I think God is pleased with all our prayers, no matter how imperfect they may be. After all, even if we’re pretty distracted, the fact that we’re praying tells God that we care. We believe in him. We want him involved in our lives. And he’s merciful. If we take one step toward him, he’ll take ten toward us.
So if you’re praying and trying to connect with God even just once a day (more about how to do that here), you’re already doing great.
But there is a way to make our prayers more meaningful. Our attitudes make a difference. Not because God gives more grace or less grace depending on how “good” our prayer is, but because the state of our mind and heart makes a difference on how open we are to receiving that grace. Think of the simple image of a cup. You’re standing before a waterfall. The water flows on, and on, and on… ceaselessly. How much you receive depends on you, and the cup you bring with you. If your cup is full of other stuff, you can’t take as much water away with you. If your cup is empty, you can take more.
Humility – this refers simply to a realistic understanding of ourselves. This includes an awareness of the beauty in each of us as children created in the image and likeness of God. We are fearfully and wonderfully made. But flawed, so we also have to have a mature awareness of our own poverty as well. We need God. We need his grace.
Trust – we know that God’s mercy is greater than our impoverished hearts. We know God can give us the grace we need, even if it takes a miracle. We know he can heal us. We know he can strengthen us. And we approach him with the confidence that he not only can, but will because of how he loves us.
Take a glance at the gospels. Think, for example, about with the parable of the persistent widow (Luke 18:1-8) or the Pharisee and tax collector (Lk 18:13-14). God can’s resist a humble, trusting heart. So if you’re praying but still feel like something’s missing, try bringing in a little more humility and confidence. You won’t be disappointed!