What is prayer?
Prayer is two-way communication, literally a communion between you and God. Much in the same way that you communicate with a loved one by speaking and listening, so prayer is the same: you speak to Him, He responds through His Word, the Bible. God is always speaking, but we must be still enough to listen.
Then [God] said, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.
So it was, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. Suddenly a voice came to him, and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” (1 Kings 19:11-13, NKJV)
When my wife was alive, I used to read the newspaper at the breakfast table. My wife tried to get my attention so she could talk to me, but I was so busy reading that I did not hear her. Often, we are like that with God. He is always talking to us, but we are too busy or distracted to listen. Eventually God stops speaking. Whilst for others, many come to God with a Christmas list - they forget prayer is two-way. Stop speaking and listen to God for a while. If you want Him to talk to you, read His Word, the Bible.
How do we hear God speak?
The Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. (John 14:26, NKJV)
God will speak to you through the Bible. Begin reading it until the Scripture comes alive in your heart. If you are praying about a sickness, read appropriate Scriptures on healing. Use the concordance or other study aids to search His Word; God is always speaking, we just need to listen. Often God speaks through a deep impression in your heart: that is the Holy Spirit prompting you; He can also speak through the words of a praise song or the encouragement of a friend; but in all these, whatever He says will be in agreement with Biblical instruction.
Pray with simplicity
“Here’s what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense His grace.
“The world is full of so-called prayer warriors who are prayer-ignorant. They’re full of formulas and programs and advice, peddling techniques for getting what you want from God. Don’t fall for that nonsense. This is your Father you are dealing with, and He knows better than you what you need. With a God like this loving you, you can pray very simply. (Matthew 6:6-8, The Message)