"I am God, there is no other God but Me, you shall worship Me and observe the Salat (Contact Prayers) to commemorate Me" Qur’an 20:14
Prayer (Salah/Salat in Arabic) is the name for the obligatory prayers which are performed five times a day, and are a direct link between the worshipper and God.
There is no hierarchical authority in Islam, and no priests, so the prayers are led by a learned person who knows the Qur'an, chosen by the congregation.
These five prayers contain verses from the Qur'an, and are said in Arabic, the language of the Revelation, but personal supplicational prayers (called “dua”) can be offered in one's own language.
Prayers are said at dawn, noon, mid-afternoon, sunset and nightfall, and thus determine the rhythm of the entire day.
Although it is preferable to worship together in a mosque, a Muslim may pray almost anywhere, such as in fields, offices, factories and universities.
Visitors to the Muslim world are struck by the centrality of prayers in daily life.[i]
It’s a Conversation with Allah
The Messenger of Allah pbuh reported that Allah Almighty says:
"When my slave says in his prayer: 'All praise is for Allah, the Lord of the worlds,'
I say: 'My slave has praised Me'
When he says: 'The Merciful, the Compassionate, Master of the Day of Judgment,'
I say: 'My slave has glorified Me.'
When he says: 'You Alone we worship and your Aid we seek,'
I say: 'This is between Me and My slave.'
When he says: 'Show us the Straight Path,'
I say: 'This is for My slave, and I give My slave what he wants."' (Muslim)
Why Muslims Pray
1. The Muslim observes his Prayers to show devotion and obedience to Allah, because Prayer is one of the greatest forms of worship that Allah likes His servants to offer.
2. To thank Him for creating us in the best form of creation.
3. Because He has guided us to the Deen (Religion) of Islam.
4. Prayer is a chance for the Muslim to express to his Lord whatever he feels and needs through Divine Words of Allah i.e. Al-Qur'an.
5. To remember his Lord and not forget His commands amid life pre-occupations.
6. To ask Allah (Exalted) to give him aid and continuous guidance in the darkness of life.
7. To strengthen love and fear of Allah in the Muslim’s heart so that he might remain sticking to the Right Path of Islam, and its laws and manners.
8. Gaining good rewards from Allah and having our sins forgiven.
9. To rejoice when he finds himself on the Last Day pleased with the great reward allotted to him in the Gardens of Bliss.
10. Prayer is a unique training and developmental program which, if well and devotedly performed, can achieve for Muslims many valuable physical, ethical and spiritual gains such as cleanliness, health, order, punctuality, brotherhood, equality, social consolidation… etc. (al-Ashqer)[ii]
Watch a sample prayer - Isha prayer (Night Prayer) in Mecca, at the Kabba
The Kabba (the black cube shaped building) is the first mosque built by Adam, which was rebuilt many times in history, including by Abraham and his sons.) The larger mosque known as Masjid (Mosque) al-Haram was built around it to accommodate all the Muslims.
You can watch the recorded prayer
Read the article How to pray for New Muslims to know the details of the prayers, including the positions, and what is said in Arabic, as well as in English.