What is prayer? Is prayer only begging for the fulfillment of our desires and aspirations from God, the Universe or a higher Being?

Any concentrated intent, expression of hope, application of will or practise of discipline to achieve a certain outcome, where that outcome is beyond our conscious control, can be prayer. Prayer can be offered through words, actions, tears or smiles.

Prayer is faith in action: our supplication to fate, our intercession with destiny. Prayer yields our self-discovery, self-assertion and self-transcendence.

Prayer at once follows, and directs our aim. A musician practising is prayer, an athlete training is prayer, a monk chanting is prayer; anything we do to enlarge, cultivate or elevate ourselves – reading a poem, tending the garden, cleaning our room, helping a friend – can be prayer.

Prayer is a child dreaming, a mother giving, a lover wooing, a plant growing to the sun, a horse going for a run, a thief planning a heist, a potter surveying her clay, an architect plotting a masterpiece.

Prayer can be an emotional demand, an angry command or terse reprimand. Prayer can carry love or loathing, sweetness or bitterness, faith or fear, compassion or aggression. Prayer can beg, bribe, bless, curse, free, enslave, unite or tear apart, build or lay waste.

So let us be careful with our prayer, for prayer can take us anywhere! Our prayer reveals at once who we are, and who we yearn to become. Our prayer directs our growth and evolution, prefigures and beckons our future. Prayer is the motive force of our self-transcendence, the tectonic plates of our becoming, setting the stage and writing the script of our progress – so if you want the best, employ the best prayer; if you want the highest, aim your prayer high, beyond the sky.