Thursday, September 13, 2007

Vocal Prayer

Vocal prayer, of course, is prayer made with the lips, normally producing sound. Practices of vocal prayer vary across denominations, but have common themes:
• Renouncing distraction, often by closing the eyes
• Presenting oneself by bowing the head, placing hands together, or making the sign of the cross
• Making a request for grace, enlightenment or assistance
• Invoking the name, glory, or life of Jesus
• Closing, often with "Amen"

The prayer is supposed to receive the full mental and spiritual effort of those involved, whether speaking or listening. Even if a standard wording is used, mechanical recitation is discouraged. Vocal prayer may be prayer of petition, perhaps the simplest form of prayer. Some have termed it the "social approach" to prayer. In this view, a person beseeches God for a need to be fulfilled; God is thought to listen to prayer and to be free to grant the request or not. Vocal prayer may also subsume prayer of adoration, praise, thanksgiving, intercession, and communion. Particularly common vocal prayers include the Lord's Prayer; the Psalms; the Jesus Prayer; the Hail Mary; the Canticles throughout the Old and New Testaments; Grace, a prayer of thanksgiving usually before, sometimes after, a meal; and prayers associated with the rosary and the prayer rope.


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