The dictionary meaning of prayer is to ask earnestly / beg to a God or saint. It comes from the Latin word precari which means to ask earnestly. In Sanskrit, the term for prayer is Prāthanā (प्राथना).

A prayer may be defined as the universally accepted mode of communication between the devotee and the Divine across all religions.
Prayers can be categorised in two parts: (1) to worship, confess one’s faults (2) to request.
Lord Mahaveer mentioned to his disciple Gautumswami that the soul arrives at the purity of faith by worshipping.

Different ways of worshipping are as follows:

Prayers are also composed to euologise celestial divine beings (e.g. Mānibhadra, Ghantākaran Māhāveer, Saraswati Devi, Ambikā Devi, etc).

Stotra refers to the words that reflect the deepest feelings of devotion & faith in one’s heart, that emerge whilst worshipping the Lord.