A prayer is something you say to a god or deity. Your prayer can be silent words of thanks or a plea for help that's spoken out loud.

Most religious believers say a prayer from time to time. While some people might use prayer as part of their plan for recovering from an illness, others bend their heads in prayer whenever they attend church or temple services. You can also say a non-religious prayer, just an entreaty or request for help. Prayer, from the Old French prier, has a Latin root: precaria, "obtained by prayer or given as a favor."

Definitions of prayer

n reverent petition to a deity

orison, petition
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prayer wheel
a cylinder with prayers written on it; each revolution counts as uttering the prayers; used especially by Buddhists in Tibet
benediction, blessing
a ceremonial prayer invoking divine protection
a short prayer generally preceding the lesson in the Church of Rome or the Church of England
prayers proclaiming God's anger against sinners; read in the Church of England on Ash Wednesday
a prayer to avert or remove some evil or disaster
blessing, grace, thanksgiving
a short prayer of thanks before a meal
a prayer to God on behalf of another person
invocation, supplication
a prayer asking God's help as part of a religious service
a prayer for the repose of the soul of a dead person
a spoken blessing
a solemn supplication ceremony prescribed by the church
Type of:
asking, request
the verbal act of requesting

n earnest or urgent request

appeal, entreaty
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a solemn and earnest appeal to someone to do something
demagoguery, demagogy
impassioned appeals to the prejudices and emotions of the populace
plea, supplication
a humble request for help from someone in authority
an entreaty addressed to someone of superior status
a petition or appeal made to a person of superior status or rank
courting, courtship, suit, wooing
a man's courting of a woman; seeking the affections of a woman (usually with the hope of marriage)
flag waving, jingoism
an appeal intended to arouse patriotic emotions
beggary, begging, mendicancy
a solicitation for money or food (especially in the street by an apparently penniless person)
the act of soliciting money (as a gift or loan)
importunity, urgency, urging
insistent solicitation and entreaty
a onetime custom during courtship of unmarried couples occupying the same bed without undressing
Type of:
asking, request
the verbal act of requesting

n the act of communicating with a deity (especially as a petition or in adoration or contrition or thanksgiving)

“the priest sank to his knees in prayer
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(usually plural) religious observance or prayers (usually spoken silently)
benediction, blessing
the act of praying for divine protection
(Hinduism) loving devotion to a deity leading to salvation and nirvana; open to all persons independent of caste or sex
a Roman Catholic devotion consisting of prayers on nine consecutive days
Stations, Stations of the Cross
(Roman Catholic Church) a devotion consisting of fourteen prayers said before a series of fourteen pictures or carvings representing successive incidents during Jesus' passage from Pilate's house to his crucifixion at Calvary
Type of:
the activity of worshipping

n a fixed text used in praying

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a prayer said 3 times a day by Roman Catholics in memory of the Annunciation
Ave Maria
a salutation to the Virgin Mary now used in prayers to her
Canticle of Simeon
the prayer of Simeon (Luke 2:29-32)
Evening Prayer
(Anglican Church) a daily evening service with prayers prescribed in the Book of Common Prayer
Kol Nidre
the opening prayer on the eve of Yom Kippur
a prayer consisting of a series of invocations by the priest with responses from the congregation
Lord's Prayer
the prayer that Christ gave his disciples in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 6:9-13)
Agnus Dei
a liturgical prayer beginning with these Latin words
a sequence of prayers constituting the Christian Eucharistic rite
a liturgical prayer (considered to be the essence of Jewish religion) that is recited at least twice daily by adult Jewish males to declare their faith
Type of:
religious text, religious writing, sacred text, sacred writing
writing that is venerated for the worship of a deity

n someone who prays to God

beadsman, bedesman
a person who is paid to pray for the soul of another
Type of:
religious person
a person who manifests devotion to a deity

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