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Christian prayer is an important activity in Christianity, and there are several different forms used for this practice.[1]

Christian prayers are diverse: they can be completely spontaneous, or read entirely from a text, such as from a breviary, which contains the canonical hours that are said at fixed prayer times. While praying, certain gestures usually accompany the prayers, including folding one's hands, bowing one's head, kneeling (often in the kneeler of a pew in corporate worship or in the kneeler of a prie-dieu in private worship), and prostration.

The most common prayer among Christians is the "Lord's Prayer", which according to the gospel accounts (e.g. Matthew 6:9-13) is how Jesus taught his disciples to pray.[2] The injunction for Christians to pray the Lord's prayer thrice daily was given in Didache 8, 2 f.,[3][4] which, in turn, was influenced by the Jewish practice of praying thrice daily found in the Old Testament, specifically in Psalm 55:17, which suggests "evening and morning and at noon", and Daniel 6:10, in which the prophet Daniel prays thrice a day.[3][4][5] The early Christians thus came to recite the Lord's Prayer thrice a day at 9 am, 12 pm, and 3 pm, supplanting the former Amidah predominant in the Hebrew tradition;[6][7][8] as such, in Christianity, many Lutheran and Anglican churches ring their church bells from belltowers three times a day: in the morning, at noon and in the evening summoning the Christian faithful to recite the Lord’s Prayer.[9][10][11]

From the time of the early Church, the practice of seven fixed prayer times have been taught; in Apostolic Tradition, Hippolytus instructed Christians to pray seven times a day "on rising, at the lighting of the evening lamp, at bedtime, at midnight" and "the third, sixth and ninth hours of the day, being hours associated with Christ's Passion."[12][13][14][15] Oriental Orthodox Christians, such as Copts and Indians, use a breviary such as the Agpeya and Shehimo to pray the canonical hours seven times a day at fixed prayer times while facing in the eastward direction, in anticipation of the Second Coming of Jesus; this Christian practice has its roots in Psalm 118:164, in which the prophet David prays to God seven times a day.[16][17] Church bells enjoin Christians to pray at these hours.[18] Before praying, they wash their hands and face in order to be clean before and present their best to God; shoes are removed in order to acknowledge that one is offering prayer before a holy God.[19][20] In these Christian denominations, and in many others as well, it is customary for women to wear a Christian headcovering when praying.[21][22] Many Christians have historically hung a Christian cross on the eastern wall of their houses to indicate the eastward direction of prayer during these seven prayer times.[23][12][24]

There are two basic settings for Christian prayer: corporate (or public) and private. Corporate prayer includes prayer shared within the worship setting or other public places, especially on the Lord's Day on which many Christian assemble collectively. These prayers can be formal written prayers, such as the liturgies contained in the Lutheran Service Book and Book of Common Prayer, as well as informal ejaculatory prayers or extemporaneous prayers, such as those offered in Methodist camp meetings. Private prayer occurs with the individual praying either silently or aloud within the home setting; the use of a daily devotional and prayer book in the private prayer life of a Christian is common. In Western Christianity, the prie-dieu has been historically used for the purpose of private prayer and many Christian homes possess home altars in the area where these are placed.[25][26] In Eastern Christianity, believers often keep icon corners at which they pray, which are on the eastern wall of the house.[27] Among Old Ritualists, a prayer rug known as a Podruchnik is used to keep one's face and hands clean during prostrations, as these parts of the body are used to make the sign of the cross.[28] Spontaneous prayer in Christianity, often done in private settings, follows the basic form of adoration, contrition, thanksgiving and supplication, abbreviated as A.C.T.S.[29]

Background

Prayer in the New Testament is presented as a positive command (Colossians 4:2; 1 Thessalonians 5:17). The people of God are challenged to include prayer in their everyday life, even in the busy struggles of marriage (1 Corinthians 7:5) as it is thought to bring the faithful closer to God. Throughout the New Testament, prayer is shown to be God's appointed method by which the faithful obtain what he has to bestow (Matthew 7:7–11; Matthew 9:24–29; Luke 11:13). Prayer, according to the Book of Acts, can be seen at the first moments of the church (Acts 3:1). The apostles regarded prayer as an essential part of their lives (Acts 6:4; Romans 1:9; Colossians 1:9). As such, the apostles frequently incorporated verses from Psalms into their writings. Romans 3:10–18 for example is borrowed from Psalm 14:1–3 and other psalms.

Thus, due to this emphasis on prayer in the early church. lengthy passages of the New Testament are prayers or canticles (see also the Book of Odes), such as the Prayer for forgiveness (Mark 11:25–26), the Lord's Prayer, the Magnificat (Luke 1:46–55), the Benedictus (Luke 1:68–79), Jesus' prayer to the one true God (John 17), exclamations such as, "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Ephesians 1:3–14), the Believers' Prayer (Acts 4:23–31), "may this cup be taken from me" (Matthew 26:36–44), "Pray that you will not fall into temptation" (Luke 22:39–46), Saint Stephen's Prayer (Acts 7:59–60), Simon Magus' Prayer (Acts 8:24), "pray that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men" (2 Thessalonians 3:1–2), and Maranatha (1 Corinthians 16:22).

