I have never doubted that someone was actually listening to my prayers though I have been aware that sometimes the connection has waxed and waned. Sometimes I have felt like Heavenly Father is impatient for me to finish my thought so He can lean down and thwack me on the forehead to explain something or really start a back and forth conversation. Other times I feel like there is an enormous gulf between us and a lot of miscommunication and misunderstanding on my part.
I have even actively rebelled, after getting yet another rejection letter from a prospective studio I was just going to quit praying. I had developed almost a pathological fear of it...not that anybody wasn't listening but it seemed that if I really wanted something...and prayed about it, I wouldn't get it. I didn't want to talk to God, he never listened to me or he WOULD just to know what I wanted so I wouldn't get it. I am horrified with how long I actually pulled it off...nearly 3 months of actively NOT praying. Bad idea.
I used to joke about how I never dared pray for patience because I did that once...and it took me 5 years to get to art school. I say joke...but in later years as I thought about it, I realized that was true. Often I was afraid to pray because I know that Heavenly Father DOES answer prayer. This is a comforting thought but it can also be a scary one. Want patience? Be prepared to be put into situations where you're going to HAVE to cultivate it! Want humility? Stay tuned for some humiliating situations... I knew that God uses trials to help us grow and this scared me. "Sure, Heavenly Father, I want to grow and become a better person...but on MY terms, okay?"
I have since tried to repent of both those patterns.
The nearly direct communication still happens to me but rarely and there are still times I feel a great gulf...but I find I am happier when I am trying to reach out and touch heaven.
"Father...? This is Jett. I just wanted to say thank you."
It can go a long way.