Question 246:

“In which religions is ritual prayer considered to be requested by God? Are there other faiths who pray?”



I quote the entry “prayer” from the “Lexikon. Die Religionen der Welt.” [Lexicon. The world religions”] by Udo Tworuschka (publishers Gütersloher Verlagshaus, 1999). According to this, prayer is “a turning of people to God or gods in words, often combined with ritualistic acts. The most important investigation of prayer is Friedrich Heiler’s work “Gebet” [prayer], which differentiates the following main forms of prayer: The naive prayer of primitive people; the ritual prayer formula; hymns. Individual piety of the major religious personalities differentiates between mystical prayer and prophetic prayer. There are individual prayers, group prayers, formal, spontaneous, silent and spoken prayers. The Old Testament calls the temple the “house of prayers“ (Isaiah 56:7). The psalms, the liturgical prayers in the temple and the synagogue, are also the basis for early Christian prayers.” In all religions individual and communal prayer both have a central role. Religions without prayer are inconceivable. Religious practice in Judaism and Christianity requires of all members of the community certain ritual actions and the accompanying prayers in their various forms. According to Islamic teaching the rules regarding ritual prayer are compulsory and binding. Because ritual prayer is based explicitly on the rules of the Qur’an and the Hadith, they are to be said by all the faithful together and in public.

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