Hi! Welcome the forums. May I first say that I find it absolutely refreshing that you are seeking answers about the Catholic faith in a most respectful and honest fashion! I just read your inquiry in another thread about Purgatory and the fact that you are reading Fulton Sheen is awesome! Keep it up!
Praying to Mary. . .Here’s the thing. Many non-Catholics view Marian devotion as an isolated issue, however this does not render a proper perspective for what we as Catholics do when we pray to the Blessed Mother. Praying to Mary is a function of our understanding of the Church, the communion of Saints, and the power of Christ.
Through Christ, we have been reconciled to our Father. This makes us the children of God. A family. As Christians, we are formed into the Body of Christ and our interdependance is essential to our identity. Because God has designed it (not because he requires it), we are reliant on each other, as in a family. Mary is our Mother through Christ. We are brothers and sisters through Christ. The saints in heaven, too, are brothers and sisters in this family called Church! Entrance into heaven does not separate our family, but rather is stregthens and perfects our communion with God and with each other!
We believe, by the grace of God, that Mary was preserved from sin, thus we believe that she is with Him in heaven. As Mother of the King, she resides in this heavenly state to serve Him and worship Him for all eternity with the saints and angels. We turn to her in prayer to communicate to her our needs as a child to a mother, confident of God’s power to work through holy men and women, and most especially through Christ’s own mother. We honor her for her example and thank her for her intercession.
In order to pray to Mary, you must know her. I encourage you, especially if you are not particularly familiar with this sort of prayer, to pray to Jesus first. Ask him to soften your heart towards his mother. Ask the Holy Spirit to teach you to pray. Ask the Father to give you the grace to see his hand at work through the Blessed Mother and all the saints in heaven and on earth.
Then, do some reading. . .I recommend Scott Hahn’s book “Hail Holy Queen.” It’s a wonderful introduction into Marian devotion and prayer with special attention to the Scriptures. And if you aren’t a book reader or can not afford this book at this time, read THIS zuserver2.star.ucl.ac.uk/~vgg/rc/aplgtc/hahn/m4/m.html
God Bless and Welcome Again!