Difference between revisions of "Prayer"

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[[Category: Religion]]
[[Category: Religion]]
[[Category: Christianity]]
[[Category: Christianity]]

Revision as of 19:12, September 30, 2008

Praying Hands

In Christianity and many other religions, prayer is the process of directly connecting to God, usually for the purpose of deliberate communication.

Through prayer our thoughts and hopes are heard and understood. Oftentimes, prayer will result in feeling God's presence or feeling like one is touched by God. This feeling of a connection is cited by many theists as proof of God's existence. It is through prayer that man can understand God's will in his life and ask God for the courage and strength to carry his message to the world. Prayer is common throughout the Bible in both the Old Testament and the New.

How not to Pray

In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus warned against hypocrisy in prayer:
"And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full."[1]

At the time the religious authorities believed it was necessary to pray at specific times of the day, and would often make sure they were in large crowds of people when those times arose so that they could be seen and heard by all. Jesus did not approve of this.

Jesus also gave instructions on how not to pray:
"And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him."[2]

Pagan prayers at the time believed that there was power in words and continous repetition and if you said a word often enough, then you could eventually own that object or claim that power for yourself. Jesus condemned this.

A guideline of how one should Pray

In Christianity, Jesus gives a guideline of how one should pray to God with The Lord's Prayer:
"Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed by thy name, thy kingdom come, they will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread, forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for thing is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, forever, Amen."[3][4]

Private and Public Prayer

There are many examples in the Bible for praying in private and also for praying within a group, and sometimes even for praying in public.

"But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed." [5]
Jesus praying at Gethsemane
Jesus also instructed:
"But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you."[6]

Even though he was with his disciples, Jesus also went off alone to pray on the Mount of Olives before he was about to be seized and crucified.[7]

There are also many examples in the Bible of group prayer or praying in front of others:

Other religions, and even different traditions within Christianity have developed their own practices related to prayer.[8]

Modern societies often oppose and discourage public prayer. For example, in the United States classroom prayer is forbidden in government schools.

Prayer in other religions

In Hinduism, Prayer is an integral part of the daily living. Chanting of mantras is the most important form of prayer in Hinduism. Some devotees meditate chanting different names of the Gods.


  1. Matt 6:5
  2. Matt 6:7-8
  3. Matt 6:9-13
  4. Instructions for praying
  5. Luke 5:16
  6. Matt 6:6
  7. Luke 22:39-41
  8. "The Modes of Prayer," from the Nazerine Way of Essenic Study [1]

See also

External links