A Gujarati bhakta I know asked me the other day how I would describe the difference between meditation and prayer. I replied in so many words that in the West someone might pray to have their broken ankle healed, for example. In our tradition we pray for Krishna-prema to manifest for us. Of course we can pray to Our Lady, Srimati Radhika, for whatever our hearts desire. However is that not what our hearts should always be desiring above all else? We could pray directly to that one who plays his flute in the forest, but what would be the point when we can pray to her? The maha-mantra is sufficient in and of itself without mentally or verbally praying for what we really want, is it not?
These are rhetorical questions, so please do not reply to those, but feel free to jump in and discuss this topic.