I [Apostle Paul] desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling; likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness – with good works. [1 Timothy 2:8-10]
Here is the first thing you need to recognize about prayer – it is not about YOU! As you read Paul’s admonition, it is obvious that prayer is about everything BUT you.
Men are called to lift holy hands without anger. Women are called to be respectful and modest. Why? Because these things are distractions, and they are all about YOU. Anger and quarreling come from disagreements about opinions, and opinions are YOURS. Women dressing in distracting clothes meant to attract men are focused on their appearance and not on their attitude toward God.
For these reasons, prayer begins with a look inward. This is an awkward silence if you’re praying in public. The first person I saw do this was Erwin McManus. He led a workshop about culture, and he invited everyone to pray, and then he said nothing. You could feel people looking around to figure out what he was doing.
This pause is absolutely vital. Before you start talking to God, get into the practice of looking at yourself. Think of it as a silent moment in front of a spiritual mirror. See yourself as God would see you.
When you do this, it totally changes your approach to God. The laundry list melts away and you are ready to TALK to the God of gods.