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Now, many people come to prayer and think of it as a time to as the Divine for things, to praise the Divine, or possibly confess their shortcomings. These modes of prayer are indeed all forms of prayer but they all come to the session with different forms of intention. In prayer, intent plays a much larger role than your words.
When one sits down to pray, the come to the session with an objective in mind. That objective is the intention behind their prayer session. Perhaps the most common intention behind prayer is asking the Divine for help realizing things and making changes to situations. Sometimes the prayers come out when we don't consciously intend them to, but that deeper intention behind the sudden prayers is what moves it forward. (Anyone who has been stuck in a highway that resembled a parking lot more than a roadway has at least once or twice asked the Divine to move traffic along so we can get to where we're going. It may not be a conscious or a formalized prayer, but "Gods, please, just move will you?" is just as much of a prayer for Divine assistance as a long, stylized prayer intoned in the fashion of the ancestors. I suspect that it is also a lot more like what the ancestors prayed too.)
The act of prayer when it is done with thoughtlessness is something of a mixed bag of results. If the prayer being said is just something done off the cuff out of some sense of 'oh, I must do this and then dust the television.' is not going to have quite the same punch as one that is said with focused intent on the act of praying and what is the goal for the prayer session. This is because there is less mental focus behind it and less intention. When that unfocused prayer is given, it is much like a roulette wheel of results, left entirely up to the whim of the Divine.
Sometimes, however, a prayer said habitually has a strong effect. This is because the prayer moves from being a focused single unit of intention to being a vehicle for a larger focus of intention. An excellent example of this is the Rosary. The individual prayers are ones that can be said habitually with not a great deal of mental or emotional effort behind the respective prayers. Collected together, they become a tool where by one focuses their intent, their mental and emotional effort towards the larger goal of that prayer session. Thus, the individual prayers become like building blocks for the larger focus. It is the ritual of the collection of prayers said in that fashion that moves the magical/spiritual energy towards the Divine.
Prayer can be a very powerful thing. All that limits you is yourself and how much effort you put behind it. Also, remember, that the Divine is highly inclined to help those who help themselves and do some leg work to help manifest the prayer's results.