TIP #1 The Secret Place
Jesus' very first teaching on prayer was the power and the primacy of the secret place. "But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you." Matthew 6:6
If you're feeling disconnected with God, feeling that God is distant, let me share a secret with you: God is already in the secret place! Jesus says this again in verse 18.
And He gives us the key to being with the Father: Close the door. Once the door is closed, you can know with confidence that you are in the presence of God, regardless of how you feel.
TIP #2 Listen
Matthew 13:9 says, "He who has an ear to hear, let him hear!"
Know that you can have ears to hear, but choose not to hear God speaking! God has spoken to His people in a lot of ways in the Bible. Psalms 81:7 says that he answers us in "the secret place of thunder." Other times he answers us almost silently with a still, small voice.
God's words are the words that change things. When he speaks things happen. He created the universe with His words. Know that things don't change when we talk to Him, they change when He speaks to us.
Bob Sorge says in his book on prayer, "I strongly advocate a prayer life that is comprised mostly of silence." Don't feel like you are failing at praying when you don't have anything to say! Listen to God and wait for Him to speak to you!
TIP #3 Be Violent
Matthew 11:12 says "the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force."
Your prayer life isn't always going to be "now I lay me down to sleep." You're called to do spiritual warfare with your prayers!
"For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places." Ephesians 6:12
I see four separate enemies that we are supposed to wrestle with. I've heard people say before that we aren't supposed to pay attention to the devil and we're just supposed to let God take care of us, and that's partly true. But we have been given spiritual armor for a reason! Stuff is going to hit us! God didn't give us the armor just so that we're in cool shiny clothes! Without this armor, we're going to take some damage.
Also, we've been given a sword of our own. The Psalms are full of descriptions of God raining down his arrows on the enemy, and striking them down with lightning and thunder, but we're called to strike down the works of the enemy in our prayer life as well! We're supposed to use the word of God to come against the things that the devil is doing in our lives and in the lives of the people we know.
Violently pursue your secret time with God, cutting through distractions and all else that keeps you from spending time in the presence of God. Don't let anything stop you from giving all you have to God! When you become a threat to the plans of the enemy, he will come after you. Use that as a sign that what you're doing is working!
TIP #4 Intercession
Hebrews 13:18-19 says "Pray for us; for we are confident that we have a good conscience, in all things desiring to live honorably. But I especially urge you to do this, that I may be restored to you the sooner."
Prayer can speed up the work of God's kingdom in the earth. At the beginning or end of nearly all of Pauls letters He either asks for prayer or lets the church know that he is praying for them. He knew there was power in the prayer for others.
Jesus said "Ask and you shall receive." This isn't meant to be a black check for whatever we want, it's supposed to be about making God's will happen.
"Prayer is not getting man's will done in heaven, but getting God's will done on earth. It is not overcoming God's reluctance but laying hold of God's willingness." - Richard C. Trench
God is ready and willing to answer our prayers, He's just waiting for us to come to Him and invite His will and reign into our lives and into the lives of others.
TIP #5 Time
Realize that being faithful with prayer will take a lot of your time.
2nd Corinthians 9:6, "He who sows sparingly will reap sparingly. He who sows bountifully will reap bountifully."
If you give your minute of two of "spare time" to God, you will reap a spare time's worth of benefit. Now, this benefit is much greater than if you weren't spending any time in prayer, but it's still sowing sparingly.
If you give lots of your valuable time to God, time that you are thinking clearly, large uninterrupted chunks, than you will reap a blessing that you haven't even dreamed of.
Make spending time with God an important appointment, worth canceling other things for. Are you willing to give God your goofing-off-online hour or your veg-on-the-couch hour? If you build a vital relationship with God, He will uphold you. Trust that no amount of work that you do can compare to the amount of work God will do as a result of seeking Him.