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What is Prayer?

Prayer is an invocation or act that seeks to establish a relationship with an object of worship through deliberate communication. In its most limited sense, the term refers to an act of supplication or intercession directed at a deity or a deified ancestor. In general, prayer can also be used to express gratitude or praise, and it is closely associated with more abstract forms of meditation as well as charms or spells in comparative religion. Prayer can take many forms: it can be performed alone or in groups, it can be part of a set liturgy or ritual, and it can be performed as part of a set liturgy or ritual. Prayer can take the form of a hymn, incantation, formal creedal statement, or the praying person’s spontaneous utterance. The act of praying has been documented in written sources as far back as 5000 years. Most major religions today include prayer in some form or another; some ritualize the act, requiring a strict sequence of actions or limiting who is permitted to pray, while others teach that prayer can be practised spontaneously by anyone at any time. Scientific research on the use of prayer has primarily focused on its effect on the healing of sick or injured people. Numerous studies have been conducted to assess the efficacy of prayer in faith healing, with contradictory results.


Prayer refers to an act of invocation that seeks to open a conversation with an object of worship through a deliberate effort. In a more specific sense, the word is used to denote an act of intercession or supplication towards a deity or an ancestor. In other contexts, Prayer can also be used for thanksgiving or praise. In comparative religion, the term is sometimes associated with meditation and spells.

Prayers can be classified into a variety of forms. They can be a part of a ritual or liturgy, or they can be performed by an individual alone or in a group. Notably, it can take the form of a hymn, a formal creedal statement, an incantation, or a spontaneous utterance in a praying session.

The act of Prayer can be dated back almost 5,000 years ago. Today, most religions involve the action of Prayer through one performance or the other. Some perform a strict sequence of events, while others ritualize the act. Some religions put restrictions on who and who isn’t allowed to pray, while others preach that this act can be practiced spontaneously by anyone at any time.

Prayers have been most prominently used for healing sick and injured people. The efficacy of this healing is studied by various scientific studies, with contradictory results.

Act Of Prayer

Acts of prayer vary from one spiritual tradition to another. Such devotional acts range from morning and evening Prayers and reverent physical gestures to saying graces over meals. In Christianity, some followers are instructed to bow their heads and fold their hands. Some Sufis whirl, some Hindus chant Mantras, and some Native Americans consider dancing as their form of Prayer. Muslim Prayers consist of bowing, kneeling, and prostration in other contexts. Jewish Prayer involves swaying back and forth and bowing before a deity. Other than this, Quakers stay silent. While some pray according to standard rituals and rules, others pray with extravagant performances, and some even combine the two.

According to his systematic ‘Typology of Prayer,’ Friedrich Heiler, a German theologian, and historian of religion, postulates six primary types of Prayers that are - primitive, philosophical, mystical, ritual, Greek cultural, and prophetic. A few acts of worship require prior cleansing or purification rituals, such as in ghusl and wudhu.

Prayer as an act can be done individually and privately, or one can also do it in the presence of fellow believers. This act can be Incorporated into a person’s daily schedule through which they can be in constant contact with God. Some people even pray throughout the day in order to seek guidance on how to progress in their lives. Sometimes, praying throughout the day is a requirement in numerous Christian denominations.

One can interpret a Prayer’s answer in different ways. While some experience audible, physical answers, others experience mental epiphanies. Some acts that are known to be associated with Prayers are — anointing with oil, lighting a candle or candles, ringing a bell, making a sign of the cross, fasting, burning incense or paper, etc.

The act of Prayer can be associated with a spectrum of body postures that are often connected with a specific meaning. Some of these body postures are - sitting, kneeling, standing, prostrate on the floor, hands folded or clasped, hands upraised, eyes opened, eyes closed, holding hands with others, laying on of hands, etc.

Prayers can be a verbal recitation from memory, or they can be read from a book. Additionally, they can also be spontaneously composed as they are prayed. As far as the act is concerned, they can be said, sung, or chanted, with or without musical accompaniments. Sometimes, Prayers also fit certain occasions. Occasions that call for specific Prayers are - the blessing of a meal, the birth of someone, the death of someone, and other significant events in a believer’s life. Other than this, days with special religious significance also call for particular Prayers.


The history of Prayer is very closely associated with the idea of surrender and supplication. In medieval Europe, the traditional posture related to Prayer was kneeling with clasped stands, more typically with raised hands. The early Christian Prayer posture was looking up to heaven while standing with any individual’s arms outstretched and head bear.

Even though Prayer in its literal sense is not used in the concept of animism, the act of communicating with the spirit world is integral to the animist way of living. This act is usually accomplished through a medium such as a shaman. A shaman engages in a trance in order to gain access to the spirit world, which in turn allows the people to see the thoughts of the spirits. Other ways of receiving messages from the spirits include utilizing astrology or contemplating fortune-tellers and healers.

Prayer Healing

The idea of Prayer is often recognized as a means of faith healing. This is an attempt to utilize spiritual and religious means to prevent illness, improve one’s health, and cure diseases.

Several scientific studies have postulated that Prayer’s utilization for these results mainly concentrates on its effect on healing sick and injured people. The act of healing is done through Prayer, mental practices, spiritual insights, or other techniques.

Many believers have claimed that they can summon divine or supernatural interventions on behalf of the sick if these Prayers are performed according to the ritual. Other than this, some people also advocate that sick people can invoke divine intervention themselves. They can also achieve healing through the Prayers they perform if their motivations are honest enough.

According to a spectrum of beliefs, people who practice their faith either heal from their sickness gradually or experience a sudden miracle cure due to their praying efforts. A Prayer healing can be used in place of conventional medical techniques for curing diseases. Faith healing has faced a lot of criticism on the grounds that people who use it may delay seeking the potential cure of their conditions from conventional medicine.

Michael Angel



Jegudiel Angel
Asbeel Angel