Our prayer to God is a reverent petition to God; it is an object of worship, sometime a part of spirituality related pursuit. You can say it is a spiritual communion with God or an object of worship, as in supplication, thanksgiving, adoration, or confession. It is a call in specially worded form of asking a favor; an earnest request or entreaty; it is converse with God; the intercourse of the soul with God, not in contemplation or meditation, but in direct address to him. Prayer may be oral or mental, occasional or constant, ejaculatory or formal. It is a beseeching the Lord; pouring out the soul before the Lord. Through prayers, you cry to heaven; you are seeking unto God and making supplication. This way, you are drawing near to God.
Prayer presupposes a belief in the personality of God, his ability and willingness to hold intercourse with us, His personal control of all things and of all His creatures and all their actions. It is presumed that acceptable prayer must be sincere, offered with reverence and godly fear, with a humble sense of our own insignificance as creatures and of our own unworthiness as sinners, with earnest importunity, and with unhesitating submission to the divine will. Prayer must also be offered in the faith that God is, and is the hearer and answerer of prayer, and that He will fulfill His word. Just you ask sincerely, and you shall receive, it is believed.
Kinds of Prayer
Prayer is of different kinds, secret, social, as family prayers, and in social worship; and public, in the service of the sanctuary. Prayer may be done privately and individually, or it may be done corporately in the presence of fellow believers. Prayer can be incorporated into a daily “thought life,” in which one is in constant communication with a god. Some people pray throughout all that is happening during the day and seek guidance as the day progresses. This is actually regarded as a requirement in several Christian denominations, although enforcement is neither possible nor desirable. There can be many different answers to prayer, just as there are many ways to interpret an answer to a question, if there, in fact, comes an answer. Some may experience audible, physical, or mental epiphanies. If indeed an answer comes, the time and place it comes is considered random.
Rules of Prayer
Some outward acts that sometimes accompany prayer are: anointing with oil; ringing a bell; burning incense or paper; lighting a candle or candles; facing a specific direction (i.e. towards Mecca or the East); making the sign of the cross and fasting.No rules are anywhere in Scripture laid down for the manner of prayer or the attitude to be assumed by the suppliant. There is mention made of kneeling, bowing and spreading out the hands, and of standing. Specific forms of this may include praise, requesting guidance or assistance, confessing sins, as an act of reparation or an expression of one’s thoughts and emotions. The words used in prayer may take the form of intercession, a hymn, incantation or a spontaneous utterance in the person’s praying words. Praying can be done in public, as a group, or in private. Most major religions in the world involve prayer in one way or another in their rituals. Although in many cases the act of prayer is ritualized and must be followed through a sometimes strict sequence of actions (even going as far as restricting who may pray), other religions, mainly the Abrahamic religions, teach that prayer can be done spontaneously by anyone at any moment.
Various spiritual traditions offer a wide variety of devotional acts. There are morning and evening prayers, graces said over meals, and reverent physical gestures. Some Christians bow their heads and fold their hands. Some Native Americans regard dancing as a form of prayer. Some Sufis whirl. Hindus chant mantras. Orthodox Jews sway their bodies back and forth and Muslims kneel and prostrate. Quakers keep silent. Some pray according to standardized rituals and liturgies, while others prefer extemporaneous prayers. Still others combine the two. These methods show a variety of understandings to prayer, which are led by underlying beliefs. These beliefs may be that the finite can actually communicate with the infinite, that the infinite is interested in communicating with the finite, that prayer is intended to inculcate certain attitudes in the one who prays, rather than to influence the recipient, that prayer is intended to train a person to focus on the recipient through philosophy and intellectual contemplation, that prayer is intended to enable a person to gain a direct experience of the recipient, that prayer is intended to affect the very fabric of reality as we perceive it, that prayer is a catalyst for change in one’s self and/or one’s circumstances, or likewise those of third party beneficiaries, that the recipient desires and appreciates prayer, or any combination of these.
A variety of body postures may be assumed, often with specific meaning (mainly respect or adoration) associated with them: standing; sitting; kneeling; prostrate on the floor; eyes opened; eyes closed; hands folded or clasped; hands upraised; holding hands with others; a laying on of hands and others. Prayers may be recited from memory, read from a book of prayers, or composed spontaneously as they are prayed. They may be said, chanted, or sung. They may be with musical accompaniment or not. There may be a time of outward silence while prayers are offered mentally. Often, there are prayers to fit specific occasions, such as the blessing of a meal, the birth or death of a loved one, other significant events in the life of a believer, or days of the year that have special religious significance.
