A prayer is a food for soul. It is important that we understand what a prayer is and learn to pray right.
What is a prayer?
Here are the definitions of prayer from different sources.
From Encyclopedia Britannica:
an act of communication by humans with the sacred or holy—God, the gods, the transcendent realm, or supernatural powers.
From Merriam-Webster Dictionary:
an address (as a petition) to God or a god in word or thought
From Cambridge International Dictionary
A prayer is the words that someone says or thinks when they are praying.
From Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary (Easton)
Prayer is converse with God; the intercourse of the soul with God, not in contemplation or meditation, but in direct address to him. Prayer may be oral or mental, occasional or constant, ejaculatory or formal.
Stuti and Prarthana:
There are two categories of the conversation with God: stuti and prarthana. When a person describes the attributes of God or praises God, it is called stuti. When a person is requesting something in his or her prayer, it is called prarthana.
What would you ask for in your prayer i.e. prarthana?
Here is a sample to give you ideas about good prarthana.
In Sarangpur (India), Maharaj, Saints and Haribhkto were celebrating the day of Holi. Being very pleased, Maharaj asked people to state their wish. The women of Gujarat stated their wish or prarthana. It is documented by Niskulanand Swami in 64th canto of BhaktaChinatmani (Maha Balavant Maya Tamari, je ne Aavaria Nar Nari ….). The prarthana has been widely admired by satsangies and many recite it as daily prayer of their own. Here is the essence of that prayer.
Maharaj! Your all mighty maya has encircled all men and women. Please give us a boon that the maya does not engross us.
In addition, do grant us that:
• We never think of you to be a human being
• We realize that all of your pastime as supernatural
• We never get dislike for Satsangies
• We never forget You under the influence of place, time or activities.
• Our intelligence is not cursed by lust, anger, greed, illusion
• Anything that keeps us form worshiping you, we request that it fails in its purpose.
Maharaj, with your mercy please grant us what we have requested.
We also like to state what we do not wish:
• Never give us bodily ego that makes us forget You.
• Never give us bad company and keep us from improper conducts.
• Never give us worldly pleasures, never give us residence among those who are against God.
• Never give us the worldly prestige, ego, jealousy, and so on.
• Do not give us opportunities for material pleasures, do not give us separation of the followers of God.
• Please do not give us dislike for Satsangi.
• Do not give us an arrogant nature.
• Do not give us the company of those atheists who (incorrectly) favors karma over God.
Now knowing enough about prayer, let us pray and pray for the right things!