One of the oldest and simplest definitions of prayer is this: prayer is listening.
In a sermon Eugene Peterson amplifies the definition by writing, “People who don’t listen usually do too much, or do the wrong thing, or do the right thing in the wrong way.”
Attentiveness is the starting point for at least two reasons. First, it focuses our hearts, making them more receptive to God. And second, it affirms that God’s words to us are more important than our words to God.
Prayer thus becomes our response to God’s revelation.