Prayer is made of two distinct parts.
The first part is when we speak to God. We believe that God listens to us and cares about us. Honesty and modesty is an essential characteristic of this part of prayer. We often pray for others, our church, and for ourselves. The Bible tells us that we can confidently bring our concerns before God.
The second part of prayer is when God speaks to us. This is the part that we often skip; it is also the most difficult part to learn. Most of our prayers sound like this, "God thank you for X and please help Y and Z, amen." The gap between our final request and amen is non-existent. We need to learn how to pause and listen.
“Listening to God requires us to silence our hearts.”
Listening to God requires two things. First, we need to stop talking. Second, we must learn how to become silent. To stop talking is an act of humility. In a world where the loudest person wins, shutting up can seem counterintuitive. You can do it. Just shut your mouth and put down your phone. The second act of listening is far more difficult: you must learn how to silence your heart. This is not about external noise as much as it is about internal noise. Be still and know that God is in control. Let the Holy Spirit speak to you; don't take control of your inner-dialogue. Trust God and listen.
Practicing the art of listening in your prayer life will change it dramatically. Begin by silencing your mouth, your mind, and your heart today.