I understand that Muslims are supposed to pray 5 times a day, and every time you are supposed to do the Salat and face towards the Kaaba in Mecca.
I'm wondering, is it essential to pray towards Mecca? In Catholicism, when we go to church we pray towards the Eucharist and the Tabernacle, because we believe that the tabernacle contains God and the Eucharist IS God.
However if we are out on the street or at home or anywhere other than church, we don't feel the need to pray in any particular direction, because we believe that God is everywhere (omnipresent), and knows everything (omniscient) including our prayers and thoughts, therefore he will hear anything we pray regardless of what direction we are facing at the time.
I'm wondering if this is possible in Islam? Can you just fire off a few quick prayers without turning to face the Kaaba every time? For example a Christian might be sitting an exam; as they enter the exam room and take their seat they might close their eyes and pray a quick prayer asking for God to give them strength and Wisdom and Grace and bless their performance in this exam. Could a Muslim do this same thing? Or would they have to leave their seat and face Mecca for their prayer to be heard by God?