…Prayer is not only asking, it is first and foremost an act of worship and love of God. Only after that is done you may ask for something for yourself--mainly, of course, for spiritual things and not material…
... The man who is earnestly seeking to advance spiritually will usually be ashamed to carry any worldly desire into his sacred prayer. He will be working hard upon himself to improve, purify, and correct himself, so he need have no hesitation to engage in prayer--for the right things. He will pray for better understanding of the higher laws, clearer sight as to what his individual spiritual obligation consists in, more and warmer love for the Overself.
... He should become as a child at the feet of his divine Soul, humbly begging for its grace, guidance, and enlightenment. If his ego is strong, prayer will weaken it. Let him do this every day, not mechanically but sincerely and feelingly until the tears come to his eyes. The quest is an integral one and includes prayer alongside of all the other elements.
If you want a workable and faultless prayer, what is better than the one which Socrates habitually used, ”Give me that which is best for me”, or the one which some older pagan used, ”May I love, seek, and attain only that which is good”?
The true purpose of prayer is not to keep asking for some benefit each time we engage in it, but rather to express the yearning of the underself for the Overself, the attraction felt by the ego living in darkness for its parent source dwelling in light.
If you seek to invoke the divine grace to meet a genuine and desperate physical need or human result, seek first to find the sacred presence within yourself and only after you have found it, or at least only after you have attained the deepest point of contemplation possible to you, should you name the thing or result sought. For then you will not only be guided whether it be right to continue the request or not, but you will also put yourself in the most favourable position for securing grace.
Both prayer and receptivity are needed. First we pray fervently and feelingly to the Overself to draw us closer to it, then we lapse into emotional quietness and patiently wait to let the inner self unfold to us. There is no need to discard prayer because we take up meditation. The one makes a fit prelude to the other. The real need is to purify prayer and uplift its objectives.