Standard Sunday School Curriculum - the prayer acronym:
ACTS - Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication (and Intercession)
I have to start this with a disclaimer. I fully believe in the existence and personal nature of God and Christ. I wish to be the best person that I can be, living under God's grace and guidance. But that being said, I'm sorry to say that I've never understood the point of prayer. Some people I know are considered great prayer warriors, and I admire that, but I doubt I'll ever be one, because I still don't know what it's for. And I barely know what it is.
Prayer is talking to God. Ok - I've got that much. But if it's a memorized limerick, like the graces often said before meals, is that really prayer? How much do you have to "feel" it before you're actually praying? The old adage of "talking to the ceiling" really does ring true a lot of the time for me. And how much content does prayer have to hold? Can I just "feel" something that I want to share with God? Is that prayer? There's less chance I can make a dumb or selfish statement if I only let God know how I feel, and not what I think He should do about the matter, but then that's not really "talking".
And as for the point? God already knows everything I have to say. I understand that God may still like me to confess to Him, but God knows my heart and intentions. Why is the lip service of an official "here's what I did wrong and I apologize" report to God necessary? Intercessory prayer is even more mystifying. Just because I pray for something doesn't mean it's going to happen. God isn't a vending machine. So, ok, it's akin to asking for something like I'd ask my mom or dad? But how then are we supposed to pray and claim healing for someone if we don't know the answer? And why bother to pray for God's will? God's will is going to happen whether I pray for it or not. Claiming promises is a different matter, I think - needing to ask for the fulfillment of promises makes a little more sense, though I wonder whether God wouldn't fulfill His promises despite my lack of communication.
The adoration and thanksgiving parts of prayer I think I understand in a way, but they are acts of worship, and their focus is to bring glory to God, not to help us. What of all the rest of it?
As far as intercessory and confessional prayer goes, the only points I see are practical. They help me get my thoughts in order and my head on straight. And sometimes I can convince myself it's actually a conversation, because a little voice in my head starts chiding me for thinking this way or for doing that, or encourages me there. Is that prayer, even if I've only vaguely invited God to listen in? It certainly wouldn't even be possible to pray these out loud, which would seem to make public prayer impossible.
If prayer is aimed at building a relationship between a person and God, can I just ditch the parts I don't see the point to? It confuses me more than strengthens the relationship... Yet Jesus did demonstrate to us how to pray....
Also, are blessings prayer?
I think I'm supposed to know this stuff by my age.
“Sometimes it is better to light a flamethrower than curse the darkness.” Terry Pratchett