Growing up in a moderately-religious Muslim family, I was always expected to pray in a certain way at certain times. I went to a Catholic school for my middle and high school, where we were told to pray with our heads bowed down and hands folded. As I grew older and learned about different religions, I realized that each one had their own way or method of praying.
I also didn't know what do you when you pray. Are you supposed to praise God -- is that prayer? But then my childlike mind would say that no God that is so vast, powerful and beautiful doesn't need praise from little insignificant me. He is full of glory no matter what. Why would I have to glorify Him? Of course I got in trouble from my religious teachers.
Then I was told, "Ask God for what you want" -- again my crazy ADD brain started to go in a million directions. Isn't God the one who created me? Doesn't He already know what I want and what's good for me? And again I had no answer.
So I created my own style of prayer, where I would just simply talk to Him. During the times when I was dozing off in math class, I would beg Him to make sure I knew enough to do my homework. Or during the night when I couldn't sleep, I would talk to Him about my day. Even the times when I was angry at a sibling or friend He was my only confidant. Don't know what happened, but He became my best friend.
Over the years I have matured a lot and learned many aspects of "prayer" that I didn't as a child. I realized that prayer has many forms; it's when we have conversations with God through His creations. I understood that gratitude, being around your loved ones, becoming a mom, patience, a pet cuddling up in your lap and compassion from a stranger were all forms of prayer.
I also realized that prayer is doing what you were put on this earth to do. For me it is when I m writing. I am so in one with my soul and God that nothing around me matters. Everything around me fades away and I am mesmerized at how my brain and fingers work together to put random thoughts on an empty sheet of paper. I feel like God talks to me through my writing. I feel so one with the universe and so complete and for me that is the best kind of prayer ever. Truthfully it never mattered if people liked what I wrote because I saw myself being supported by the best friend in the world -- God Himself!