It’s one thing to cry out to God in extremity, it’s another to offer some of the junk we offer in our prayers. I’ve used the example of the adults the the Charlie Brown TV show as an example...often. It’s just a blurting trumpet - wha, wha wha.
The kind of prayers we sometimes offer are no different than junk-mail. Don’t you hate the trash that comes in the mail (or email?). Do you, as I, take it from mailbox to trash can? Especially painful leading up to elections. ARGH!
But can’t our prayers have a similar tone? As a boy, I used to 'plug in' items to make it sound more spiritual (‘...and bless the missionaries on the foreign fields...” whatever that meant to a 6 year old). Do you have those kind of ’plug-ins’? How ‘bout grace before meals, especially away from home.
Remember who it is you are talking to. We use the word ‘Father’...or ‘Lord’, sometimes without thinking. He knows His name. We don’t talk to our friends or family that way - continually using their name, over and over again. They would have us committed. :-) Why talk to God that way, unless we don't really think He’s present and listening.
Christ had an ongoing conversation with His Father, sometimes interceding so strongly as to ‘build up a sweat’. While not calling you to start there, you and I must start somewhere.
Just talk to your heavenly Father as though He was there next to you...because He is. Keep a prayer list on your person (in an age of iPod and iPads and smart-phones, etc. it’s earlier than ever). Find times (eating by yourself?...commuting) to remember to pray...for others.
Learn good prayers from Holy Scripture and other places. I love the Book of Common Prayer because it says things I want to say, and in a better way than I could. There are so many ways to be helped in our praying.
And, there’s so much more to prayer and praying. One step at a time.