Types of prayer

Daily prayer

breviary, which contains the canonical hours that are said at fixed prayer times. While praying, certain gestures usually accompany the prayers, including folding one's hands, bowing one's head, kneeling (often in the kneeler of a pew in corporate worship or in the kneeler of a prie-dieu in private worship), and prostration.

The most common prayer among Christians is the "Lord's Prayer", which according to the gospel accounts (e.g. Matthew 6:9-13) is how Jesus taught his disciples to pray.[2] The injunction for Christians to pray the Lord's prayer thrice daily was given in Didache 8, 2 f.,[3][4] which, in turn, was influenced by the Jewish practice of praying thrice daily found in the Old Testament, specifically in Psalm 55:17, which suggests "evening and morning and at noon", and Daniel 6:10, in which the prophet Daniel prays thrice a day.[3][4][5] The early Christians thus came to recite the Lord's Prayer thrice a day at 9 am, 12 pm, and 3 pm, supplanting the former Amidah predominant in the Hebrew tradition;[6][7][8] as such, in Christianity, many Lutheran and Anglican churches ring their church bells from belltowers three times a day: in the morning, at noon and in the evening summoning the Christian faithful to recite the Lord’s Prayer.[9][10][11]

From the time of the early Church, the practice of seven fixed prayer times have been taught; in Apostolic Tradition, Hippolytus instructed Christians to pray seven times a day "on rising, at the lighting of the evening lamp, at bedtime, at midnight" and "the third, sixth and ninth hours of the day, being hours associated with Christ's Passion."[12][13][14][15] Oriental Orthodox Christians, such as Copts and Indians, use a breviary such as the Agpeya and Shehimo to pray the canonical hours seven times a day at fixed prayer times while facing in the eastward direction, in anticipation of the Second Coming of Jesus; this Christian practice has its roots in Psalm 118:164, in which the prophet David prays to God seven times a day.[16][17] Church bells enjoin Christians to pray at these hours.[18] Before praying, they wash their hands and face in order to be clean before and present their best to God; shoes are removed in order to acknowledge that one is offering prayer before a holy God.[19][20] In these Christian denominations, and in many others as well, it is customary for women to wear a Christian headcovering when praying.[21][22] Many Christians have historically hung a Christian cross on the eastern wall of their houses to indicate the eastward direction of prayer during these seven prayer times.[23][12][24]

There are two basic settings for Christian prayer: corporate (or public) and private. Corporate prayer includes prayer shared within the worship setting or other public places, especially on the Lord's Day on which many Christian assemble collectively. These prayers can be formal written prayers, such as the liturgies contained in the Lutheran Service Book and Book of Common Prayer, as well as informal ejaculatory prayers or extemporaneous prayers, such as those offered in Methodist camp meetings. Private prayer occurs with the individual praying either silently or aloud within the home setting; the use of a daily devotional and prayer book in the private prayer life of a Christian is common. In Western Christianity, the prie-dieu has been historically used for the purpose of private prayer and many Christian homes possess home altars in the area where these are placed.[25][26] In Eastern Christianity, believers often keep icon corners at which they pray, which are on the eastern wall of the house.[27] Among Old Ritualists, a prayer rug known as a Podruchnik is used to keep one's face and hands clean during prostrations, as these parts of the body are used to make the sign of the cross.[28] Spontaneous prayer in Christianity, often done in private settings, follows the basic form of adoration, contrition, thanksgiving and supplication, abbreviated as A.C.T.S.[29]

Prayer in the New Testament is presented as a positive command (Colossians 4:2; 1 Thessalonians 5:17). The people of God are challenged to include prayer in their everyday life, even in the busy struggles of marriage (1 Corinthians 7:5) as it is thought to bring the faithful closer to God. Throughout the New Testament, prayer is shown to be God's appointed method by which the faithful obtain what he has to bestow (Matthew 7:7–11; Matthew 9:24–29; Luke 11:13). Prayer, according to the Book of Acts, can be seen at the first moments of the church (Acts 3:1). The apostles regarded prayer as an essential part of their lives (Acts 6:4; Romans 1:9; Colossians 1:9). As such, the apostles frequently incorporated verses from Psalms into their writings. Romans 3:10–18 for example is borrowed from Psalm 14:1–3 and other psalms.

