Prayer

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Overview

What is prayer?

Prayer is part of the world's oldest faith traditions and cultures. For many people around the world, prayer has a place in their daily lives. It is how they connect with God, a higher power, inner strength, or spiritual energy.

Prayer can be a very personal experience. It can be silent, as in meditation, or spoken aloud. Or it may involve chanting or singing. While prayer is often a part of formal religious services, you can pray anywhere—alone or with others.

What is prayer used for?

People value prayer for different reasons. Some people say that prayer helps them feel connected to an inner sense of meaning or purpose and that it strengthens their belief in a higher being.

You can use prayer for anything that is important to you. Common reasons for using prayer include:

  • Expressing gratitude.
  • Seeking calmness.
  • Asking for blessings, such as good health.
  • Asking for divine protection from harm.
  • Looking for strength to cope with problems in life, including illness.
  • Seeking wisdom when making decisions.

It's not fully understood how prayer may affect physical or mental health. But you may still find that prayer has a positive effect on your health. For example, it may make you feel more calm and less stressed. And that can help you feel healthier overall.

Related Information

Credits

Current as of: March 27, 2023

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine

The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.