This article is from the Alternative Medicine Therapies guide.
Prayer is an address to an entity thought to be greater than oneself (the word "prayer" comes from the Latin precarius, which means "obtained by begging"). The practice is rooted in the belief that there is a power larger and wiser than our human selves that can influence our lives.
Prayer is probably as old as mankind and is part of virtually every religion in the world. However, although it is often linked to religion, prayer can be practiced outside the realm of a specific religion. Not surprisingly, many people feel a deep sense of calm after praying. Like meditation, prayer has been found to promote a feeling of relaxation that is conducive to both mental and physical health.
be expressed out loud or in thought, alone or in a group. It typically
consists of praise, thanksgiving, a request, or a confession.
Most types of prayer can be divided into four categories: meditative
prayer; ritualistic prayer; petitionary prayer (the most common
form in the U.S.); and conversational prayer.
Today polls show that most Americans believe that faith and prayer can benefit health. In response, more than 60 medical schools are now teaching courses on religious and spiritual issues, and many hospitals and clinics have set up centers for spirituality and healing.