I typically read the Bible and pray every night but over time my prayer has become long and very structured and in some ways forced with me saying the same things every night and the same established prayers IE. Our Father Hail Mary Oh my Jesus etc. because of this prayer typically takes a long time, feels forced, and frustrating. I have no issue with the time, but if I were to make my prayers at night shorter and more relative to the day would that take away from praying as a whole? Would it be selfish or disrespectful of me to pray in total less that way? I just feel that i say the same things and it doesn’t feel like a conversation anymore, more so a burden. But should I continue on this commitment or not?

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    Hello, and welcome to the site. Are you looking for the teachings of a specific denomination? For personal advice, random internet strangers on Stack Exchange generally won't be your best source -- in fact, the disclaimer on the site recommends seeking such advice from your pastor, priest, or other trustworthy counselor. Dec 23, 2023 at 6:44
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  • While the short answer is "yes, prayer in your own words is still a form of communication with God" this question is a matter of pastoral advice and per our site's rules will need to be closed. I cannot suggest strongly enough to consult with your pastor. Simply having that conversation will be helpful. Jan 3 at 17:32

2 Answers 2


Without trying to answer the personal part of your question, I would like to point out the old catholic tradition of the Liturgy of the Hours (Liturgia Horarum), also know as the Divine Office (Officium Divinum), or Work of God (Opus Dei). All religious orders pray this Liturgy in some way or another, and all secular clergy vow to pray this liturgy as well at ordination.

Lay people are also invited to pray this liturgy, partly or all of it, according to their possibilities. In this liturgy you will find the night prayer (in my country called Completen, Compline in english says wikipedia)

It is a rather short prayer, especially compared to some other prayers in the morning and evening, structured in a way that makes a lot of sense (well, what would you expect). It gives you words, readings, and a base for your personal communication with God.


I can relate. If our heart is not in something, the prayer is vain. The Lord specifically admonishes us against "vain repetitions": “When ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking” (Matthew 6:7, KJV).

Remember the so-called "Lord's prayer":

"Our Father, which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy Name. Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, As it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, As we forgive them that trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, But deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, The power, and the glory, For ever and ever. Amen." Matthew 6:9-13, Luke 11:2-4

Remember the Lord does NOT say, "You should recite these specific words in order to pray". Rather He introduces this as an outline, saying, "After this manner therefore pray ye", in response to the question of His disciples, asking, "Lord, teach us to pray". Therefore, prayer is to give real glory to God, recognize His holiness, expedite the coming of His kingdom, to ask Him for what we need, to give Him thanks, to express our commitment to forgive others and to beg His forgiveness, to ask Him for power to overcome temptation, and very interestingly, very oft overlooked, that His will be done.

Who prayed, "Thy will be done", and in what circumstances? How can we follow His example?

"Thy will be done" is not a passive pronouncement, merely hoping that someone else will do what God wants or that God will get His way in the end. It is the most active and effortful expression of our determination to be the ones to do His will on the Earth.

Viewed in that way, prayer becomes a powerful collaboration and expression of our devotion to team up with God in the greatest endeavor in existence. Prayer is a form of work. Problem-solving, expressions of love and devotion, and precise individual covenants and commitments are all completely appropriate in prayer.

I have in recent years developed a rule: If I do not spend time in a day actively thinking or working on a problem or striving to grow in charity and love in a specific matter, I do not include that matter in my prayers unless I am determined to be an active part of the solution. I think this helps me to avoid vain repetitions. Yes, I pray for peace in other lands, but this prayer is meaningful to me only because I strive to be a peacemaker in my own home and community. When we sincerely strive to be a part of the solution with God instead of leaving it all up to Him to change our minds, our hearts and our circumstances, then we are empowered to become the sons of God and be one with Him as the Savior prayed.

For me, moving away from a "shopping list" routine of prayer and more into a heartfelt and effortful "Thy will be done" pattern has made all the difference in my life. Including this one element by making specific promises to do exactly what God has asked me to do--not half-heartedly, but wholly and completely, has helped me to overcome challenges that were otherwise impossible to surmount and unresolved for decades.

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