As Buddhist and also Bhutanese many of us do pray regularly either in the morning or evening. Such natural attitudes no doubt exhibit good quality of a person beside knowing that there are some Gurus & deities to whom one can seek blessings and equally pray on behalf of all sentient beings for their well being.
What is most important is that one should know the meaning of the prayers that one recite. Simply reciting without knowing the meaning will be ineffective. Even if you receive empowerment or oral transmission, if you don’t learn the meaning of the prayers or Sadhanas before you practice, it is will be ineffective. Just think, How can you recite, what you don’t understand yourself!!!
See the example how clear it is.
To Fulfil All Wishes
by Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö
Unfailing heart-essence of refuge, Padmākara,
When we pray to you, day and night, at the six times,
With the intense and overwhelming yearning of our devotion,
Let us never be overpowered by obstacles, and evil circumstances,
Guard us with your compassion always, never leave us,
And bless us so all our wishes be fulfilled, just as our minds desire!
So Chökyi Lodrö prayed at the Derab estate in upper Lhalung in Gungru district.”
Therefore, you should learn each and every meaning of the words, sentence and paragraph of the prayer. Once you know the meaning, than it would look like that you are actually speaking to the Gurus & deities directly. You will have full concentration resulting satisfaction at the end of the prayer.
Let us recollect some example at our villages when someone gets ill we see our parents do quick rituals. They quickly prepare food and curry than put on a banana leaf or plate and take it near the bedside (of sick person) holding these propitiation items in hand and chants the self made prayer. They are illiterate nevertheless they convey very clear message. Everything becomes highly dramatic as they begin delivering a monologue as a way to appease and pacify the malevolent spirits. If you listen to them, you understand each and every word what they say:
Or the king from the south, east or west
Here's what I offer you- a food rich as this
Everything that thou would choose to eat
From rice, chilies, cheese, meat, to salt and tea.
Ask for anything
They are here, placed singly, one for each
It is your own share to eat-so eats to your fill!
For there's nothing' that should gratify thy hunger
The blood has dried, the flesh has shriveled,
Poor is the body with just skin and bones
Better feed thy self with richer food here
So be off and gone!
Let relief come to the sick
As swift and with ease-
As the speck that from the eyes is removed
As instant as the pricking thorn that's pulled out.
Here's for you today, for none there'll be tomorrow.
Let go of this parched soul, the soul of the tiger girl.
If you dare to hold and disturb further even after
You be warned, for we'll send forth
Fumes of burnt chilies that'll choke you”
Similar to this, the prayer that we make also should be done with full understanding of what it is. For that matter you can recite prayer in English translated version also. If you do that you will really enjoy and feel happy. I have made two prayers book one in Chokey and the other in English. If I recite Chokey today, the next day I recite in English. This way I learn the meaning of prayer very fast.
If you recite Kangjur in chokey, you will fail to understand the meaning. However, if you read the Kangjur in English translated version which is there on the net you will understand the meaning and enjoy the recitation, thus gaining more merits.
It will really look like reading a novel stories understanding every meaning but comprehending the factual teachings of the Buddha.
So friends, keep this in mind and try to learn the meaning of the prayer that you make and enjoy praying.