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John W. Pinkerton


Prayers take the forms of informal and ritual and can be performed alone or in groups.  Most major religions involve prayer in one way or another.  Some religions restrict who can pray and others allow all to pray at any time.  The physical gestures related to prayer vary: bowing of heads, folding of hands, dancing, whirling, mantras, swaying, kneeling,  prostration, and silence.

The Hebrew Bible primarily encourages spontaneous prayers and encourage prayers three times a day.  The Siddar is the prayer book to which they turn.

The Christians' prayers are quite varied.  “The Lord's Prayer”  is a model of adoration, confession, and petition.  Jesus himself encouraged prayer.

A deviation from traditional prayers among Christians are Pentecostals' prayers which include speaking in tongues (“flossolalia”) which they believe can result in healing 

As I indicated, prayer is pretty universal among the world's religions.

“Salah” is the Arabic word for prayer which is required five times each day while facing Meca.  The Quran sets forth these prayers which may be followed by personal prayers.

Buddhists and Hindus practice repetitive mantras the most common of which is “om.”   Traditionally the prayers are for success and helping all beings, but folks being folks sometimes ask help for themselves.


Sikhs pray before and after meals.  They pray for assistance in whatever they are about to do or have done.

The prayer practices of all of the religions of the world, which, of course, I haven't included here, have one thing in common: speaking to their god or gods.

Prayer, other than within churches, doesn't seem to be discussed much.  I see calls for prayers on Facebook.  They're usually calls for folks to pray for a friend or associate suffering from a  terrible illness.

Anyway, I've been praying since I was a little fellow:

Now I lay me down to sleep

I pray the Lord my soul to keep.

If I should die before I wake

I pray the Lord my soul to take.

At meals the family prayer was fairly simple.  I tried to find it on the internet.  I found several, but most seemed a little more fancy than our family prayer.  This one is pretty close.

Thank you, Lord, for the food we are about to receive, and for the nourishment to our bodies.   For Christ's sake, Amen.

For Christians the prayer which everyone seems to know is the Lord's Prayer.

Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us

not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.  For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever.


For our family, this seems to be the prayer of choice recited by all present with hands joined  before the Thanksgiving and Christmas meals.

There seems to be a growing crowd of folks who ridicule Christianity and ergo, prayer.  Some folks sue to stop prayers in our schools and other public spaces.  I don't believe that atheist or agnostics are the problem here; I suspect it's mostly folks who like telling other folks what they can and can't do…you know, liberals.  Well…bless their hearts; they have an uphill battle.

Being that I was reared as a Christian, Methodist and Baptist churches, I suspect I'll go on praying.

I try not to trouble the Lord with my prayers much.  Mostly I pray for the well being of my wife, and I throw in prayers for folks who are ill or troubled.  Lord knows Linda prays for me.  I catch her with her head bowed each morning.  I never question her or interrupt her.  That business is between her and the Lord.

I try not to ask too much in my prayers.  I really try to avoid asking the Lord for help for myself.  It seems a little pushy---bad form.  However, I must admit that there are times that I ask for a little help.

I just realized that my most frequent prayer comes from a stanza of Janis Joplin’s song, “Mercedes Benz”:

Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz

My friends all drive Porsches, I must make amends

Worked hard all my lifetime, no help from my         


So Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz

I’ve always suspected that the Lord has a sharp sense of humor and probably enjoys this prayer as much as I do.

I won't apologize for an activity which I feel compelled to practice.  I feel guilty when I realize it has been a long time since I've spoken to the Lord.  I would be shocked if He ever replied to me.  Apparently, it's just not the Lord's job to respond verbally.


In spite of some folks saying that prayer is a waste of time, I suspect I'll continue to practice it, and for you folks who oppose prayer, I'll pray for you.