Christians describe prayer as a conversation with God. Prayer can be silent or said out loud. It can use set words, or a person's own words. In prayer, Christians lift their minds and hearts to God.
There are many different kinds of prayer, including:
adoration - praising God for his greatness and admitting dependence on him
confession - owning up to sin and asking for God's mercy and forgiveness
thanksgiving - thanking God for his many blessings, eg health or children
petition - asking God for something, eg healing, courage or wisdom
intercession - asking God to help others who need it, eg the sick, poor, those suffering in war
Nature and importance of prayer
Most Christians believe prayer deepens a person's faith. Praying can help the believer come to a greater understanding of God's purpose for their lives. Christians interpret the response they might get to their prayers in the following ways:
God answers prayers, but not always in the way the person wants. When a prayer is not answered, it may be that the person asked for something God thinks would not be good for them, or that their prayer will be answered later.
Sometimes Christians think that God has answered their prayers in quite spectacular ways, eg the recovery of a sick person. They may see this as a miracle.
For some Christians, meditation or contemplation is a way of trying to reach a higher spiritual level.
Others, especially Orthodox Christians, use the 'Jesus Prayer', Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner. They may chant this prayer over and over to clear their minds and achieve inner peace.