from Self-Reliance (Ralph Waldo Emerson):
In what prayers do men allow themselves! That which they call a holy office is not so much as brave and manly. Prayer looks abroad and asks for some foreign addition to come through some foreign virtue, and loses itself in endless mazes of natural and supernatural, and mediatorial and miraculous. Prayer that craves a particular commodity, — any thing less than all good, — is vicious. Prayer is the contemplation of the facts of life from the highest point of view. It is the soliloquy of a beholding and jubilant soul. It is the spirit of God pronouncing his works good. But prayer as a means to effect a private end is meanness and theft. It supposes dualism and not unity in nature and consciousness. As soon as the man is at one with God, he will not beg. He will then see prayer in all action. The prayer of the farmer kneeling in his field to weed it, the prayer of the rower kneeling with the stroke of his oar, are true prayers heard throughout nature, though for cheap ends.
from The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions (Alcoholics Anonymous):
Now, what of prayer? Prayer is the raising of the heart and mind to God—and in this sense it includes meditation. How may we go about it? And how does it fit in with meditation? Prayer, as commonly understood, is a petition to God. Having opened our channel as best we can, we try to ask for those right things of which we and others are in the greatest need. And we think that the whole range of our needs is well defined by that part of Step Eleven which says: “. . . knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.” A request for this fits in any part of our day.
from The New Testament (ESV):
And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. Pray then like this:
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
from Tzava'at Harivash (Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov):
You must realize that whatever happens is from God, blessed be He. See to it that you request from God always to visit upon you that which God knows to be for your benefit, as opposed to that which appears to be so to the human mind. For it is quite possible that what is good in your own eyes is really bad for you. Thus commit unto God everything, all your concerns and needs. [...]
Before praying have in mind that you are prepared to die from the intense concentration while praying. Some concentrate so intensely that it may be natural for them to die after reciting two or three words before God, blessed be He. Bearing this in mind, say to yourself: “Why would I have any ulterior motive or pride from my prayer when I am prepared to die after two or three words?” Indeed, it is a great kindness of God to give man the strength to complete the prayer and remain alive.
from Bhagavad Gita (Vyasa):
When a man has let go of attachments,
when his mind is rooted in wisdom,
everything he does is worship
and his actions all melt away.
God is the offering, God
is the offered, poured out by God;
God is attained by all those
who see God in every action.