Prayer is not asking. It is a longing of the soul- Mahatma Gandhi
Prayer is communion with God, the creator of this universe and of all beings there in. He is the sustenance of our life and it is but our primary duty to offer our obeisance and gratitude to Him. According to our tradition, Prayer is of two types
1. STUTI AND STOTRA
Stu means praise. Thus Stutis and stotras are adoration of God, His glory, His supreme powers, His splendor and magnificence and most importantly His wonderful love for all of us. These hymns are a spontaneous outpouring of his devotees who have sung these in the form of mantra and songs.
Prarthana on the other hand is more personal and is from the root word Prarth meaning to request for. The devotee in a mood of total surrender requests the lord to grant him his prayers.
Thus prayers are usually a combination of Stutis, Stotras and Prarthana. In the Vedas, Prayers are called Bruham meaning to rise high. Prayers help us to rise high as it lifts our mind and soul to god. Prayers give us the confidence to face life as we are sure that the lord will never forsake a devotee who has surrendered to him. Just as food is necessary for the nourishment of the physical body so too is prayer necessary for the nourishment of the mind and soul. Prayer should become a daily discipline and a constant habit. They should be offered with a single pointed devotion. Prayers are our greatest source of strength and an armour of protection during the tumultuous moments of our life.
We are blessed to have so many hymns and songs in praise of god in his myriad forms.