These are some of my current thoughts on prayer (Some might find it very radical but this where I currently stand. There is no claim that these are accurate but I am open for disagreements/opinions):
I do not believe prayer changes things. I don't believe in phrases like 'earnest prayer', 'pray hard' etc. I do not believe there is any magic in prayer. I also do not believe that one person's prayer is more effective than the other person. I don't believe in 'prayer chains'. I don't believe in those websites where you can post prayer requests. I don't believe in requesting prayer anonymously. I don't believe in praying for the nation, politicians etc. I don't believe in those toll free numbers (e.g: 1-800-PRAYER) where you can call and ask the phone attender to pray for something. I don't believe in 'unspoken' prayer requests, where you don't actually know what the request is but asked to pray blindly.
I don't believe group prayer has more strength than individual prayer. I don't believe pastor's prayer has more effect than the congregant's prayer. I don't believe in those books about 'How to pray?'. I don't believe in 'prayer warriors'. I don't believe the elders prayer is more effective than the youngsters. I don't believe that the people who pray more are more spiritual. I don't believe in praying in tongues.
I have heard people saying "It's my prayer what brought him/her to Christ". I don't believe it. I have heard people saying "It's because of our earnest fasting and prayer that he/she is healed.". Again, I do not believe that. I don't believe that prayer is more effective when we quote Scriptures. I don't believe that the various problems in life (sickness, finance problems, job loss, sins, relationship problems etc) are due to a lack of good prayer life.
I don't believe in religiously praying before each meal, travel etc. I don't believe that the evening 'family prayer' is what keeps a family from falling apart. I do not believe God answers all prayers. I do not believe that God is obligated to answer our prayers. I do not believe the prayer prayed in a church setting is more effective than the prayer done at home, car or coffee shop.
I don't believe in parents doing a "prayer-show" with the intention to get their kids to be more spiritual like them.
I don't believe in promising people that "I will pray for you" every time when he/she shares some burden with me, unless there is a genuine desire in my heart to do that. I do not believe in praying for forgiveness every time I sin. I don't believe in praying out of guilt.
These are the few things I believe about prayer:
The only reason I pray is because I have a desire to talk to my Heavenly Father.
When I pray, regardless of what I am praying for, my attitude always has to be, "Lord, if it's your will...".
I don't muster up prayer just for the sake of praying.
The most hart-felt prayers are not necessarily found in my mouth, rather they are in my heart.
I pray enthusiastically when the Lord himself puts a desire in my heart to pray.
I believe in the sovereignty of God and believe that He is always in control regardless of whether people pray or not.
Prayer (talking to God), in my mind, has to be a natural result of being in a relationship with Him.
When it comes to prayer (or anything else), motivation behind it matters the most.
If you believe in His unconditional love and awesome grace, you will find yourself thanking Him more, than asking Him to do things.
Lastly and more importantly,
Regardless of whether my prayer was answered the way I want it or not, I am still at peace and in total contentment because I know the fact that my Father is in total control of my life and there is nothing which can separate me from His love.