I hope it doesn't rain tomorrow. It has rained for the last 23 days. Having no rain is in no way a "goal".
Of course it is. It may be a goal you are powerless to accomplish, but because you 'want' it, it is a goal. Praying for the rain to stop in this instance is still a waste of time (you could be researching technology to control the weather!)
By the way, are you from B.C. by any chance?
How is prayer, if defined as an internal conversation with yourself, as I have done here, "psychologically unhealthy and pragmatically counterproductive"?
WHat you define as prayer and what I define as prayer are obviously different. While I use the classical definition of 'speaking with/begging from something 'out there' (usually god), you seem to have taken the ball and run with it. Right out of the stadium.
Anyway, I define prayer thusly
prayer1 ( P ) Pronunciation Key (prâr)
1. A reverent petition made to God, a god, or another object of worship.
2. The act of making a reverent petition to God, a god, or another object of worship.
2. An act of communion with God, a god, or another object of worship, such as in devotion, confession, praise, or thanksgiving: One evening a week, the family would join together in prayer.
3. A specially worded form used to address God, a god, or another object of worship.
4. prayers A religious observance in which praying predominates: morning prayers.
1. A fervent request: Her prayer for rain was granted at last.
2. The thing requested: His safe arrival was their only prayer.
6. The slightest chance or hope: In a storm the mountain climbers won't have a prayer.
1. The request of a complainant, as stated in a complaint or in equity, that the court grant the aid or relief solicited.
2. The section of the complaint or bill that contains this request.
Contextual bits bolded.
Without the imaginary friend to talk to, it isn't prayer by my (and the dictionaries) definition. Perhaps you would like to share how you define prayer that is so broad, yet still correct as per the meaning of the word?
What you seem to be talking about is internal reflection. As long as you admit YOU solved that problem, and not some spiritual boogyman, then I think we are just talking semantics.