Prayer: what it is, main characteristics, types of sentences and examples


What is prayer?

Also often known as prayer, it is a composition that is part of oral literature, because it is transmitted and works mainly through speech. Prayer is a concept that is used in religion in order to invoke a divinity or any important figure that is part of a person’s religious belief, considering it sacred or worthy of all reverence.

Although prayer and recitation have elements that coincide, such as oral expressions, recitation is fundamentally distinguished by the repetition of terms or words, which is also done aloud. Many practices delegate prayer as a thought or mental communication through words.

Main characteristics of prayer

Let us see below a series of fundamental characteristics about this oral expression that has managed to be maintained with the passage of time and with it, of generations within religious practices:

Purpose of prayer

In general, the purpose of prayer is to address through words or mentally to a divinity or a sacred figure. The intentions of each practitioner can vary according to his needs, conditions or preferences, so that he can raise prayers to ask for clarification in his path, solution of some difficulty, also to thank for any reason, among others.

Forms of expression

One of the most important features of prayer has to do with the fact that there are several ways in which it can be expressed. Although it is a recognized oral expression, it is also possible to use it through mental processes such as internal dialogue, even through gestures, dances, among other manifestations that are developed within the religion or that appeal to the preferences of the person.

Prayer in other languages

It is possible for a prayer to be expressed in a language other than the one spoken by the believer, especially if the sacred texts of his religion, for example, are initially written in other languages. Thus, it is possible to recite prayers in Latin, Arabic, Hebrew, Sanskrit, among other sacred languages.

General practice

Prayer is often constituted by a practice in which the person adopts a particular physical posture to initiate the process. In some cases, the person kneels in front of an altar, figure or particular element. There are also those who pray by joining the palms of their hands together, or opening their arms with the palms facing upwards. Another practice is to bow the head, close the eyes, among others, which show a posture of ascetic attitude in front of the divinity.

Types of prayers

The Catholic Church is one of the churches that contains the greatest variety of prayers, which is why they are the best known, although others can be said in other ways in different religious manifestations. Among the main ones, we find the following:

Verbal prayer

It is the most important type of prayer due to the implication it contains, since the voice is raised in a certain tone to mention, later, a prayer, petition or thanksgiving. One of the most common examples, usually practiced during a meeting, is the Lord’s Prayer.

Mental Prayer

As its name indicates, it is a type of prayer in which the format in which it is presented changes. In this case the prayer is repeated or pronounced mentally. This communication implies for the believer a greater degree of concentration in order to name the divinity and enter into spiritual communion with it.

What is prayer

Other types of prayer

We can also find other types of prayer in which it is possible to distinguish them according to the intention for which they are made. In this way we can find prayers for petitions, to praise, for conversion, to elevate gratitude, to make an offering for a good or favor attributed to the divinity, among others. There are also other types of prayers that are made on specific dates such as Thanksgiving, the birth of Jesus, among others.

Example of prayer

Until today, many prayers have been reconstructed based on sacred texts that were initially presented, as we know, in oral literature. Therefore, it is possible to identify several prayers that allow the practice, among these we find the “Our Father”:

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven, give us this day our daily bread, forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us, lead us not into temptation, and deliver us from evil. Amen.

To learn more about other important manifestations of oral expression, remember that in our section you can find all the information related to oral literature. There you will also find great informative material about this artistic world in which we tell you all about literature.