Prayer is an invocation or act that seeks to activate a rapport with a deity, an object of worship, or a spiritual entity through deliberate communication. Prayer can be a form of religious practice, may be either individual or communal and take place in public or in private. It may involve the use of words or song. When language is used, prayer may take the form of a hymn, incantation, formal creed, or a spontaneous utterance in the praying person. There are different forms of prayer such as petitionary prayer, prayers of supplication, thanksgiving, and worship/praise. Prayer may be directed towards a deity, spirit, deceased person, or lofty idea, for the purpose of worshipping, requesting guidance, requesting assistance, confessing sins or to express one's thoughts and emotions. Thus, people pray for many reasons such as personal benefit or for the sake of others. Yoga is also a common form of prayer.

Most major religions involve prayer in one way or another. Some ritualize the act of prayer, requiring a strict sequence of actions or placing a restriction on who is permitted to pray, while others teach that prayer may be practiced spontaneously by anyone at any time.

Scientific studies regarding the use of prayer have mostly concentrated on its effect on the healing of sick or injured people. Meta-studies of the studies in this field have been performed showing evidence only for no effect or a potentially small effect. For instance, a 2006 meta analysis on 14 studies concluded that there is "no discernable effect" while a 2007 systemic review of intercessory prayer reported inconclusive results, noting that 7 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. There has been some criticism of the way the studies were conducted.

Read more about Prayer:  Forms of Prayer, The Act of Worship, Eastern Religions, Animism, Neopaganism, Theurgy and Western Esotericism, Prayer Groups, Prayer Healing

Other articles related to "prayer, prayers":

Prayer, Meditation And Contemplation In Christianity - Hierarchy of Prayer Forms - Contemplation
... In contemplative prayer, this activity is curtailed, so that contemplation has been described as "a gaze of faith", "a silent love" ...
... consists of the prescribed movements and words followed by Muslims while offering prayers to Allah of Arabia ... In the concluding portion of the prayers, the worshiper recites "Peace be upon you, and Allah of Arabia's blessing" once while facing the right, and once while the face is turned to the left ... of the importance of others around them, both in the mosque (if the prayer is being offered at mosque), and in the rest of the world ...
Venkatachalapathi Samuldrala - Prayer
... of Ohio invited Samuldrala to offer the opening prayer n September 14, 2000 to coincide with an address to a joint session of Congress by the Prime Minister of India Atal Bihari Vajpayee (the ... He opened the House's day with the following prayer "O God, You are Omnipresent, Omnipotent, and Omniscient ... We end this invocation with a prayer from the ancient scriptures of India May all be happy May all be free from disease May all realize what is good May none be subject to ...
Glorious Mysteries - Approved Form - Variations and Common Pious Additions
... See also Rosary based prayers Some Catholics recite the Fatima Decade Prayer at the end of each decade ... Some add the Miraculous Medal prayer "O Mary, conceived without sin..." or the Fatima Ave refrain ("Ave, Ave, Ave Maria! Ave, Ave, Ave Maria!") ... Others add a praying of a pious Eucharistic prayer "O Sacrament Most Holy, O Sacrament Divine, All praise and all thanksgiving be every moment Thine" at the end of each decade ...
Dawud - Importance of David in Islam
... him on the Temple Mount, while he searched for the Mihrab Dawud (David's prayer-niche) to perform a prayer ... In a hadis, the prayer and fasting of David is mentioned to be dear to God ... Narrated Abdullah bin 'Amr bin Al-'As Allah's Apostle told me, "The most beloved prayer to Allah is that of David and the most beloved fasts to Allah are those of David ...

Famous quotes containing the word prayer:

    I believe if we introduced the Lord’s Prayer here, senators would propose a large number of amendments to it.
    Henry Wilson (1812–1875)

    But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will name him John. You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He must never drink wine or strong drink; even before his birth he will be filled with the Holy Spirit.
    Bible: New Testament, Luke 1:13-15.

    The religion of England is part of good-breeding. When you see on the continent the well-dressed Englishman come into his ambassador’s chapel and put his face for silent prayer into his smooth-brushed hat, you cannot help feeling how much national pride prays with him, and the religion of a gentleman.
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882)