I learned to pray from my mom. I remember that she would come into my room when I was little and we'd kneel by the bed and recite prayers. I have no idea when that stopped, but that's when I learned.
My parents made sure that I grew up in church. I was baptized as an infant, went to mass weekly, received First Holy Communion and made my Confirmation as a child. I attended Catholic school until I was graduated. I liked GOD and at times I felt HIS presence. I learned to pray because I had good examples. I know my mom prays for me and all of her family. Everyday. I am one of the lucky ones. Blessed is better. I am blessed.
I didn't always appreciate my upbringing though, and for a while, I was too busy for GOD. (Thank GOD He was never too busy for me.)
Then came a time when I heard GOD speaking. No, not in my ears or I think I would have died! He spoke to my heart. I had been wandering for quite a while, and because life gets tough, I was listening.
That's when it changed for me.That's when I went from reciting prayers to talking to GOD. And I'm not saying that structured prayer is bad. I am saying that I spent many years regurgitating what I had learned without moving to the next step. Thinking. Meditating. Feeling. Enjoying. It went from my head to my heart.
Most of us wait until we're at least halfway deep before we go to GOD. Some of us will wait until we're at the bottom and have exhausted all other resources and then call on GOD. But it doesn't have to be that way.
Don't you just hate it when you're talking about something heartfelt, or cool, or interesting, or you're just using the some of the words you need to use that day, and the person you're talking to is nodding their head but their eyes and/or their mind are somewhere else? GOD has to put up with that everyday. HE'S talking. We're just not listening.
So I would say, a life of prayer begins when we start listening for GOD.
Psalm 46:10"Be still, and know that I am God
Luke 11:28 "Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it."