What evidence is there that prayer works?

Prayer: What does prayer do?

Prayer - everyone knows it, but not everyone does it. Many people live under the idea that one can only pray in church. In everyday life, prayer has little meaning. In some families, God is thanked for the provision in a grace prayer before they eat together. But there is more to prayer. It gives hope, especially in difficult life situations. We explain to you what prayer triggers, how you actually pray - and that talking to God can also give you confidence ...

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

Praying: a definition

In prayer, the person turns to a higher being, verbally or non-verbally. Prayer is a very own expression of faith - and it is a practice in all religions. Presumably the word prayer comes from the verb 'ask'. For Christians, prayer is 'speaking to God'. The believer gathers inwardly and talks to his Creator.

The content of the prayer can be different:

  • thanks
  • praise
  • worship
  • intercession

The external design can also take various forms. Prayer can ...

  • can be spoken collectively or alone.
  • be pre-formulated or freely written by the prayer.
  • spoken on a specific occasion or in everyday life out of the momentary need.

Why do we pray

Most people begin to pray when they, family members, or friends find themselves in an emergency:

  • If your health is endangered, you or your loved one are close to death,
  • when job loss threatens or the job is lost.
  • when your own financial situation is like ruin.
  • or when your own country or the world is threatened by war or a pandemic.

Then many people seek help from someone who can regulate the unfortunate situation again.

Some then pray out of conviction because they believe that God (as the higher being) can help them. The others just give it a try. And hope that something will - positively - change.

If you have never had any experience with prayer, you only know it from masses or church services, you are probably asking yourself the question: "Is prayer more than talking against the wall?"

After all, many do not see a change immediately after saying their prayer.

What's the point of prayer?

Prayer is a spiritual activity. This question cannot be answered scientifically with clearly defined profit. The believer will say: God hears you - and that alone brings confidence to the troubled heart.

Nevertheless, we would like to explain in more detail why prayer brings something:

  1. First of all, prayer helps us because we can express what moves us. If the problems are locked in our heart, they weigh heavily. But when we say what moves us, some of this burden is taken away from us. At this point, prayer has a liberating effect, like a kind of "mental hygiene". By talking to God, we process our feelings.
  2. It is said that of the 100 percent of the things we worry about, at most ten percent will happen. Those who pray and bring their worries to God have won 90 percent of the time. This is reminiscent of the African proverb: "Hakuna matata" - loosely translated, it means: "There are no difficulties." The moment we bring our needs to God and trust that he will take care of the problem, we probably have We have already won 90 out of 100 cases because we can look forward with hope and ease.
  3. That leaves the ten percent of cases for which a solution cannot be found directly. Whoever prays believes that there is a higher being who cares for us humans. First of all, faith means as much as you think possible that there is a God who is also at work today. The only way to win when you find yourself in dire straits is to give God a chance to intervene in your life.

We cannot prove God's existence either. But the fact that in Judaism - probably the oldest religion in the world - in Christianity and in Islam there is prayer to a single (the same) God is already thought-provoking. People have been praying to a god for more than 5,500 years. Isn't that reason enough to give this God a chance?

Pray: How does it work?

You can pray anytime, anywhere. No preparation or special spiritual environment is required. If you want to experience prayer as profitable for yourself, to collect yourself and to focus, you should consider a few requirements:

  1. To take time
    Of course, you can send a quick prayer to heaven. Just send "Thank you", "Please" or a "Lord help me!" To heaven. However, if you want to align yourself, you should take a few more minutes. Sometimes it takes more than a moment to turn off the carousel of thought in your head.
  2. Find the right place
    Find a quiet place in your apartment or house. Turn off television, social media - anything that distracts them - so you can relax. Some people find peace in the garden or in the park on a bench. Travelers look to churches to take a break from the hustle and bustle.
  3. Use rituals
    Lighting a candle or putting up a small cross are visible signs of the beginning of the time of prayer. Small rituals help to strengthen contemplation. Some worshipers find it useful to keep a prayer diary in which to record thanks and intercession day after day.
  4. The prayer posture
    The Bible reports that people adopted the most varied of attitudes: they stood before God (Genesis 18:22), kneeled (Daniel 6:10), and threw themselves on their faces (Numbers 16:22). Others raised their hands in prayer (Psalm 134: 2). Every posture is an expression of a feeling. You can decide for yourself how you want to pray
  5. Find the words
    The Bible says that God is like a Father to us. We can come to him as we are and just get rid of our requests. He will hear you: “He who asks receives; and whoever searches there will find; and whoever knocks there will be opened. ”(Luke 11:10) So you can speak to God as you would speak to your father. Totally natural. If you still find it difficult, you can also say the prayers that we recommend below.
  6. Just say nothing
    There are times when the burden and grief weigh too heavily. Then no more words can be said. You can also use your quiet place, your contemplative time, to simply become still before God and not say anything for once. Many have found strength in such intimate times.
  7. In conclusion: Amen
    “Amen” is Hebrew and means “so be it”. Whoever says “Amen” at the end of his prayer expresses his conviction again: He wants to hold on to God with determination.

Why do you put your hands together when you pray?

The folding of hands probably comes from the Germanic culture. When the vassals promised their master their feudal oath, they put their hands together. They placed their clasped hands in the hands of their liege lord as a token of their loyalty and dependence.

Today we still know this gesture in priestly ordination: the candidate places his clasped hands in the hands of the bishop and promises him obedience and reverence.

This prayer gesture was later deepened by interlocking fingers. The praying person thus expresses his bond with God even more strongly. It stands for a deep dependence on God.

The best-known illustration of clasped hands in art as an expression of prayer are the 'Praying Hands' by Albrecht Dürer.

Well-known prayers

In masses and church services, prayers are said out loud together. These often ritualized prayers connect and create community. But they can also be spoken by a believer alone if he finds it difficult to formulate something.

The following prayers are non-denominational and are said in masses and services of Catholics and Protestants:

The Lord's Prayer

"Our father in Heaven,
Blessed be your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will will happen,
as in heaven, so on earth.
Our daily bread Give us today.
And forgive us our debts
as we also forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
Because yours is the kingdom
and the power and the glory
for eternity.
Amen."

(Gospel of Matthew 6: 9-13)

The Good Shepherd

A psalm of David.

"The lord is my shepherd,
I will not lack anything.
He grazes me on a green meadow
and lead me to fresh water.
He refreshes my soul.
He leads me on the right road for his name's sake.
And whether I was already wandering in the dark valley
I fear no misfortune; for you are with me, your stick and staff comfort me.
You are preparing a table in front of me
in the face of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil and pour me full.
Good and mercy will follow me all my life,
and I will stay in the house of the Lord forever. "

(Psalm 23)

The Apostolic Creed

"I believe in God the Father,
the almighty,
the creator of heaven and earth.

And in Jesus Christ,
his only begotten Son, our Lord,
received by the Holy Spirit,
born of the virgin mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
crucified, died and buried,
descended into the realm of death,
rose from the dead on the third day,
ascended to heaven;
he sits at the right hand of God,
the almighty father;
from there he will come
to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit
the holy Christian Church,
Communion of saints,
Forgiveness of sins,
Resurrection of the dead
and eternal life.

Amen."

Irish blessing

"The Lord be before you,
to show you the right way
the Lord be next to you,
to embrace you and protect you,
the lord be behind you,
to protect you from the wickedness of evil people,
the Lord be among you to receive you,
if you fall and pull yourself out of the noose
the Lord be in you
to comfort you when you are sad
the Lord be around you to defend you,
when others attack you
the Lord be over you to bless you. "

[Photo credit: Villiers Steyn by Shutterstock.com]