One important criteria in determining our spiritual progress is the extent of the dissolution of our mind, intellect and ego. (Refer to footnote 2 below.)
The issue that we all face from birth is that we have had our parents, teachers and friends enhance our five senses, mind and intellect. In the current world a lot of emphasis is given to things related to the five senses, mind and intellect, such as outer beauty, our salary, our circle of friends and the list goes on. For most of us, at no point are we told that the purpose of our lives is to go beyond ourselves to tap into the God within.
So when we start spiritual practice we also have to unlearn years of conditioning that taught us to focus on our five senses, mind and intellect. Prayer is an important tool to reduce our reliance on the five senses, mind and intellect and help us unlearn years of conditioning.
The very act of prayer implies that the person who is praying considers the power to whom one is praying to as superior to oneself. Hence by praying a person expresses his helplessness and surrenders to the higher power and pleads for help. This is a blow to the individual’s ego as praying implies that one is looking for help from a higher mind and intellect than one’s own. Thus by praying frequently we transcend our limited mind and intellect and access the higher Universal Mind and Intellect. Over a period of time this contributes to the dissolution of our mind and intellect. Thus, frequent and sincere prayers for spiritual growth help in the dissolution of mind, intellect and ego.