There are many times when I have to fight with myself regarding my belief in the efficacy of prayers.
Because I know they do something. They affect various (every??) element(s) of life. I'm not totally sure how prayers are heard by God or how He responds each time or how the Spirit prays on my behalf when I don't know what to say (Romans 8:26-27). I don't have all the answers. I probably don't even have 20%.
But what I do know is it changes me the moment I begin to communicate with God. There have been more moments than I like to admit that I'm completely taken by surprise when I'm met with peace when I pray. And sometimes the prayers are just meditations or repetitions of a truth like, I trust You. I trust You, until I begin to believe it again. When doubt sets in or worry creeps up and I don't start with prayer, I realize I should have an hour later. Or a day. Or a month. Or 6 months.
I forget the power in the privilege of speaking directly to God. I forget the weight of that.
I once read something somewhere that went like this: Some people envision getting to Heaven and meeting all the Old Testament people and being like, Wow! What was it like to hear God's voice? Or to meet Him at the top of a mountain?.... But sometimes I like to think that the very people we are impressed with and maybe somewhat envious of, might come running to us and ask, What was it like to have His Spirit dwelling inside of you?!
And this realization shakes me every time I think about it.
So on my end: I can my pray. I can pray when I'm happy, sad, confused, angry, hurt, lonely, elated, mourning, and joyful. Because praying is simply communicating with God. And that opportunity alone can be more than enough encouragement to do it more often.
Rejoice always,pray continually,give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV