A prayer is merely a wish. When you wish for something, it becomes a prayer. Whether you express it or not, is not important. You may express your wish to God or to fellow humans. You may choose to keep your wish a secret. However it manifests externally, your wish remains intact internally.
Wishes and desires are normal. It's like our breath. The very nature of existence ensures we cannot become desireless, or wishless. Even the desire to remove other desires is a desire. Celibacy itself is goal, a wish to be achieved. We are in a constant state of desire. In other words, we are always in prayer, wanting something better, or more. We also pray to remove our distress. Prayer is the breath of life.
Religion made prayer a ritual. It defined prayer in certain words, and actions. The intended goal of religious prayer is to touch the inner consciousness, the spirituality. When you discard the covering of the fruit (the ritual), you can in fact better feel the sweetness, softness, and tenderness of the fruit. Rituals lose meaning when they fail to absorb spiritual essence. It becomes a mere act of the body with no beneficial effect on the mind, or soul.
Prayers need to enrich, and energise us. Our aspirations need internal synchronisation. A prayer is not about God. A prayer is about you. You don't need God to pray. But God can help your prayer. The support of God in your thoughts can comfort you and motivate you to higher human character. When God is part of the prayer, morality cannot be left behind. But we cannot whitewash the entire humanity with the same morality. Each person needs to live within the comfort of his own moral values. We have a right to pray in our own way, but we have a duty to give others the right to exercise their own prayers. This world is a giant prayer hall of 7 billion different prayers. A prayer in reality is meaningless for the other person, it exists in meaning only for the person in his own prayer. That itself is the meaning of prayer.