As a child, I prayed every night before going to bed with my mother. I would pray the "Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep" prayer and I would always have a tag line on the end about a need or a concern.
I grew up in a conservative Lutheran Church where it seemed that pastors and church staffers were the official prayer people. There were tons of written prayers available in prayer books and devotional booklets. The thought seemed to be that reading a prayer was the main way of talking with God.
As I got older, those prayers seemed like a prison where the boundaries of prayer were what was on paper and that seemed to box in my view of God and his relationship to me. My church seemed to foster the notion that there was a special language of prayer. Pastors seemed to have it, along with a few others. I was left with the impression that God would hear their prayers before mine.
My view of prayer has matured. Today for lunch I will be joining my friend Ken for some talk about prayer in each of our lives and about a book "Prayer" by Philip Yancey. His book pulls apart the whole topic and provokes thought in the reader.
I feel I've abdicated a lot of opportunities to grow and do good by not praying more. In this next year, I want to keep moving forward in that area.