Meditation and prayer are sometimes seen as the same thing. It depends on what tradition you belong to, what form of meditation you take, and how you define prayer. For some in the Christian tradition, prayer is about talking to God, meditation is about listening to God. Others see prayer as a form of magic, with words and thoughts sent out in the hopes of altering what seems to be a predetermined course. Others still see prayer as a moment to reflect on our lives, and develop gratitude and compassion. All of these things can be applied to meditation as well.
We meditate in order to create harmony in our lives, to work through a problem, to live a more authentic life filled with awareness. There is a goal in mind, even in Zen meditation, where we come across the conundrum of the goalless goal. Seeing our lives for the wonder that they are, we also raise compassion and empathy for all things within our souls. The lines between prayer and meditation often blur.
Where prayer and meditation meet is in that quiet stillness, like that moment at dusk, when the world is hushed and we can truly listen, not only with our ears but with our hearts. It is a moment of utter peace, in the here and now. It is life, plain and simple.