You're always welcomed to ask anything you want , Blythe.
Prayers , the second pillar of Islam and what makes a muslim ... a muslim.
The best way to describe the act is ... Its a ritual performed 5 times a day. These times are pre-determined and cannot be altered. But we'll get to that shortly.
First what is a Prayer? ( In arabic we call it , Salat )
Now forgive my lack of vocabulary in this section but I'll do my best to describe it.
A prayer consists of certain positions a muslim do in a specific pattern while chanting prayers to communicate with god.
It starts with everyone standing still with their hands on their chests. Followed by a bow. Then standing up again , then kneeling , then sitting , kneeling again , and then standing up again. This is called a Rak'ah. Which is what prayers consists of. ( Though every even numbered Rak'ah has a second sitting following the second kneeling. )
Each prayer has a different number of Raka'ahs required.
The first prayer of the day which should be done during Dawn ( When the first dim light from the east shows until the sunrises. ) And this one consists of two Rak'ahs.
The second prayer of the day should be done in the afternoon. ( When your shadow falls right beneath you , until your shadow is as tall as you are. ) And this one consists of four Rak'ahs.
The third prayer of the day should be done before evening. ( When your shadow becomes as long as you , till its twice as long as you are. ) And this one also consists of four Rak'ahs.
The fourth prayer of the day should be done when the sun sits , until the last light of day fades from the west. ) And this one consists of three Rak'ahs.
The fifth prayer of the day and the last one must be done from the fading of the day's last light , till midnight. ) And it consists of four Rak'ahs.
The times mentioned with each Prayer are mandatory , and a Muslim must perform his prayer within the time given or else he's a sinner. Though he must still do the prayer even if the time passes , but it still counts as a sin. ( Though in some verses in Qur'an it is mentioned that God will forgive as he see fit. )
Its hard to put a specific time for each prayer , as the difference between day and night across the world differs from one region to another. But the signs given to measure the time still applies everywhere ... well mostly.
In most countries once the mark for each prayer is reached , they'll call for prayer and everyone will gather at mosques to perform the prayer. However , contrary to most belief , it is alright to do it one minute away from the time allowed. But I guess most people just want to be safe and also get done with it immediately.
Hope this answers your question.