Most often when we pray, we wish to obtain something that we miss or want very much, and don't have in the present moment. Or we may request help in solving a problem. We tend to ask for it in a receptive and sometimes even propitiative manner, as if we cannot help ourselves and are incapable of filling our needs and creating our own life. As many have found out the hard way, this kind of prayer doesn't work, as it is based on resistance against a situation we are unhappy with and fear that our needs will not be met.
Prayer that does work is based on acceptance and love, in accordance with the nature of our higher source. Acceptance - rather than resistance to that which is here and now - permits us to connect with and flow the creative power of which we are a part. So we have the space to choose and the confidence to act, without depending on another force which acts in our place and which we are not able to control.
Accepting that which is now, gives the advantage of space because we are not trying to be separate or exclusive, and we are not feeling afraid or wishing to cut off communication. As an analogy, if we lock ourselves indoors we cannot communicate with others - so they cannot hear us and understand our intentions.
Only from the point of view of acceptance can we see objectively, to be able to visualise the way forward and how we can contribute to that change. If we go against what we don't like, we focus on that and empower it. But if we focus on the positive, we and the universe naturally flow the energy to create it.
Fortunately, we are able to change our mind instantaneously from resistance towards acceptance - it just requires the will. And in the process we discover our Higher Self. A good way to ease the process of dropping our resistance is to cease making judgments about what is OK and not OK. Instead feel content that things are the way they are - be grateful for the opportunities that our circumstances offer us, in particular so that we can test ourselves, experience new things and learn from them, and enjoy creating as an expression of ourselves. It's the way to play the game of life that is win-win.
I have found that the most effective way to pray - or to manifest, which is perhaps a better way of putting it - is not to ask for a change of the current circumstances, as that assumes and therefore puts in place that what already exists is not acceptable. Which is somewhat crazy as well, because you have played your part in making it that way. Instead it works better to visualise a positive new reality, so that it exists in the present time in your own universe, and to say (and mean), "Thanks!" Then let that just naturally flow into existence in the real world, without any time considerations, and play your part in that creative process.