... We must never be taken in by the fiction that prayer in order to be "heartfelt" must be "spontaneous, inward, informal and/or unregularised." Certainly prayer can be spontaneous, informal, and unregularised but that should always be in addition to the ongoing, sustained, purposeful, prayer we are already engaged in. Prayer is purposeful communication with our Creator. There are going to be days when we don't "feel" like it and it is on those days (or in those times) that the value of schedule and habit will carry us through.She has more to say and is short but to the point. So go read it all.
This was reinforced not only by my own experience but again with this recent reading from In Conversation with God by Francis Fernandez.
We may think that our struggle in prayer is not bearing fruit, while God himself is immensely happy at our progress. The Lord will always give us his peace and his strength so that we may accomplish his work. We should never abandon our prayer. St. Teresa of Avila has advised that to lose one's way is -- so it seems to me -- nothing else bu tthe giving up of prayer. Perhaps this is one of the more serious temptations which can afflict souls committed to the Lord's service: to abandon this daily conversation with God for apparent lack of fruit, for the sake of "more important" thinkg, even for apostolic activities ...Yes, God's trying to get something through my thick head and he knows me so well that he is saying it over and over and over to make sure I remember and stick with that forced schedule. Because I'm a quick to fall away once I think something's fixed.
Nothing is more important than our daily appointment with Jesus. He is waiting for us. At all costs, the decision to persevere in devoting a set time to private prayr daily must be made and carried out inflexibly. It does not matter if on can do no more than remain on one's knees for the period and only battle with complete lack of success against distractions; one is not wasting time. (E. Boylan).