One idea that has helped me with prayer more than almost any other comes from a Norwegian Christian named Ole Hallesby.
In his classic book, simply called Prayer, I first encountered this idea:
"Prayer is simply helplessness combined with faith."
Hallesby says more to help us understand this simple, yet profound truth:
"Prayer and helplessness are inseperable. Only those who are helpless can truly pray."
"Your helplessness is your best prayer."
"Prayer is for the helpless."
I so often find myself facing things - either internal issues of the heart, or external circumstances - about which I feel very, very helpless. And so often I don't know how to pray; don't even know what to pray. And then I remember Hallesby's admonition that it is this very helplessness that opens the door to prayer. I just need to combine that helplessness with faith the size of a tiny mustard seed and then offer my concerns to God. And trust He will hear and respond.
Now, anyone can do that!
What is it you feel most helpless about today? Know that your helpless feelings are the very heart of prayer ... they are one of the very profound ways in which God uses our weakness to demonstrate his strength.
Helplessness + Faith = Prayer
That is a math equation I will actually make use of my whole life!