The goal of prayer is communication with God, to get to know your creator. Meditation and contemplation are states of focused attention. It is no mistake that God chooses to talk to us inside of our own minds. It is the most intimate communication possible.
Out of fear, many believers have abandoned meditation, thinking it will or only connect with the forces of evil. The way to hear God’s voice is to get still and meditate. If we are too busy to meditate, we are too busy to hear His voice. There is nothing wrong with meditating, it is a sound practice, there is nothing wrong with listening to God.
In meditation you direct and are in control of your own thinking. This is you thinking of yourself, purposefully causing images or thoughts to form in your mind. You will reach a point where you turn over your thinking to God. Then God creates the images and words for you. This is communication from God, and it moves you from the state of meditation to the state of contemplation.
To try contemplation, sit or lie down in a quiet place, pay attention to your breathing, relax and quieten your mind. Ask God what He has to say to you today. Then open yourself up in every way you know how, every sense and receive the communication from God. Human directed meditation is left behind and God directs the journey. This is contemplation, do not be afraid, God will not take you too fast, He will give you just enough spiritual experience to keep you coming back for more.
The more you return, the more you learn about yourself and God. You can use something sensory that will focus your attention like music, flowing water, candle or sunset. At some point, God will take over your thinking, allow Him to bring you along. Do not be in the hurry, everyone is different. No two people are the same, we all have a unique spiritual journey.