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Prayer as a “Ritual of Worship”

Based on the Bible, worship to God is obeying His commandment, and one of His commandments is praying. For a prayer to be acceptable to God one must have a pure heart and he/she must offer his/her whole being as a living sacrifice, which is certainly a complete act of worship.

As it is written in Romans Chapter 12 verse 1, Saint Paul said “I appeal to you therefore, brethren, and beg of you in view of [all] the mercies of God, to make a decisive dedication of your bodies [presenting all your members and faculties] as a living sacrifice, holy (devoted, consecrated) and well pleasing to God, which is your reasonable (rational, intelligent) service and spiritual worship. ” (NASB) Offering one’s person is the true essence of worship unto God.

But as the verse says, worship includes not just merely offering but a person’s whole being must be cleansed from all iniquities – body, mind and heart – to be able to worship God. Part of worshipping is the “ritual” of praying, which is present in almost all religious denominations. Although common to most religion, the manner by which it is delivered or executed differs. The first century Christians whom the Bible speaks of, prayed in silence because they believed that prayer is a private communication with God. They justify this manner with the verse in Matthew 6:6.

They are free to speak the supplications of their hearts on their own words without repeating and memorizing which proves the intent of the heart. Referred today as Abrahamic religions, the early Christians have various forms of prayer, commonly petition, thanksgiving and worship. King David’s Book of Psalms is the largest book in the Bible composed of 150 religious songs regarded as prayers. Judaism, on the other hand, prays the siddur or the prayerbook that contains a set of daily prayers they recite three times a day, especially during Shabbat and other Jewish holidays.

The Catholic/Orthodox Church (which is the most widespread religion in the West and in almost all parts of the world) are repetitive, with which the Catholic has string of beads called “the rosary”. There are different variations of the Catholic prayer – each is unique of a specific group. Like the Anglicans pray by reading entirely from a text written in their Book of Common Prayer. The most common cited prayer among Catholics is the Lord’s Prayer which they derived from the book of Matthew in the Bible. This is recited along with the “Angelus.

” There are groups who pray by speaking in a different or foreign tongue known as “glossolalia. ” They belong to Pentecostal congregations. Some of its followers claim that the languages they speak in prayer, as they perform glossolalia, are real foreign languages. The ability to speak in different languages in this practice is a gift of the Holy Spirit, according to the Pentecostal church, although some critics view it as a form of insanity or hypnosis. Another prevalent religion in the West is Islam and its followers are called Moslems or Muslims.

Their prayer is called salah or salat (Arabic), a brief ritualistic prayer. Muslims face the direction of the Kaaba in Mecca every time they pray. This they do five times a day. Standard duas or supplications vary, which will be recited at various times, depending on the intention of the person. For example, to pray for one’s parents, supplications are recited after salah and before eating. They can pray the dua in their own words and languages for any issue they wish to communicate with God in the hope that God will answer their prayers. (Byrd 1988: 826-829)

Prayer is part of worship to God, the first step to knowing the existence of a Divine Being. But as Christ stated in Matthew 7:21: “Not everyone who says to Me, Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father Who is in heaven. ” (NASB) Therefore, not all prayers are heard by God. The verse explains that no matter how a person calls the Name of God, and the manner of prayer is not in accordance to His will, most especially the content of the heart is not purified, God will ignore the prayer of that person and his worship will not be recognized by God.

Therefore, it is safe to follow the prayer of the early Christians which is Biblical. References Byrd RC, (1988) Positive therapeutic effects of intercessory prayer in a coronary care unit population. South Med J. Holy Bible (New American Standard Version) (2007) edition. Praying the Rosary. (2010) retrieved 07 June 2010 from http://www. religionfacts. com/christianity/practices/praying_rosary. htm

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