In the West, the notion of prayer is largely ignored in Buddhism. After all, most Buddhist don’t pray to or for anything. Buddhist practice is often seen as the opposite: aspiring to let go of everything.
Let me offer this:
It’s easy to forget that the ultimate realization is boundless compassion and oneness. When we put our palms together, it is not just one pair of hands meeting palm to palm. We can envision the Buddha, our palms coming together, teaching us the feelings of boundless compassion and wisdom. In essence we are connecting with the wisdom of his teachings in that moment, whether we live or die, achieve health or not, become “enlightened” or not becomes secondary to knowing the compassion and wisdom of the buddha nature is fully present – that everything we need is between our palms as we bow, that the working of great understanding is already unfolding, here and now.
We can call that prayer if we like and I can think of no better way to spend a moment framing this life.
Peace and Love, Jim