I was a few days sober when a fellow member took me into a small chapel on the grounds of our rehab center and I dropped to my knees before God for the first of countless times in my sober life. Though I cannot remember the details of that prayer session I am certain that in my spiritual immaturity I mumbled some child-like prayer from my youth.
Prayer has and continues to be a powerful part of my recovery. In the beginning I prayed as I was directed to simply asking for help in that day and thanking God for another sober breathe as I lay down to sleep. Comfortable in my routine I tend to do what works until the point that it is painfully glaring that what I am doing will not get me by any longer. There have been at least 3 powerful moments in the last 9 years in which I have grown complacent in my prayer life and have been brought to my knees by God. Leading me today to believe that we should satisfy our prayer debt daily, lest it build to a point of breaking.

Over the years I have prayed in all manner of ways, quietly in the recesses of my mind, vocally with others in a congregation, I have sat silently for hours in adoration, I have meditated, sang and cried. However, today I feel as though I have some clarity in the phrase that used to baffle me:

"Praying only for God's will for us and the power to carry that out"

Discerning God's voice from ours or those around us, hearing his true will for us and then humbling ourselves before him and asking for the grace and strength with which to carry out this will is a powerful act. However simple it may sound this act will take a lifetime's worth of practice to bring into practical application in our daily lives. This is our individual primary purpose. Beyond that there is more, once the conscious contact has been formed, the bond forged in prayer and vigilant meditation, then we begin to petition God for the needs of others, that it be done according to his will, the sick be healed, the hungry fed.

There have been many a time during dark nights of the soul (Dark Night of the Soul: A Masterpiece in the Literature of Mysticism by St. John of the Cross), where I have felt lost and devoid of this contact with God, it is easy during these times to give up in prayer and good works, however through vigilance and diligent prayer I come out on the other side basking in the sunlight of his spirit...