Prayer is a form of communication with the Divine. One may pray to any form of the Divine one chooses and relates to best. There is an ancient verse in the Vedas which says:
"Aakashath Pathitham Thoyam
Yatha Gachathi Sagaram
Keshavam Prathi Gachathi"
"As the water that falls down in rain from anywhere in the sky finally reaches the Ocean, the worship of any divine aspect ultimately reaches the Supreme Being."
1. Invoke the Presence
Invoke the Presence of the Divine before you start the prayer. One way to invoke the Presence is chanting the Moola Mantra. You may chant the Moola Mantra 3, 21 or 41 times and invite the Presence to fill you or take over you completely. And request the Divine to fulfill your prayer even if there are flaws in your prayer or possible errors in your belief system.
2. Emotional Bond
The first and most important thing in a prayer is the personal bond or relation you establish with God. Consider the Divine as your child, father, mother, friend or master. God is happiest if the relation you choose is that of a friend. But then, look at yourself and ascertain that you too are a true friend who responds to the request of your friends immediately. The response of the Divine will be similar to your response to the request of your friends.
3. Surrender and Helplessness
The prayer should always be prompted by a feeling of surrender and helplessness. If you feel that you can manage even without Divine grace and that you are just trying one more way, then, that is not the way of a genuine prayer. Surrender to the Divine will that you are prepared to accept whatever the outcome may be. And that you are absolutely helpless. Whatever effort you put in is just as an instrument of the Divine and not as per your own volition.
4. Pray from the Heart not from the Head
Prayer should come from the heart, not from the head. It is the feeling that is important, not the thought. When the feeling is intense, it creates waves of a higher frequency that get connected with the cosmic energy easily and make the fulfillment easily possible. The passion that you feel for God is very significant in raising the emotional intensity.
5. Clarity and Completeness
Next, your request should be clear and complete in all respects. It is like a sort of communication with cosmic energy, and so, what you communicate is very important. If you communicate something different or incomplete, the response too may be what you do not expect. Hence before you pray, consider all aspects of your request and make it a perfect one.
6. Speak Internally
As already mentioned, prayer is a communication. You have to speak internally to God. You can say it aloud also. But it is better to speak internally as it will not distract others. The involvement increases as you go on talking to God and there will come a time when you shall feel God with you everywhere, as an inseparable PRESENCE.
7. One Request at a Time
You should see that you request for only one thing at a time. It is much similar to cooking a delicious dish. You should not mix two recipes at the same time. Because what we finally get will not be either of the two, but a third distortion of both. Hence stick to the principle of "one at a time".
As you pray to God visualize the expected result of your prayer, that is, what you want to achieve in great detail. That means, visualize yourself in a state of having fulfilled your prayer, and then enjoy the happiness and joy. Accept that the situation has changed as you have been blessed.
9. Pray with Full Faith
Such an acceptance comes from full faith in God. As you know, it is very important to have faith without which nothing can ever happen. Have full confidence in the efficacy of prayer and the benevolence of the Divine.
10. Enjoy the Feeling of Grace
Enjoy the blessing and flow of Grace into you. And request the Divine to fulfill your prayer even if there are flaws in your prayer or possible errors in your belief system.
11. Thank the Divine for the Blessing Received
Naturally, you shall be filled with immense gratitude for the Divine. Express it freely and sincerely to the Divine from the depth of your heart. Prostrate at the feet of the Divine in deep gratitude and surrender.