Prayer

Central to all Christian worship is prayer. This is a core element of all congregational worship, but also an intrinsic part of everyday Christian living. Sometimes it has been referred to as the breath of Christian practice. Many of Jesus’ teachings and parables are about prayer, and St Paul says in one of his letters, “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5). Jesus’ injunction, “But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” (Matthew 6:6) confirms that private individual prayer is a required complement to congregational worship.

The Lord’s Prayer (so called, because Jesus asked his disciples to pray this way) is one of many well-known liturgical prayers. Others include the Nunc Dimittis, the Jesus Prayer of the Orthodox Church, and the Prayer of St Francis.

Christian prayer has been described as of several types: prayers of praise and thanksgiving, prayers of confession and repentance, and prayers of request or pleading. Sometimes prayer is also wordless however, just sitting in God’s presence. In this sense, Christian prayer might simply be thought of as communing with God, or living in the presence of God, and many Christians would make it their aim to live in this state all of the time.

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