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I like this characterization of prayer, in the fourth book of the Franciscan Summa halensis (q.26, m.3, a.7; p. 720 in the 1622 Cologne edition). A quick and rough translation (verging on paraphrase, really):

Properly speaking, prayer is the ascent of the soul to God ordered to the tasting or releasing of something; commonly speaking, prayer is any act of contemplation related to God; most commonly speaking, prayer is any good act.