Christians generally pray to God or to the Father. Some Christians e. The Jesus Prayer is also often repeated as part of the meditative hesychasm practice in Eastern Christianity. Roman Catholic tradition includes specific prayers and devotions as acts of reparation which do not involve a petition for a living or deceased beneficiary, but aim to repair the sins of others, e.
Other forms of prayer among Catholics would be meditative prayer, contemplative prayer and infused prayer discussed at length by Catholic Saints St. John of the Cross and St. Theresa of Jesus. In Pentecostal congregations, prayer is often accompanied by speaking in an unknown tongue, a practice now known as glossolalia. George Barton Cutten suggested that glossolalia was a sign of mental illness.
Christian Science teaches that prayer is a spiritualization of thought or an understanding of God and of the nature of the underlying spiritual creation. Adherents believe that this can result in healing, by bringing spiritual reality into clearer focus in the human scene. The world as it appears to the senses is regarded as a distorted version of the world of spiritual ideas. Prayer can heal the distortion.
Christian Scientists believe that prayer does not change the spiritual creation but gives a clearer view of it, and the result appears in the human scene as healing: the human picture adjusts to coincide more nearly with the divine reality. Prayer works through love : the recognition of God's creation as spiritual, intact, and inherently lovable. The Arabic word for prayer is salah. In Islam, there are five daily obligatory prayers that are considered as one of the pillars of the religion.
The command to ritual prayer occurs repeatedly in the Quran. The prayer is performed by the person while they are facing the Kaaba in Mecca. There is the "call for prayer" adhan , where the muezzin calls for all the followers to stand together for the prayer. During the prayer, a Muslim cannot talk or do anything else besides pray. Once the prayer is complete, one can offer personal prayers or supplications to God for their needs that are known as dua.
There are many standard invocations in Arabic to be recited at various times e. Muslims may also say dua in their own words and languages for any issue they wish to communicate with God in the hope that God will answer their prayers. The believers have been enjoined to face in the direction of the Qiblih when reciting their Obligatory Prayer.
The longest obligatory prayer may be recited at any time during the day; another, of medium length, is recited once in the morning, once at midday, and once in the evening; and the shortest can be recited anytime between noon and sunset. In both Buddhism and Hinduism , the repetition of mantras is closely related to the practice of repetitive prayer in Western religion rosary , Jesus prayer. Many of the most widespread Hindu and Buddhist mantras are in origin invocations of deities, e.
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However, from an early time these mantras were interpreted in the context of mystical sound symbolism. The most extreme example of this is the om syllable, which as early as in the Aitareya Brahmana was claimed as equivalent to the entire Vedas collection of ritual hymns. It is largely a ritual expression of wishes for success in the practice and in helping all beings. Moreover, indeterminate buddhas are available for intercession as they reside in awoken-fields Sanskrit: buddha-kshetra.
An active prayer is a mindful activity, an activity in which mindfulness is not just cultivated but is. Universally wishing sentient beings, Friends, foes, and karmic creditors, all to activate the bodhi mind, and all to be reborn in the Pure Land of Ultimate Bliss.
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The Generation Stage Sanskrit: utpatti-krama of Vajrayana involves prayer elements. The Tibetan Buddhism tradition emphasizes an instructive and devotional relationship to a guru; this may involve devotional practices known as guru yoga which are congruent with prayer. It also appears that Tibetan Buddhism posits the existence of various deities, but the peak view of the tradition is that the deities or yidam are no more existent or real than the continuity Sanskrit: santana ; refer mindstream of the practitioner, environment and activity.
But how practitioners engage yidam or tutelary deities will depend upon the level or more appropriately yana at which they are practicing. At one level, one may pray to a deity for protection or assistance, taking a more subordinate role.
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At another level, one may invoke the deity, on a more equal footing. The views of the more esoteric yana are impenetrable for those without direct experience and empowerment. Pure Land Buddhism emphasizes the recitation by devotees of prayer-like mantras , a practice often called Nembutsu.
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According to Shinran , the founder of the Pure Land Buddhism tradition that is most prevalent in the US,  :  "for the long haul nothing is as efficacious as the Nembutsu. But beyond all these practices the Buddha emphasized the primacy of individual practice and experience. He said that supplication to gods or deities was not necessary. Nevertheless, today many lay people in East Asian countries pray to the Buddha in ways that resemble Western prayer—asking for intervention and offering devotion.
Again the object to which prayers are offered could be a persons referred as devtas , trinity or incarnation of either devtas or trinity or simply plain formless meditation as practiced by the ancient sages. These prayers can be directed to fulfilling personal needs or deep spiritual enlightenment, and also for the benefit of others.