Thus, due to this emphasis on prayer in the early church. lengthy passages of the New Testament are prayers or canticles (see also the Book of Odes), such as the Prayer for forgiveness (Mark 11:25–26), the Lord's Prayer, the Magnificat (Luke 1:46–55), the Benedictus (Luke 1:68–79), Jesus' prayer to the one true God (John 17), exclamations such as, "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Ephesians 1:3–14), the Believers' Prayer (Acts 4:23–31), "may this cup be taken from me" (Matthew 26:36–44), "Pray that you will not fall into temptation" (Luke 22:39–46), Saint Stephen's Prayer (Acts 7:59–60), Simon Magus' Prayer (Acts 8:24), "pray that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men" (2 Thessalonians 3:1–2), and Maranatha (1 Corinthians 16:22).

Types of prayer

Daily prayer

early church. lengthy passages of the New Testament are prayers or canticles (see also the Book of Odes), such as the Prayer for forgiveness (Mark 11:25–26), the Lord's Prayer, the Magnificat (Luke 1:46–55), the Benedictus (Luke 1:68–79), Jesus' prayer to the one true God (John 17), exclamations such as, "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Ephesians 1:3–14), the Believers' Prayer (Acts 4:23–31), "may this cup be taken from me" (Matthew 26:36–44), "Pray that you will not fall into temptation" (Luke 22:39–46), Saint Stephen's Prayer (Acts 7:59–60), Simon Magus' Prayer (Acts 8:24), "pray that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men" (2 Thessalonians 3:1–2), and Maranatha (1 Corinthians 16:22).

From the time of the early Church, the practice of seven fixed prayer times have been taught; in Apostolic Tradition, Hippolytus instructed Christians to pray seven times a day "on rising, at the lighting of the evening lamp, at bedtime, at midnight" and "the third, sixth and ninth hours of the day, being hours associated with Christ's Passion."[12][13][30][15]

Oriental Orthodox Christians, such as Copts and Indians, as well as members of the Mar Thoma Syrian Church (an Oriental Protestant denomination), use a breviary such as the Agpeya and Shehimo to pray the canonical hours seven times a day at fixed prayer times while facing in the eastward direction, in anticipation of the Second Coming of Jesus; this Christian practice has its roots in Psalm 118:164, in which the prophet David is described as praying to God seven times a day.[31][16][17] These Christians incorporate prostrations in their prayers, "prostrating three times in the name of the Trinity; at the end of each Psalm … while saying the ‘Alleluia’; and multiple times during the more than forty Oriental Orthodox Christians, such as Copts and Indians, as well as members of the Mar Thoma Syrian Church (an Oriental Protestant denomination), use a breviary such as the Agpeya and Shehimo to pray the canonical hours seven times a day at fixed prayer times while facing in the eastward direction, in anticipation of the Second Coming of Jesus; this Christian practice has its roots in Psalm 118:164, in which the prophet David is described as praying to God seven times a day.[31][16][17] These Christians incorporate prostrations in their prayers, "prostrating three times in the name of the Trinity; at the end of each Psalm … while saying the ‘Alleluia’; and multiple times during the more than forty Kyrie eleisons" as with the Copts and thrice during the Qauma prayer, at the words "Crucified for us, Have mercy on us!", thrice during the recitation of the Nicene Creed at the words "And was incarnate of the Holy Spirit...", "And was crucified for us...", & "And on the third day rose again...", as well as thrice during the Prayer of the Cherubim while praying the words "Blessed is the glory of the Lord, from His place forever!" as with the Indians.[32][20] Before praying, Oriental Christians wash their hands, face and feet out of respect for God; shoes are removed in order to acknowledge that one is offering prayer before a holy God.[33][20][19][34] In this Christian denomination, and in many others as well, it is customary for women to wear a Christian headcovering when praying.[35][22]

In the Lutheran Churches, the canonical hours are contained in breviaries such as The Brotherhood Prayer Book and For All the Saints: A Prayer Book for and by the Church, while in the Roman Catholic Church they are known as the Liturgy of the Hours.[36][37] The Methodist tradition has emphasized the praying of the canonical hours as an "essential practice" in being a disciple of Jesus.[38]

The injunction for Christians to pray the Lord's Prayer thrice daily was given in Didache 8, 2 f.,[3][4] which, in turn, was influenced by the Jewish practice of praying thrice daily found in the Old Testament, specifically in Psalm 55:17, which suggests "evening and morning and at noon", and Daniel 6:10, in which the prophet Daniel prays thrice a day.[3][4][5] The early Christians came to pray the Lord's Prayer thrice a day at 9 am, 12 pm and 3 pm, supplanting the former Amidah predominant in the Hebrew tradition.[8][6] As such, in Christianity, many Lutheran and Anglican churches ring their church bells from belltowers three times a day, summoning the Christian faithful to recite the Lord’s Prayer.[9][10][7]