It is, however, believed that whatever the form you adopt for prayers, they must be with sincere heart. Once you do it sincerely, it is answered in due course of time. Abraham’s servant prayed to God, and God directed him to the person who should be wife to his master’s son and heir. Jacob prayed to God, and God inclined the heart of his irritated brother, so that they met in peace and friendship. Samson prayed to God, and God showed him a well where he quenched his burning thirst, and so lived to judge Israel David prayed, and God defeated the counsel of Ahithophel . Daniel prayed, and God enabled him both to tell Nebuchadnezzar his dream and to give the interpretation of it. Nehemiah prayed, and God inclined the heart of the king of Persia to grant him leave of absence to visit and rebuild Jerusalem. Esther and Mordecai prayed, and God defeated the purpose of Haman, and saved the Jews from destruction. The believers in Jerusalem prayed, and God opened the prison doors and set Peter at liberty, when Herod had resolved upon his death. Paul prayed that the thorn in the flesh might be removed, and his prayer brought a large increase of spiritual strength, while the thorn perhaps remained.
Significance of Prayer
Prayer connects us with the Supreme. Many situations and challenges in life help us realize that we are merely playing our role in the stage of life. Nonetheless, in our daily life, we consider ourselves to be the master of both our actions and the results thereof, but over our actions but not of the result. We wonder about the result even before any actions but not of the result. We wonder about the result even before any action is taken and thus lose focus. Prayer is an act of surrender to the Supreme; we stoop in order to be elevated; we bow with utmost reverence, exemplifying utmost humility to the Almighty. The power of prayer is tremendous and helps us overcome the toughest of challenges, hurdles and misfortunes. The principle in life is to put in the best in our efforts and surrender our actions to the Lord for He would take care of the rest.
A prayer is a most pious act. The sheer act of praying is associated with purity; we purify ourselves by praying. The sincerity and honesty, with which we pray, disappear after we end the prayer. We perform our daily duties routinely, very differently from the act of varying. Consequently we tend to become insincere to the religious principles. We get back from life what we give to life. Our life involves others also and many a time the helping hand extend to others is promoted by selfishness. The issue which bothers us is whether we have gained something and if so, how much, from any given situation. Prayer is an activity which gives immense satisfaction. While we pray, we feel content and satisfied, but the satisfaction dissipates fast enough. Generally, we pray for our well-being in terms of health, wealth happiness and peace. Many a time, we look beyond ourselves too. Since we are genuinely concerned about our near and dear one, we pray for their well-being also. However, we never apply this concept to the wider circle of people in our lives with whom we interact daily or even those we infrequently interact with.
Most often, we disguise our jealousy with superficial expression of happiness, a smile or a few words of appreciation when we learn of the happiness of others. Just as in a prayer, the principle in life is to feel and be truly happy in others happiness. Only then can we have a sense of genuine well-being and sustain the satisfaction. Traditionally, praying has been a ritual, being performed daily or weekly in most house-holds. It enriches the person, brings happiness and helps us to remain calm and contented in adverse conditions. A life well lived does not necessarily imply living a materialistic, consumptive life; it could also mean living a satisfied, happy, peaceful and enriched life. Thus, understanding the meaning and essence of life and setting right goals and priorities accordingly are essential. Prayer invokes religious sentiments and religious thoughts, reduce rates of cheating in games and increased trust between strangers.
A prayer group is a group of people that meet to pray together. These groups, formed mostly within Christian congregations but occasionally among Muslim groups as well, gather outside of the congregation’s regular worship service to pray for perceived needs, sometimes within the congregation, sometimes within their religious group at large. However, these groups often pray also for the world around them, including people who do not share their beliefs.
Many prayer group meetings are held according to a regular schedule, usually once a week. However, extraordinary events, such as the September 11 attacks or major disasters spawned a number of improvised prayer group meetings. Prayer groups do not need to meet in person, and there is a vast array of single-purpose prayer groups in the world.
Be happy – We may do prayer for our happiness since it connects to the Supreme.