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This question is a multiple-tradition overview question, which means that all kinds of views on the matter from all various traditions that are present in Christianity are welcome.

Is prayer an integral part of worshiping, or is it possible to worship without a prayer?

Would this kind of worship be reckoned as valid?

If possible, please answer in the perspective of both Old Testament and New Testament.

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I think this question is far too broad; aside from the lack of doctrinal guidelines (which I personally think is already a fatal flaw). To answer this question, definitions for both "prayer" and "worship" are necessary. Comments on one answer below demonstrate this failing. I also wonder if a better question to get at the OP's intent would be "What role does prayer play in Worship?" This may sound more general (and maybe it is), but it seems to focus less on definitions and requirements... just my 2 cents. –  Flimzy Feb 6 '12 at 18:19

4 Answers 4

up vote 3 down vote accepted

I've been an Evangelical, a Presbyterian, a Catholic, and I've had long discussions with Orthodox. Everyone I have come in contact with has been of the opinion that worship is prayer.


As is noted in the comments, worship is a type of prayer. They are not synonyms.

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I wonder how then those of Catholic and Orthodox square up their practice of praying to the saints with the God-given commandment to worship the Lord God only? –  brilliant Feb 6 '12 at 15:59
    
The way I read Ephesians 6:18 NIV, is to pray for the saints not to the saints. I think praying to saints or not is a completely different question. –  user1054 Feb 6 '12 at 16:06
    
I agree it's a completely different question, but I hoped that cwallenpoole had some quick answer to it. –  brilliant Feb 6 '12 at 16:15
    
Who ever said that we worship saints? I said that worship is prayer, not that prayer is worship. Subset not synonym. –  cwallenpoole Feb 6 '12 at 17:25
    
So, according to you, a prayer is not always an act of worshiping? –  brilliant Feb 6 '12 at 19:06

Noticed no one mentioned the book of Corinthians. Specifically 1 Corinthians 14:14-17. You see, it tells us explicitly that "praying in the spirit" is giving thanks to God, which is part of telling God how much He means to you! Here it is, " For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful. What is the conclusion then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding. Otherwise, if you bless with the spirit, how will he who occupies the place of the uninformed say 'Amen' at your giving of thanks, since he does not understand what you say? For you indeed give thanks well, but the other is not edified." Oh sure, you my not believe tongues is for 'today', as I do, but you can not say it was not for 'then'. For back 'then' they did and it was 'giving thanks' (worship), well! Do not be unbelieving, Luke 11:13.

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Simple tautology

  1. Prayer is communication with God
  2. Worship is the act of telling God how much he means to you Ergo,
  3. Worship is a kind of prayer
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Why "Worship is the act of telling God how much he means to you"? Is the act of, say, offering sacrifices(which can be easily performed absolutely without talking to/communicating with God), not qualified as an act of worship? –  brilliant Feb 7 '12 at 7:03
    
Sign language doesn't "talk" but it's clearly communication. By definition worship is a communicative activity designed to communicate the "worth-ship" of God. Can't think of any reason to do that in such a way that God is unaware of what is being said. –  Affable Geek Feb 7 '12 at 13:27
    
I think God is always aware of everything. The point here is whether the one who performs (or apparently performs) an act of sign language is in fact saying something to God or just merely observes some ordinance. Do you think that those people who offered sacrifices with the help of a priest of the tabernacle in the O.T. were always simultaneously praying (or even were supposed to simultaneously pray) to Jehovah while offering those sacrifices? If a person was making an offering, but at the same time in his heart he was not saying anything to the Lord, was that still a prayer? –  brilliant Feb 7 '12 at 14:17

Sorry that my answer isn't multitradition, but I can answer biblically speaking.

The Lord tells us to pray:

Ephesians 6:18 NIV

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.

Luke 18:1

Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.

And offers help in how to pray:

Romans 8:26-27 NIV

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will

And tells us WHY to pray:

Zechariah 13:9 NIV

This third I will bring into the fire; I will refine them like silver and test them like gold. They will call on my name and I will answer them; I will say, 'They are my people,' and they will say, 'The LORD is our God.'

So, what if you don't pray? I don't think it's a sin or you'd lose salvation because of it, but you will be a better person with it. It's a bit of stretch, but you could say that it's similar to adultery -

Matthew 5:28 NIV

But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

But we have eyes to see and minds to think, thus we've all committed adultery (some more than others). However you will not lose your salvation, you'll just have a better life if you keep the eyes from wondering.

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Thank you for your answer, Dan, but it seems that you haven't said a word about worshiping. –  brilliant Feb 6 '12 at 15:55
    
What does worshiping mean to you? –  user1054 Feb 6 '12 at 15:56
    
Well, in fact i came up with this question trying to understand what worshiping is. –  brilliant Feb 6 '12 at 16:00
    
To me, worshiping is having a relationship with the deity of your choice. How you worship is based on your religion. Communication with God is a cornerstone of Christianity across many denominations. Some faiths believe you should make an offering to your deity to maintain the relationship, whereas some pray. –  user1054 Feb 6 '12 at 16:12
    
really? a -1? I really wish people would comment when they -1 –  user1054 Feb 7 '12 at 14:58

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