Expressing a deep wish, showing forgiveness or thankfulness to one's own luck, one's universe, divinity or other entity of spiritual worship.
Personally, it often becomes, "Do what you think is right, but don't expect me to agree."

A teaching of Jesus' during The Sermon on the Mount

This follows on from the charity teachings: Do not make a big show of your faith, everyone seeing you worship does not make you more devout or faithful. Simple Prayer in private means that you feel things more in your heart, and God will notice that.

This gives voice to a problem I have with... "vocal" Christians. The people who will go on TV and shout and scream about divine revenge and absolutions. It's wrong to do so, but I wonder at their motives for this.

A Prayer
- Author Unknown

Dear God,if You could only spare the time
To let my pet lie down beside Your feet,
If You could pat his head and let him in
Or send and angel to the gate to meet him
When he comes, lost and forlorn;
If you could help him in any way, I would be glad
For he had never been alone until today
And even in Heaven, I know he will be sad
Without my voice to chase his fears away.
He'll miss our reassuring hand upon his head.
You see, we were inseparable, and now
He will not understand being dead.
I do not understand it well myself.
O please, dear God, give him a place to wait
Through the longs years, a patient ghost,
Until the day I meet him at your gate.

The 1998 debut album of the Japanese new age techno pop duo Uttara-Kuru. As with all Pacific Moon albums, the jewel case contains Nippon Kodo incense for esentuating the already pleasurable experience of this fucking awesome recording. A prayer kanji is depicted on the front of the album cover.

1. Wintry Wind 2. Fudosan 3. Tsugaru 4. Mendicant Priest 5. Cocoro 6. Nightpiece 7. Shrine 8. Tsugaru (reprise) 9. Mendicant Priest (remix) 10. Afterimage

Prayer is very important in a muslim's life, and is one of the Five Pillars of Islam.

The mandatory prayers are called Salat, and must be performed five times a day at dawn, noon, mid-afternoon, sunset and nightfall.

There are no priests in Islam, so prayers are led by a learned person chosen by the congregation or they are done alone. Prayers are spoken from the Quran in Arabic, but small personal prayers can be said in any language.

Every organized prayer begins with the Call to Prayer in Arabic, which translates to:

God is most great. God is most great.

God is most great. God is most great.

I testify that there is no god except God.

I testify that there is no god except God.

I testify that Muhammad is the messenger of God.

I testify that Muhammad is the messenger of God.

Come to prayer! Come to prayer!

Come to success (in this life and the Hereafter)!

Come to success!

God is most great. God is most great.

There is no god except God.

I was raised as a Roman Catholic. I was active in the church community, sang in the folk choir, and read from the bible during service. Through the process, I felt connected with something larger than my self. Sometime around my eighteenth birthday I sliently abandoned the notion of an all pervasive universal will, tuned to my supplications. It most likely had something to do with reading the Tao Te Ching, a book which told me to forget all about context and focus on the presence of divine mystery all around. The simple poetry and subtle humour I found in the Tao were a welcome release from the heavy lessons and violent drama of the Bible. I stopped praying and stopped going to church. I haven't really been able to do either since. The whole concept of religion seemed to be nothing but a very complex set of blinders I'd been wearing, or at the very best, an entire paradigm into which I'd have had to fit everything else I ever experienced. The whole concept seemed very limiting. An infinite sea of mystery, with me helplessly stranded on the shore. I instinctively felt there was so much more to it all that Christianity could never touch on. Prayer was a part of the whole mess, so it was discarded as well. If no one's listening, what's the point?

It's been about eight years since then, and in the interim I've cobbled together what I imagine is a sort of holistic spirituality comprised of everything from Hinduism to Heinlen, discarding the dogma and retaining the archetypical symbolism of anything that I found beautiful or uplifting. I now have what I think is an open system of worldviews from all cultures (kind of a lazy man's ideological toolkit) that I can use to try and make sense of the universe and everything in it. There's still something missing, though. While I'm fairly certain I can never go back to what ultimately boils down to a state of blind faith in any one system, a terrible void has been left inside of me where prayer used to be.

I was pondering this very void tonight, thinking of how much I used to enjoy prayer, and wondering why. And then I remembered exactly what it felt like.

It was passion.

Through the lens of God as I had envisioned him, I was able to meditate on the circumstances and possibilities of my life and the things that I so desperately wanted to happen in it. Passion and despair, straining against the limits of the self. Perhaps faith is not knowing that God/Bhudda/Bob/Gaia/etc. exists, but simply that one does not know, and most likely never will-- in that case it is an act of surrender. Surrender of the self, and everything one thinks one knows to whatever hidden core of being lies within.

Beyond everything thought or read or written or heard or said or done, there is a burning heart.

That was what prayer was to me.

I pray that it may it be so again.

