Part IVSCA 447. Sri Chinmoy answered this question on 9 September 1997.
Question: If people do not consciously pray or meditate, but they use their heart to love humanity as it is, can they also get inner messages that way?Sri Chinmoy: What is meditation? Expansion of the heart. Meditation means to dive deep within and claim the whole world as your own. What is the purpose of prayer? To make me a good person. The real prayer is, "Make me a good person so that I can be of use to You." What is the ultimate prayer? Can there be anything higher than "Let Thy Will be done"? Is that not also the aim of meditation? Jesus Christ's message, "Let Thy Will be done," is the ultimate message. That is called unconditional surrender.
If one makes unconditional surrender, then he is on his way to God-realisation. Let him practise unconditional surrender; then he is bound to realise God. The height of unconditional surrender is "Let Thy Will be done." That is the ultimate height of meditation and prayer. They lead to the same goal. If one is having a good meditation, will he say, "Let my own will be done"? No! Precisely because he has gone deep within, he will say, "God, tell me what I should do, and I will do it." Prayer, with folded hands, also says, "God, tell me what I should do." One goes deep within and says, "God, tell me what I should do." The other looks up and says, "Please, please tell me what I am supposed to do." Both meditation and prayer are saying the same thing. One goes deep inside, and the other looks up. One climbs up the tree, and the other is at the foot of the tree, looking up.
Prayer and meditation are two roads. When I meditate, I bring down God. When I pray, I go up to God. It is the same thing. When I use one way, I say, "Please come down and tell me what I am supposed to do." When I use the other way, I say, "I am coming up. Please tell me what I am supposed to do." Again, in my prayer I say, "Give me peace, give me love, give me light, so that I can please You." And in my meditation I say, "Please tell me what I need, and please, please give me what I need." Both ways are coming to the same goal.