Prayer is a form of direct communication with the Divine. There are many different prayer practices across many faith backgrounds, whether performed as a group or individually, whether out loud or alone, whether with song or music or in silence. Prayer is often viewed as a conversation with God or a divine presence, a way of deepening a spiritual relationship. St. Teresa of Avila, the sixteenth-century mystic, called prayer an “intimate friendship.” Others have called prayer a call or cry, an asking, or simply a communion. How we interpret the purpose or process of prayer depends a great deal on how we perceive the presence we are trying to connect with, and there are many philosophies from many different traditions on how to deepen, intensify, or improve our practice of prayer.

An Invitation

It doesn’t matter if you don’t know whom you’re praying to, says Elizabeth Mattis-Namgyel. The very act of asking for help allows the heart to open and invite the world in.

How Do I Pray?

Let’s start with the definition of prayer, the most classical definition that you learn in Sunday School: “the lifting up of heart and mind to God.”

Investigate the Power of Eight

I’ve always struggled with prayer—the asking kind. It reminds me of Janis Joplin’s satiric song about asking the Lord for a Mercedes-Benz, and it never felt right to me.

The Heart of Prayer

..prayer is not just saying prayers: it is the activity of religion. “Religion” is one of those strange nouns that have no verb. You can’t say, “I’m religioning.” I think the word “praying” is the closest equivalent. - Brother David Steindle-Rast

‘Bad Faith,’ by Paul A. Offit

In fact, the reason for the continued and enormous popularity of faith healing is that, to some extent at least, it works.

What Rebecca Taught Me About Faith

Tara Sophia Moore discusses her experience of sharing the news of her pregnancy with a close friend and that friend's issues with her own pregnancy in the months that followed.

Does Prayer Have the Power to Heal?

Whether prayers for health or healing actually work is a matter of debate. Study results have been mixed.

How to Create a Prayer Tree in Your Local Community

In my book "How to Thrive in Changing Times," I wrote about the tradition of creating a prayer tree that comes out of Siberia.

The Reach of the Mind

When Dossey first came across experimental data in various journals showing that prayer affected positively the outcome of medical treatment, he wanted nothing to do with it.... Even so, the evidence seemed too convincing to ignore.

What's the Buzz? Sound Therapy

Mr. Goldman draws an analogy between sound healing and prayer. Many cultures, he said, believe that vocalizing a prayer amplifies it. By the same token, he said, expressing what you want a sound to accomplish, can help you heal yourself -- or someone else.