'Prayer' by C. S. Lewis

Mr. Lewis never published his own poetry book while alive but one was comprised for him years after his death by a man named Walter Hooper (who made a lot of C. S. Lewis compilations). Most of the work comes from single poems that Lewis did in magazines and newspapers such as: The Cambridge Review, The Oxford Magazine, The Spectator, Time and Tide, etc. (in which case he sometimes used fake names like Clive Hamilton and Nat Whilk). After Lewis converted to Christianity he still had inside of himself many doubts and frustrations about the world religion. One of his biggest worries was the idea of prayer. Not only in this poem but also in his collected group of letters entitled "Letters to Malcom" did he talk about the subject. He also spoke about the confusing puzzle of petitionary prayer in "The Seeing Eye" (Chapter entitled Petitionary Prayer: A Problem Without an Answer ). With all of this said, Lewis was uneasy about prayer: what it meant, if it transcended time or not, what was the use, if we could get anything we asked for etc. Because of these things he started thinking (or perhaps praying) about the issue and like water from the tap this poem came rushing out:

Master they say that when I seem
To be in speech with you,
Since you make no replies, it's all a dream
-One talker aping two.

They are half right, but not as they
Imagine; rather, I
Seek in myself the things I meant to say,
And lo! the wells are dry.

Then, seeing me empty, you forsake
The Listener's role, and through
My dead lips breath and into utterance wake
The thoughts I never knew.

And thus you neither need reply
Nor can; thus, while we seem
Two talking, thou art One forever, and I
No dreamer, but thy dream.

This poem meant wonders to me because of the idea of God's role in my own faith. For (1) I never thought that God would give me words to say to himself, for that seems prideful; but indeed if it is the HS (Holy Spirit) talking to the father then where can we go wrong? And even if this be not the case, if it is not one part of the Trinity talking to the other, then we may well understand the idea better through analogy. Consider this: Many children want to give good gifts to their parents on Christmas but children do not make money and children do not know how to wrap presents (I know from experience). And though a parent may help the child wrap the present and though the parent may provide the money for the gift for themselves, in no way is the feeble love of the child overlooked. And (2) this poem has showed me that so many times once we have penciled our doubt onto paper, or into thought; once we really ask a question I have no doubt that God will provide an answer. And many times that answer is not going to blink bright on a television show or on a billboard.

Atheism and prayer

A lot of people seem to believe that agnosticism and atheism are incompatible with prayer. This is not only not true, this is what we in the common sense business like to call hella not true.

Here's the low down; people benefit from prayer, and an atheist believes that these people are benefiting from prayer even though there is no god. Once you start viewing it from this angle, the benefits of prayer are easy to see -- in fact much easier to see. If you believe that prayer is something akin to writing a wishlist to Santa, it looks pretty foolish when adults do it. Removing this false belief lets anyone, atheist or believer, to make better sense of the whole matter.

Praying as ethical metacognition: One of the most obvious benefits of prayer is simply making the explicit statement, "here is what I want. What would a perfectly wise person think of it?" Hopefully, this sort of framing highlights the benefit of the veil of ignorance, of universal consideration, and steers your thoughts away from the purely selfish. Both the true believer and the atheist would say that if your prayers are always selfish, you are doing it wrong.

Prayer as meditation and ritual: Stopping to think about how your life is going and what would make it run better is a good thing. You should do this. Some people do it through journaling, some people do it through visiting a therapist, and some people do it through prayer. It is tempting to label this as simply metacognition, and it would be fair to do so, but the calming and recentering aspect of prayer is a central aspect of this form of metacognition. I would also lump things like thought stopping and coffee breaks as general forms of self-calming and self-moderation akin to prayer.

Prayer as community building: Prayer and other forms of giving thanks -- before meals, during social gatherings, and during significant life events -- give recognition that coming together as a unified group is special and noteworthy. Just as the idealized 'perfectly wise' person is important, and you yourself are important, this form of prayer confirms that the community is likewise important.

As you can see, all of these aspects appear in activities other than traditional religious praying, but can be subsumed in prayer, and can be assumed to be part of the reason any person prays. Being religious is not necessary to pray, and prayer is not necessary to be religious; but these are the types of things that humans do, by whatever name they call them.

Pray"er (?), n.

One who prays; a supplicant.


© Webster 1913.

Prayer [OE. preiere, OF. preiere, F. priere, fr. L. precarius obtained by prayer, fr. precari to pray. See Pray, v. i.]


The act of praying, or of asking a favor; earnest request or entreaty; hence, a petition or memorial addressed to a court or a legislative body.

"Their meek preyere."



The act of addressing supplication to a divinity, especially to the true God; the offering of adoration, confession, supplication, and thanksgiving to the Supreme Being; as, public prayer; secret prayer.

As he is famed for mildness, peace, and prayer. Shak.


The form of words used in praying; a formula of supplication; an expressed petition; especially, a supplication addressed to God; as, a written or extemporaneous prayer; to repeat one's prayers.

He made those excellent prayers which were published immediately after his death. Bp. Fell.

Prayer book, a book containing devotional prayers. -- Prayer meeting, a meeting or gathering for prayer to God.

Syn. -- Petition; orison; supplication; entreaty; suit.


© Webster 1913.

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