Do all Hindus follow a complex procedure of prayer?
Every individual is unique and at a particular level of mental and spiritual development. Numerous recommendations in religious texts should not overawe a person. The details are merely meant to acquaint one with what has been said. Adopt what suits you. The Hindu way of life is liberal. If not, it would not have survived long periods of suppression and foreign rule.
Prayer is a simple way to uplift oneself physically, emotionally and spiritually. Just as a child does not start running soon after birth, one cannot expect a person who is new to Hindu customs and beliefs to adopt them with every minor detail. Begin in a small way. Learn to offer a simple prayer to God. Word it as you please. Begin and end with a few words of gratitude for everything He has blessed you with. It does not matter how long you pray. Your prayers could be brief or prolonged. Do what makes you happy.
You could offer prayers with some of the frills described earlier, or just sit quietly all by yourself and offer a few words in prayer. When you begin to enjoy your prayers, you will slowly find happiness and contentment and discover a new 'you'. Let this be the beginning of a higher life where you are more concerned about your family, friends and others than about yourself. This will be your first step in moving towards God.
A Simple Prayer
Lead me from the unreal to Real;
Lead me from darkness to Light;
Lead me from mortality to Immortality.
Awn - Peace! Peace! Peace!