From this article, you will learn about the importance of prayer. Even people who are not spiritual and are accustomed to relying on themselves in everything sometimes feel an urgent need to turn to a higher or stronger being Most often, this happens when the person is in trouble and realises the limits of his strength and responsibility. Then he turns to God with a request to help, protect, and comfort.
This may not be a truly Christian understanding of prayer, but God does not condemn this. Christ called for everyone who suffered grief and hard work, and promised to give them rest. He told the disciples to ask the Heavenly Father for everything they need. God will give all that is asked in prayer.
What is prayer? Why do we pray?
Prayer in Christianity is the conversion between a believer and his/her God, the Blessed Mother, angels or the Holy One.
A believer can pray in his own words or with a structured, long-used, accepted by the church tradition prayer. Your words may contain requests to God, thanks or praise of His greatness. Christians consider God to be the Father and therefore turn to Him as they will their own parent.
A Christian should perform daily prayers, and not turn to God only when he needs something. Daily communication with God is the foundation of our lives. This is the basic importance of prayer for any believer.
The origin of prayer
When the first people, Adam and Eve lived in Paradise, they talked to God face to face and they did not have the need for prayer in the form in which we know it. However, they committed sin and were expelled from Paradise. Their sons Cain and Abel for the first time performed a sacrifice: Abel, the shepherd, used animals from his herd, while Cain, a farmer - a part of his harvest. So the first divine service was performed.
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Subsequently, the Jews began to regulate how people prayed, what words are being pronounced, what actions the priest should perform, what prayers are used, how to stand, when to kneel or raise hands. All these elements were inherited by the Christian worship: it implies the collective service to God through prayers and participation in church sacraments.
In addition to a collective prayer, even before Christ, there was also personal prayer. Believers turned to God with requests for help or for the forgiveness of sins and often with gratitude. People prayed to God in their own words or read the psalms of David.
Christ gave the prayer "Our Father" to his disciples. Therefore it is also called the Lord's Prayer and is considered the most important in the Christian religion. It lists everything a Christian should ask of God and what features of character he should have:
- live righteously;
- strive for holiness;
- accept and fulfill God's will, do not doubt that the Father cares about you and will always give you all you need;
- be able to forgive others, refrain from temptations and evil.
The variety of prayers and their classification
Prayer according to its content may be:
Penitential prayers are the most important, in them, believers ask God to forgive their sins: bad deeds, words, and thoughts. Penitential prayers are addressed to the Lord Jesus Christ. Believers ask Christ as God to forgive them and the Mother of God to intercede before God and pray for their forgiveness. Any conversation with God must begin with a penitential prayer.
The pleading prayer as you can judge by its name is meant to ask for something for yourself. You can ask God for health, well-being of your family, help in different matters. People do not just ask God for the earthly things but also for strength in the struggle against temptations.
In thanksgiving prayers, believers thank God for everything that He gives them: food, guidance, protection. Grateful prayers are addressed to the Lord God every morning, evening, and after eating.
In the laudatory prayer, the greatness of God is glorified: God is the Almighty, good and merciful to all. The Holy Fathers regard laudatory prayers as the highest, purest form of prayer.
In the case of intercessory prayers, believers ask for favors, not for themselves but for their neighbors, that is, they intercede for them before God.
It is forbidden to pray to God for assistance in sinful activities or about the performance of wicked deeds. For example, you can't ask God to punish your enemies or help to deceive or seduce someone. Such a prayer is blasphemy.
Also, one should not ask God for wealth, fame and other vain, superfluous things. Christ said to ask for daily bread and not for excesses.
How to pray? The depth of prayer
In Christianity, prayers differ in degrees depending on how deeply a person prays, whether he is entirely drawn to God. Prayers can be verbal and non-verbal.
A verbal prayer, otherwise called bodily or oral, involves reading aloud the texts of prayers created by Christian leaders and approved by the church. The person utters the words of prayer and is involved in every word without distractions. Oral prayer is the only one accessible to most laymen and even monks. This is the first, inferior degree of prayer.
Mental prayer is a special activity of thoughts and feelings focused towards God. In this state, the words of prayer are not spoken aloud, but only in the mind. There are several types of mental prayers:
- intelligent prayer (or internal) - the second degree of depth. The mind of the worshiper is completely concentrated in prayer and ascends to God continuously regardless of what the person is busy with. Such a prayer can’t be practiced without a spiritual guide.
- a heartfelt prayer - the third degree when not only the mind but the feelings of a person are involved in prayer. It is accessible to very few monks and is described in monastic writings on prayer.
- spiritual prayer is the highest degree when the spirit of the believer is entirely in God. Only angels and very few saints are capable of this.
In what conditions should we pray?
Prayers can be collective (public or private) and individual.
Collective public prayers are performed in the church during worship. The peculiarity of such prayers is that they are performed together with strangers.
Collective private prayers can also be done at home with relatives: the words of prayer are chanted by all members of the family except very young children. This happens in solemn occasions, on holidays, before eating etc. A family is a small church and the general family prayer can be considered a type of public prayer.
Individual prayer is performed by a person in solitude: at home, on the street, in the church when there is no worship.
When does God hear our prayer?
God knows all our actions and intentions and therefore He always hears all our prayers. However, He may not fulfill what we ask.
Why doesn't God answer our prayers sometimes?
God does not answer our prayers if we pray about something sinful or when the fulfillment of our request will not bring us any good. In this case, God may not answer our prayer or answer, but not immediately and not in the form we asked for.
Therefore, you need to add: "God Almighty, not my will but yours should be done."
God does not respond to the prayers of people who live in sin and do not want to repent, as well as those who repent and ask God for forgiveness but do not want to forgive those who have offended them. God also does not accept a careless prayer that is done hastily, inattentively.
You should not ask God for what you can do by yourself. In this case, it is inappropriate to place responsibility on God.
As you can see the importance of prayer is quite massive. We hope that Almighty will hear your prayers and provide assistance.
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