"American culture is probably the hardest place in the world to learn to pray. We are so busy that when we slow down to pray, we find it uncomfortable. We prize accomplishments, production. But prayer is nothing but talking to God. It feels useless, as if we are wasting time. Every bone in our bodies screams, 'Get to work'. "
Our best times together as a family are at dinner. At home after a meal, we push our dishes aside and linger over coffee or hot chocolate. We have no particular agenda; we simply enjoy one another. Listening, talking, laughing. If you experience the same thing with good friends or with family, you know it is a little touch of heaven. When Jesus describes the intimacy He wants with us, he talks about joining us for dinner. 'Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.' (Rev. 3:20) A praying life feels like our family mealtimes because prayer is all about relationship. It's intimate and hints at eternity. We don't think about communication or words but about whom we are talking with. Prayer is simply the medium through which we experience and connect to God. Oddly enough, many people struggle to learn how to pray because they are focusing on praying, not on God."
"Consequently, a praying life isn't something you accomplish in a year. It is a journey of a lifetime. The same is true of learning how to love your spouse or a good friend. You never stop this side of heaven. There is far too much depth in people to be able to capture love easily. Likewise, there is far too much depth in God to capture prayer easily...There is not one magic bullet but a thousand pinpricks that draw us into a spiritual journey or pilgrimage."
(about finding time to pray amidst the busyness of life): "If we love people and have the power to help, then we are going to be busy. Learning to pray doesn't offer us a less busy life; it offers us a less busy heart. In the midst of outer busyness we can develop an inner quiet. Because we are less hectic on the inside, we have a greater capacity to love...and thus to be busy, which in turn drives us even more into a life of prayer. By spending time with our Father in prayer, we integrate our lives with His, with what He is doing in us. Our lives become more coherent. They feel calmer, more ordered, even in the midst of confusion and pressure."
"A needy heart is a praying heart. Dependency is the heartbeat of prayer."
"Jesus wants us to be without pretense when we come to Him in prayer."
(talking about how parents rejoice when their child reaches a milestone such as taking a first step or saying a first word): "...This is the gospel, the welcoming heart of God. God also cheers when we come to Him with our wobbling, unsteady prayers. Jesus does not say, 'Come unto me, all you who have learned how to concentrate in prayer, whose minds no longer wander, and I will give you rest.' No, Jesus opens His arms to His needy children and says, 'Come unto me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest." (Matt. 11:28)