Posted by: Jivani Lisa | April 16, 2011

Types of Prayer

Prayer is more than asking for things, more than talking to God.  There is a type of prayer that’s appropriate for every situation, every moment, of life.  It is indeed possible to “pray without ceasing” as St. Paul advised.  Here is an outline of the basic forms that prayer can take:

Vocal prayer is prayer with words – whether spoken out loud or inside the mind.  Some examples are the Lord’s Prayer, grace before meals, blessing prayers and bedtime prayers.  Vocal prayers fall into several categories:  expressing thanksgiving to God for blessings; adoring God; petitioning God for things we need (or think we need); making intercession for the needs of others; giving heart-felt praise to God.

Meditative prayer uses the mind to keep the heart focused on God and the things of spirit.  This type of prayer often uses external objects and actions such as reading holy scripture, pondering religious images/icons, or observing nature.

Contemplative prayer is a form of prayer that stills the mind (some religious traditions refer to this as “meditation”).  Contemplation is a form of union with God.  It means being in silence and listening to God.  The body and mind become very still and yet energized and filled with God.  There are no words to describe the experience – and true contemplation is a gift from God.  It’s not something that we “do” – although we do have to put ourselves into the right frame of mind for the gift to be given.

Which type of prayer feels right for you now, in this moment?  Go ahead and commune with God!


  1. These are true! I am more of a vocal prayer. I’d like to experience the contemplative prayer soon. Thanks!!!

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