When you pray, do you merely recite the memorized lines or do you really mean them? Do you feel the feelings of your prayer? Think about it. I am not saying that आरती [Aarti] or चालीसा [Chaalisaa] or नमाज़ [Namaaz] are not part of the prayer. You know I can’t say that, because they are part of the prayer – but they are not prayer. A prayer is useless unless you say it with the feelings. There is no point in reciting the verses and reading ‘Namaaz’ if all you are thinking during the course of your prayer is – ‘I have to finish off this project. How will I manage to get a decent job? I have to attend that function!’.
You need to have that feeling inside you. Every word you utter should come from your heart and not just your vocal chord. But even this is not enough. Every time you pray – you should be thanking GOD, for everything you have - your family, your friends, your Job. Even when you loose it all, you should thank him – for you are still alive! Since you are alive, you still have the chance to regain all you’ve lost. So prayer is thanking. Its being grateful to GOD. Not that he needs your thanks – its just that you owe him a lot you can never ever repay but the least you can do is to thank Him!
Second thing to understand is prayer is a tool cultivate humbleness. I found that most of the Sanskrit verses used in Hindu Scriptures, especially prayer contains two words – “ॐ”[AUM or OM] and “नमः” [Namah]. नमः exists in many forms like “नमामि”, “नमो”, “नमोस्तुते”! Ever wondered what ‘नमः’ means? It comes from the root word ‘नम’ which means to bow. विनम्र means Humble, नमन beings to bow! Its a mark of respect. It tells us to be humble. How? We only bow to powerful people, so every time you pray – you say – ‘I bow to thee’ which means irrespective of your position and power, you know that there is a Supreme Power, the master of all masters and you respect Him.
So Prayer = Talking + Feelings + Thanking + Being Humble + (some things I’ll come to know in future, as I Grow!).