We sometimes forget that it takes two to tango. That is, that our prayer is a dialogic activity which we requires that we give God time to speak to us, rather than filling all of our prayer time with our words to God. And it doesn’t take many works on our part to invite God to speak to us.
I was reading a series of talks given to Western students of Buddhism in 1975 by Lama Yeshe, a Tibetan Buddhist lama. What he said to them is no less important for Christians than for Buddhist practitioners. He told the students that “[w]ords are cheap; the best thing to do is think deeply about whatever you hear. It is sufficient to hold just a simple phrase in your mind.” The example he gave them was to ask oneself “How can I achieve inner peace?” His suggestion was to ask oneself the simple question (or bring to mind the simple statement) regularly. “If you give yourself enough time during the day to think about this, then sooner o later an answer will come.”
My advice to those I see for spiritual direction is similar. Wait in that place where you need God, where you need some answer from God. If you wait, God will come.
Our words don’t have to be fancy or sophisticated. A simple word. A simple phrase. And God will have something to tell you about it.