I was recently discussing prayer with my 16 year old son and he mentioned that he has found himself saying the same things over and over again in his personal prayers, which seemed silly and un-spiritual to him. He felt he was getting nothing out of these repetitious prayers and that the Lord was probably not happy with them either. His remedy for that was to simply stop saying any more personal prayers until he had something important to say. Sort of like telling the Lord that no news is good news.
I was a little alarmed by this and didn’t know what to say. Having repetitious, not-particularly-spiritual prayers is a common problem, and one I’ve never really been able to solve on a permanent basis. It happens to everyone at one time or another, right? But the answer is probably not to just quit praying, it’s probably to try harder to find the connection with the Spirit that will allow you to pray with real meaning. But I’m not sure how to do that.
What I eventually told him just came out of the air. I don’t know if it was inspiration, or just an idea, but I told him to just stop talking. He said he had already stopped praying. I said, no, don’t stop praying, just stop talking. Stop repeating the same worn out things you always say and just don’t say anything. He asked what exactly he would be doing then. I told him to just think about what he might want to talk about with the Lord.
Think about your problems and the things you’re grateful for and the things you need help with and think about what, if anything, the Lord might want you to talk about. If something then comes to mind that you need to say, then say that, but otherwise, just close your prayer and move on. That will have a lot better chance of connecting with the spirit than just repeating the same things over and over again, and it’s sure a lot better than not praying at all.
He said he would try that. What do you think? What is your remedy for this problem?