I really suck at prayer. If I try and pray in my head (I mean other than my continual, daily pleas of "help") I can never keep on track mentally, like I have spiritual ADD or something. I'm not so good at the extemporaneous out-load-around-other-people prayers either, this I mostly ascribe to my terror of sounding like a mindless evangelical (no offense if you are reading this and are yourself a mindless evangelical, I mean this in Christian love): "Lord, I just, I just want to thank you Lord for everything (at which point I'm thinking "wow, even the really shitty stuff?"), I just really really really think you're really really really amazing Lord, I just, I just I just"...yeah, shoot me if I ever sound like that. Instead, as a member of the spiritual "special needs" class, I have begun using a prayer by Julian of Norwich (medieval English mystic) which I pray with prayer beads. This is perfect for me as my mind does not wander if my hands are busy. (I'm a constant knitter: knit in class, knit in meetings etc..)
I pray that I be healthy in body, mind and spirit.
I pray that my flesh and spirit be nourished
I pray that I may love and be loved.
I pray that I may triumph over temptation.
I pray that I may live in peace and harmony with all your creation.
I pray that I maybe your faithful servant.
I pray that I may live in you in this life and with your in the life to come.
Thy will be done.
-Julian of Norwich
These are said 12 times with other prayers at the begining and end. I got my beads from church of the apostles, but of course anything that can keep me focused is a miracle to me. I really enjoy this time in the morning and I'm grateful that I've finally found something that works for me. If there's anything worse than a shitty prayer life it would be having a shitty prayer life and feeling awful about it. Someday perhaps I'll be able to pray aloud in a prosaic and prophetic voice, but until then I'll stick to "help", "thanks" and Julian of Norwich.