Ritual Prayer

Prayer is one of the central elements of spiritual practice and religious worship.

A rite or ritual is a carefully prescribed procedure and generates common emotions. Ritual prayer is recitation. In Islam, ritual prayer is called šalat, a word whose full meaning is best understood by examining its linguistic root, the root word šilat which means “connection” or “contact.”

prayer04This word is also used in the context of close relations (šilat ar-rahim), connection by blood ties. In this sense then, prayer is seen as the unseverable bond between the individual and God, the creator.

If God didn’t want us to pray the same prayer more than once, why did He give us the Lord’s Prayer?
Jesus repeated the exact same words in prayer (Matthew 26:44).
The angels in heaven repeat the same prayers in praise of God (Revelations 4:8 ).

prayer01“Some people view prayer as a simple psychological activity, others as an effort of concentration to reach a mental void. Still others reduce prayer to ritual words and postures. Many unconsciously regard prayer as an occupation that is incompatible with all the other things they have to do: they ‘don’t have the time.’ Those who seek God by prayer are quickly discouraged because they do not know that prayer comes also from the Holy Spirit and not from themselves alone.” – Catechism (2726)

Prayer is by its very nature a form of request or entreaty, and thus requires the full conscious participation of the one praying, with will, intellect, body and soul – that is a willful, directed action by the believer, seeking direct unmediated communication with God, the creator.

prayer03Ritual prayers have a variety of obligations and conditions of observance. Beyond the physical practice, there are spiritual conditions and aspects of prayer which represent its essence. The greatest of these is a tendency of reciting the words without meaning them. But this is a problem with the individual, not a problem with the concept of ritual prayer.

Despite this tendency the value is that the ritual itself can hold and sustain our hearts in something deeper than the emotions of the moment. Matthew Crawford, in his book The World Beyond Your Head, suggests that ritual acts positively even when our feelings are negative.

If God didn’t want us to pray the same prayer more than once, why did He give us the Lord’s Prayer?
Jesus repeated the exact same words in prayer (Matthew 26:44).
The angels in heaven repeat the same prayers in praise of God (Revelations 4:8 ).

When repeated, the power of ritual increases. This is done in two ways. First, the ritual becomes a memorial of the original act; and second, the ritual is renewed and strengthened.

Words become powerful when combined with constructive attitudes and affirmative prayer statements. By meditating on a biblical promise such as “The Lord’s Prayer” you open the door to success and good health.

prayer02“The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” Proverbs 18:21. The power of focused affirmative thought and prayer has been proven over and over again.

Taking a statement with good words and declaring it over and over with conviction gives you entrée into the power of your subconscious and the positive effects that may be had for the body and the mind. Now imagine how this force is multiplied when combined with focus, passion, and faith.

Many people recognize and research has demonstrated that collectively, meditation, prayer, and intention can and does affect the world. Prayer and meditation does not just serve you; it serves your world, assisting in raising the overall frequency and consciousness level on the planet.



  1. Pastor

    Yes, indeed. As mentioned in the post “a willful, directed action by the believer”. Imagine the power of this with multiple people reciting – in intentional and meaningful communication with God – the same prayer, say for world peace and abundant health and well being for all it’s people and creatures, at the same time morning and evening. That’s an ongoing ‘mexican wave’ of willful, directed action in mindful prayer being given around the world 24/7.

  2. Michael E. Hopkins

    Thank you so much for an informative discourse on prayer. Coming from a Roman Catholic background, I know the real and sacred value of Ritual Prayer e.g. praying the Holy Rosary daily is a spiritually enriching exercise BUT we must also emphasize the importance of personal prayers where we use our OWN words also in communicating with God and His Holy Angels and Saints AND also the great benefits of praying to the Divine using words IN OUR OWN LANGUAGE where possible. By doing this we consciously converse with the Lord by truly understanding what we are saying and not just mindlessly chanting words in a foreign tongue. The ritual and personal words can then take on a more meaningful dimension.

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