Prayer Questionnaire

Prayer Questionnaire

The questions below invite you to reflect on your thoughts about, and practice regarding, your use of prayer. It may be that you pray in different ways, and perhaps for different reasons, depending on circumstance. If so, please treat each circumstance separately. In this way you will be able to achieve a richer picture of your engagement with prayer.


What distinctions, if any, do you make between prayer, meditation and contemplation?
If you make little distinction between these activities, which term do you prefer to use for what it is that you do: prayer, meditation or contemplation?
(In the rest of this list of questions, the terms ‘pray’ and ‘prayer’ will be used. Answer the questions in whatever ways are most helpful for you.)

List the circumstances under which you pray:
a) physical environment,
b) occasions.
Try to be exhaustive. For each of these circumstances, suggest how frequently you pray.

When you pray, do you use words?
If you use words, are the words yours, or those of someone else, such as a benediction or words from a prayer book?
If the words are your own, are they spontaneous, or do your words follow a set formula?

If you use words in your prayer, do you pray out loud, or silently?
If you pray out loud, do you pray in unison with other people?
Do you pray in chant?

Rank in order of preference with whom you prefer to pray:
* with another person (your parent, your partner, a minister)
* with other people who you know (such as a group of friends, a house-group, a small and familiar church congregation)
* in crowds (such as a large church congregation, a public gathering)

In order to enter a prayerful state of mind, which of the following do you perform:
* Read a passage of scriptural or religious writing
* Focus your attention on a devotional object
* Focus your attention on a devotional word or phrase
* Focus your attention on a calming word or phrase
* Focus your attention on your breathing
* Allow all thoughts to float away
If your prayer is directed towards someone or something, to what or whom do you pray?

For which of the purposes listed below do you typically pray?
* To praise, worship and adore (this might be highly religious, but might equally, say, concern the wonder of nature, the wonder of existence, or love for another person)
* To request something for yourself (e.g. money, preferment, success, better health)
* To request something for another person (e.g. success, better health)
* To petition for a miracle
* To discern the divine will (so as to give guidance in a specific situation)
* To align yourself with the divine will (acceptance / obedience)
* To align your self (selves) more robustly with virtue
* To access your sense of spirituality
* To create an inner sense of calm
* To reach a place of inner equanimity and detachment
List any other purposes regarding why you pray.

How successful / effective does your act of praying tend to be?

How do you measure the effectiveness of your praying?

Are there times and / or occasions when your praying appears to have been more / less effective?

Explain the mechanisms by which, you believe, your praying is effective.

A daily prayer

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