Kinds Of Prayer

Prayer has been a part of human spirituality for as long back as history goes. Different religions put forward different means through which their followers are to communicate with what or who they consider omnipotent. Most world religions prescribe fixed rituals that their followers are expected to adhere to when they are looking to engage in spiritual communication. Although most religions prescribe different kinds of prayer, the purpose behind them is largely the same – that is to repent, thank and express desires from who one considers omnipotent.

Islam requires its followers to engage in compulsory prayers, or salah, five times a day. The normal prayer ritual involves reading passages out of the Islamic holy book, the Qur’an. Having a pure intention for praying is an essential part of Muslim faith. Believers are required to engage in ablution before they engage in salah as physical purity is believed to please Allah. An important part of Muslim prayer is adhering to the strict timings set out for each of the five daily prayers. Muslims are encouraged to pray in congregation rather than in solitude, and Friday prayer is held in reverence by many worshippers.

The world’s most subscribed-to religion, unlike Islam, has many kinds of prayer that are generally private in nature. Christians believe that when they are praying, they are directly and personally conversing with God. The Bible states that Christ believed that only those who were hypocrites engaged in loud and public prayers. Although Sunday masses and special holidays entail collective prayer, Christians are free to pray in solitude whenever they see fit.

Judaism, like all other Abrahamic religions, requires its followers to engage in various kinds of prayer. The most common prayer in Judaism entails followers standing up and taking three steps forward, which are believed to represent a desire to become closer to God. In Judaism, special occasions have different prayers as compared to typical days. Jews generally engage in special prayers on Saturday and holidays including Pesach and Hanukkah.  Although many Jewish prayers are recited in Synagogues in congregation, the most significant kinds of prayer in Judaism, including the Birkat Ha-Mazon, are recited in solitude.

Hinduism pays particular importance to not only the content of prayers, but also the sound that are made when people are reciting them in congregation. Many Hindus believe that if prayers are not recited properly, not only will they bring no benefit to the person, but they may also harm them. Different kinds of prayer are offered to different gods in Hindu tradition. Traditionally, Hindus perform prayers three times in a day – in the morning, afternoon and evening.

Although Buddhists do not pray to a creator god, their devotional practices are often referred to as kinds of prayer. The Buddhist prayer, so to speak, traditionally involves a combination of chants, meditation and the reading of sacred verses. Meditation is mostly done in solitude, whereas chanting is done in groups. The main purpose of Buddhist prayer is to cultivate the consciousness of the person reciting it.