdays. Using the Advent collect for each week, it asks you to pray through that collect and then sit in silence for at least three minutes to listen for God. Granted, some people are critical of what they call “canned prayer,” that is, prayers like our collects, or even the Lord’s Prayer, for that matter, that are not extemporaneous. If, however, you are apt to that perspective, consider praying the collects, or the Psalms, as a way of bridging time and praying with the saints, all those who have prayed those words before, and those who will pray them in the future.