We are ‘unfinished’ humans until we consent to the power of the Spirit and are drawn into a wholeness of being… Christian spiritual masters through the centuries have had different ways of describing that process. All… say that it involves a relationship between God and humanity that we call prayer. For us to pray is to intend to hear God and to respond to God. God is absolutely present to ALL people. Prayer does not make him present. Prayer is not a work. It begins with our consent, grounded in the expectation that God speaks and we can hear. That expectation is what is meant by faith. (A History of Christian Spirituality by Urban T. Holmes.)
Prayer as expectation and intent to listen. I like that. I have done prayer as work, and there is a labor in some kinds of prayer. But the prayer that transforms us and keeps us alive is our soul breath.
How about this for a great verse: Malachi 3:16 “Then those who feared the Lord talked with each other, and the Lord listened and heard.”
So much for saying a prayer at the end of a conversation to tell God what we talked about. Our conversation IS our prayer- as is our joy when we see a friend, our impulse to help someone in trouble, our laughter over a meal conversation and our walk through the corridors of malls and offices and schools – when we walk expecting to hear and willing to respond.