I know that prayer is not a part of Theravadan Buddhism. It is the goal of the Buddhist to live a life of Dhamma. Buddha does not listen to intercessory prayer and I accept it. In fact it cannot be known that if after Nibbana and death of his physical body Buddha at all exists ( since he is free from samsara ). And if he does not exist at all who can one pray to ?
I try to be a good Buddhist. But what happens when one is facing great trouble and turmoil ? Meditation is great, but can one pray to Buddha to grant one the strength to stay on the path of Dhamma ? I know this may veer dangerously close to accepting Buddha as God, something he did not wish. But my point is, accepting Buddha as my teacher can I pray to him or seek blessings in my meditation to grant me strength to fight ( again I realize the word "fight" is non Buddhist and somewhat opposed to Buddha Dhamma; what will happen in future is a result of my past Kamma and prayer cannot really rescue me ).
Such as, a highly simplified example - I am trying to give up smoking but my boss is shouting at me. I feel the need to smoke badly. The urge is overpowering. Can I concentrate on picture of Buddha for a while and remind myself that smoking is a lesser skill and I am trying to move to a trajectory of greater skill ? Remind myself of the Dhamma through his icon ? It is clinging to an icon and that should ideally not be the case. But then why are icons there in all monasteries if not to remind ourselves of Buddha and his Dhamma.