Ritual invocation was part and parcel of the Vedic religion and as such permeated their sacred texts. Indeed, the highest sacred texts of the Hindus, the Vedas , are a large collection of mantras and prayer rituals. Classical Hinduism came to focus on extolling a single supreme force, Brahman , that is made manifest in several lower forms as the familiar gods of the Hindu pantheon [ dubious — discuss ]. Hindus in India have numerous devotional movements.
Hindus may pray to the highest absolute God Brahman, or more commonly to its three manifestations, a creator god called Brahma , a preserver god called Vishnu and a destroyer god so that the creation cycle can start afresh Shiva , and at the next level to Vishnu's avatars earthly appearances Rama and Krishna or to many other male or female deities. Typically, Hindus pray with their hands the palms joined together in pranam. In Sikhism, these prayers are also said before and after eating. The prayer is a plea to God to support and help the devotee with whatever he or she is about to undertake or has done.
The Ardas is usually always done standing up with folded hands. When it comes to conclusion of this prayer, the devotee uses words like " Waheguru please bless me in the task that I am about to undertake" when starting a new task or " Akal Purakh , having completed the hymn-singing, we ask for your continued blessings so that we can continue with your memory and remember you at all times", etc.
Wiccan prayers can include meditation, rituals and incantations. Wiccans see prayers as a form of communication with the God and Goddess. Such communication may include prayers for esbat and sabbat celebrations, for dinner, for pre-dawn times or for one's own or others' safety, for healing or for the dead. An initiation ceremony usually involves a Raelian putting water on the forehead of a new member. Such ceremonies take place on certain special days on the Raelian calendar.
In Eckankar , one of the basic forms of prayer includes singing the word "HU" pronounced as "hue" , a holy name of God. ECKists may do this with eyes closed or open, aloud or silently. Practitioners of theurgy and Western esotericism may practice a form of ritual which utilizes both pre-sanctioned prayers and names of God, and prayers "from the heart" that, when combined, allow the participant to ascend spiritually, and in some instances, induce a trance in which God or other spiritual beings may be realized. Very much as in Hermetic Qabalah and orthodox Kabbalah, it is believed that prayer can influence both the physical and non-physical worlds.
The use of ritualistic signs and names are believed to be archetypes in which the subconscious may take form as the Inner God , or another spiritual being, and the "prayer from the heart" to be that spiritual force speaking through the participant. While no dogma within Thelema expresses the purpose behind any individual aspirant who chooses to perform "Resh", note that the practice of "Resh" is not a simple petition toward the sun, nor a form of "worshiping" the celestial body that we call the Sun, but instead uses the positioning of that source of light, which enables life on our planet, as well as using mythological images of that solar force, so that the individual can perform the prayer, possibly furthering a self-identification with the sun, so "that repeated application of the Liber Resh adorations expands the consciousness of the individual by compelling him to take a different perspective, by inducing him to 'look at things from the point of view of the Sun' [ Prayer is often used as a means of faith healing in an attempt to use religious or spiritual means to prevent illness, cure disease , or improve health.
Meta-studies have been performed showing evidence only for no effect or a potentially small effect. For instance, a meta analysis on 14 studies concluded that there is "no discernable effect" while a systemic review of studies on intercessory prayer reported inconclusive results, noting that seven of 17 studies had "small, but significant, effect sizes" but the review noted that the most methodologically rigorous studies failed to produce significant findings.
The efficacy of petition in prayer for physical healing to a deity has been evaluated in numerous other studies, with contradictory results. Some attempt to heal by prayer, mental practices, spiritual insights, or other techniques, claiming they can summon divine or supernatural intervention on behalf of the ill. Others advocate that ill people may achieve healing through prayer performed by themselves. Faith healing has been criticized on the grounds that those who use it may delay seeking potentially curative conventional medical care.
This is particularly problematic when parents use faith healing techniques on children. In , Francis Galton conducted a famous statistical experiment to determine whether prayer had a physical effect on the external environment. Galton hypothesized that if prayer was effective, members of the British Royal family would live longer, given that thousands prayed for their wellbeing every Sunday.
He therefore compared longevity in the British Royal family with that of the general population, and found no difference. Two studies claimed that patients who are being prayed for recover more quickly or more frequently although critics have claimed that the methodology of such studies are flawed, and the perceived effect disappears when controls are tightened. One of the largest randomized, blind clinical trials was a remote retroactive intercessory prayer study conducted in Israel by Leibovici.
This study used patient records from —96, and blindly assigned some of these to an intercessory prayer group. The prayer group had shorter hospital stays and duration of fever. Several studies of prayer effectiveness have yielded null results.