Sign of the Cross

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The sign of the cross is a short prayer used daily by many Christians, especially those of the Catholic, Lutheran, Oriental Orthodox, Eastern Orthodox, Methodist and Anglican traditions apart from its daily use in private prayer, it is widely used in corporate prayer by these Christian denominations. The Small Catechism, a catechism used in the Lutheran Churches, instructs believers "to make the sign of the cross at both the beginning and the end of the day as a beginning to daily prayers."[39] It specifically instructs Christians: "When you get out of bed, bless yourself with the holy cross and say ‘In the name of God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.’"[39]

Mealtime Prayer

An American family is seen bowing their heads for prayer before consuming a meal

Christians often pray to ask God to thank Him for and bless their food before consuming it at the time of eating meals, such as supper.[40] These prayers vary per Christian denomination, e.g. the common table prayer is used by com

Christians often pray to ask God to thank Him for and bless their food before consuming it at the time of eating meals, such as supper.[40] These prayers vary per Christian denomination, e.g. the common table prayer is used by communicants of the Lutheran Churches and the Moravian Church.

Seasonal prayer

Many denominations use specific prayers geared to the season of the Christian Liturgical Year, such as Advent, Christmas, Lent and Easter. Some of these prayers are found in the Roman Breviary, the Liturgy of the Hours, the Orthodox Book of Needs, Evangelical Lutheran Worship, and the Anglican Book of Common Prayer.

In the seasons of Advent and Lent, many Christians add the reading of a daily devotional to their prayer life; items that aid in prayer, such as an Advent

Many denominations use specific prayers geared to the season of the Christian Liturgical Year, such as Advent, Christmas, Lent and Easter. Some of these prayers are found in the Roman Breviary, the Liturgy of the Hours, the Orthodox Book of Needs, Evangelical Lutheran Worship, and the Anglican Book of Common Prayer.

In the seasons of Advent and Lent, many Christians add the reading of a daily devotional to their prayer life; items that aid in prayer, such as an In the seasons of Advent and Lent, many Christians add the reading of a daily devotional to their prayer life; items that aid in prayer, such as an Advent wreath or Lenten calendar are unique to those seasons of the Church Year.

The ancient church, in both Eastern Christianity and Western Christianity, developed a tradition of asking for the intercession of (deceased) saints, and this remains the practice of most Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Roman Catholic, as well as some Lutheran and Anglican churches. Most of the Reformed Churches however rejected prayer to the saints, largely on the basis of belief in the sole mediatorship of Christ.[41]

Meditation and contemplative prayer

Ejaculatory prayer is the use of very brief exclamations. Saint Augustine remarked that the Egyptian Christians who withdrew to a solitary life "are said to say frequent prayers, but very brief ones that are tossed off as in a rush, so that a vigilant and keen intention, which is very necessary for one who prays, may not fade away and grow dull over longer periods".[52]

Examples of such prayers are given in the old Raccolta under the numbers 19, 20, 38, 57, 59, 63, 77, 82, 83, 133, 154, 166, 181.[53]

They are also known as aspirations, invocations or exclamati

Examples of such prayers are given in the old Raccolta under the numbers 19, 20, 38, 57, 59, 63, 77, 82, 83, 133, 154, 166, 181.[53]

They are also known as aspirations, invocations or exclamations and include the Jesus Prayer.[54]

Johnson's Dictionary defined "ejaculation" as "a short prayer darted out occasionally, without solemn retirement".[55] Such pious ejaculations are part also of the liturgy of the Church of England.[56]

Listening prayer is a type of Christian prayer. As compared with the traditional Christian prayer, the listening prayer method demands "hearing and discerning God's voice through prayer and scripture; then obeying the Lord's direction in personal ministry."[This quote needs a citation]

Traditional Christian prayer requested people to thank God, as well as tell God their own request. When their prayers seemed unanswered, some would feel that God did not hear them or did not respond to them. Listening prayer asks: "Was it that God did not respond to you, or was it that you did not hear from God"? Listening

Traditional Christian prayer requested people to thank God, as well as tell God their own request. When their prayers seemed unanswered, some would feel that God did not hear them or did not respond to them. Listening prayer asks: "Was it that God did not respond to you, or was it that you did not hear from God"? Listening prayer requires those praying to calm their minds down and read the Scripture. During the reading, some sentences may pop into mind, as if in answer to their prayers but listening prayers are also of two types one is normally listening to church father and second is prayer with music nowadays prayer with music is considered as prayer music or prayer song.

A Christian child's prayer is typically short, rhyming, or has a memorable tune. It is usually said before bedtime, to give thanks for a meal, or as a nursery rhyme. Many of these prayers are either quotes from the Bible, or set traditional texts.

Prayer books and tools

prayer beads such as chaplets are used by Christians. Images and icons are also associated with prayers in some Christian denominations.

There is no one prayerbook containing a set liturgy used by all Christians; however many Christian denominations have their own local prayerbooks, for example: