Sadhguru explains that a prayer is not a vocal communication or "long-distance call" with God. Prayer is a quality, not an act. It is a way of creating a state of receptivity within us, by involving ourselves completely.

Sadhguru: Probably in this part of the world, if I utter the word prayer, immediately people will think sitting down and saying something to somebody up there. Some of you may know simple English prayers, some of you may know complicated Latin, Arabic, Sanskrit whatever kind of prayers. But essentially prayer unfortunately has been understood as a way like it’s some kind of a long-distance call.

Prayer is not an act, it’s just a certain quality that you bring in to your life. In somewhere in 1860s certain missionaries came to central part of India which is now called as Madhya Pradesh and they were scouting the tribal districts because that is where the potential conversions are there. Then they heard there is a particular yogi around whom thousands of people are gathering. So, they thought he build a some kind of a church and people are gathering, let’s go and see. Competition, you know! So they went there, when they went there they couldn’t believe this, there was no Church, there were not even a home, the yogi was just sitting under a tree. All he had was a loin cloth, bare bodied, he was just sitting there; somebody who looks like he’s not worth anything and they got little encouraged. Okay, there’s not much of a competition but then they found hundreds and thousands of people gathering around him. Then they were amazed oh what’s happening here, he must be having some kind of power. So, when they got an appointment with him they asked what kind of prayers do you teach.

Then he looked at them and laughed and said, Oh you are men of cloth, you are men of prayer aren’t you? You have done much prayer obviously in your life. Today, you just see some prayer, don’t do it just see it. They said how can we see prayer. He said just watch me now and he took some vegetables and started cutting. He said, this is my prayer just watch it, quite carefully watch it. This is the prayer. So, prayer is not just ……. prayer is a way of involving your whole body and getting it into a certain attitude of receptivity, of seeing. Prayer is essentially seeing that your presence here is so miniscule actually. You are just a speck of dust in this existence, tomorrow morning woof if you disappear nobody is going to miss you. A few people around you will cry for three days and then they will forget about you. Rest of the existence will just go on fine without you, isn’t it? All of this disappear, still this world will go on wonderfully well, maybe better (laughter). Yes or no. This self-assumed importance that man has created within himself, when you keep it aside you are in prayer. If you manage to keep aside the assumed importance that you have for yourself, then you are in prayer, you don’t have to say anything.