In my letter I wrote a little about this :) But I didn't write as much as I wanted to because I was running out of room/time. But I'll add a little more now...
I think about that, too, that it's overwhelming, because there is SO much to pray for. But I think that's kind of the point. There's so much to pray for, and as Pastor Tad quoted on Sunday, Man's highest calling is to Pray. So we should really strive to make it a LIFESTYLE, and not just an allotted time of the day when we sit down and write out prayers. Of course, I have an allotted time in my day whenever I do just that (and I actually, like you I think, write out my prayers word for word), but first of all, if I wrote out everything that I wanted to pray for, it would take hours and hours and my hand would fall off :). And the same goes for those who prefer to pray outloud or in their minds. They will have to go to work or school at some point, or fall asleep, or whatever. I think that in conjunction/supplement to these "allotted times" we should strive to pray throughout the day. Jesus withdrew to pray many times in the Bible, for long periods of time. But He also had things to do (obviously). I imagine that He was in communication with His Father (Himself? haha. Let's not get into that:) all day, though. It's really difficult. But it changes the way you see everything if you almost even imagine Jesus walking besides you as you go throughout your day (I know that that idea has been overused and said a lot, but mostly in the context of "Make sure you don't lie/do bad things/whatever". I mean it more like, live as if you are with Jesus, your Best Friend, the entire day. Has a different implication). I challenge you to try that one day. It's really hard, and you will most likely not remember to pray in your mind every single minute of every day, but it's worth a try! :) Praying for you ;)
Personally, I pray in two different ways.
First, I have my very reverent prayer. I almost always recite prayers from memory, read them, or just read passages from the Bible out loud. Some might consider this kind of prayer cold or detached, and it can be (as can any kind), but I find it really helps to focus my mind. Even saying the Lord's Prayer is one of the most helpful and fervent prayers I know. I pray it every day.
Then, I have my personal prayers. I don't pray out loud for everything, because there is so much I could pray for, but I pray for what's on my mind. Sometimes it's emotional, sometimes angry, sometimes exhausted, but it's personal.
I usually do a combination of the two prayer types when I sit down to pray. One focuses me and the other allows me to lay my personal petitions and burdens down. They're both beneficial for me, and I find it's easiest and most effective as far as method goes.
Find something that works for you and stick with it. Find a place. Do something. Sometimes, I pray in my car. It doesn't really matter, but having a loose routine makes it easier.
Beth: you are blessed to have a family that prays not only for you but in practice everyday. We pray to the Father, in the name of the Son, in the power of the Spirit. So all three are present when we pray. In once sense we should always feel conntected to the Father..pray without ceasing.. but in another we should have a set time to read the Word and allow the Spirit to move us to pray. Everytime is different for me but often God has brought a specific need to me to pray about sometimes in the middle of the night I wake up and sense a specific need and pray. Reading prayers of others is helpful like The Valley of Vision is one of the ones I love the most. But desiring a closer communication to the Creator of all Who is in all should be your first prayer. Praying for B E T H A N Y! God loves it when I sing my prayers
Praying for you.