Meditation and Prayer: What are the Major Differences?

When talking about meditation and prayer, we can simply say that both acts make use of the mind. Technically, they are acts that also make use of fully-concentrated thoughts but with contrasting goals. Through the years, the popularity of meditation and prayer has been into many discussions especially when it comes to their usefulness in the life of a person. However, it can be noted that both acts have also been into a good number of debates and arguments especially when it comes to this question: are meditations and prayers the same? What makes them different and similar to one another?

Meditation and Prayer Defined

It’s important to determine the definitions of both in order to come up with a good analysis. This way, it will be much easier for everyone to tell their differences as well as their similarities.

Meditate – it is the act of a person to undergo a mental drill or exercise (breathing concentration and mantra repetition) to reach a heightened degree or level in the field of spiritual awareness.

Prayer – it is the act of making a request in a submissive and humble manner; an act of addressing God or a god with a great deal of adoration, supplication, confession, or thanksgiving.

Looking at the definition of each, we can say that they both make use of the mind, and they also entail full concentration of the thoughts. However, they have different goals. Theoretically, there are over seven billion types of prayer and over seven billion types of meditation as well. This simply means that every individual has a different goal for his personal session. Every day, thousands, if not millions of prayers and meditations are performed. Also, both can be performed either in a spoken (normal or loud) or silent manner.

Meditation and Prayer: The Facts

Prayer is considered by Islam, Judaism, and Christianity as an essential part of their monotheistic beliefs. When a person starts to pray, the prayer itself will contain thoughts and messages to God (or Allah or Yahweh) and praises Him in the process. There are prayers that are done to ask for forgiveness of one’s sins and shortcomings. It can be noted that whatever prayer is performed, it will only boil down into the following as taught by Lord Jesus Christ in His prayer: praising God and asking for safety and His blessings.

Meditation, on the other hand, is commonly known and performed around the world and this proves to be very much true in religions found in the eastern part of the globe. Meditation originated from Buddhism, specifically its founder and proponent, Siddharta Gautama, also known as Buddha. Instead of sending thoughts, an individual who meditates would often focus on his soul to reach a higher level of divinity and spiritual awareness. It also follows a certain sense of formality – sit silently while putting thoughts (even no thoughts at all) in the mind. Mindfulness meditation is the most popular kind of meditation because it is much easier to learn compared to other kinds. A person will only have to sit in one place and follow his breath in the process.

Reasoning scientifically

Scientifically speaking, here’s what have been found out:


  • Aids stress
  • Promotes forgiveness
  • Promotes self-control


  • Makes a person less stressed out
  • Promotes self-control
  • Promotes forgiveness
  • Promotes empathy

Other similarities

Speaking at its core, we can clearly state that meditation and prayer are almost exactly the same. Meditation and prayer are ways for individuals to sit with all humility and reflect. These two are commonly used for positive and good intentions. And lastly, meditation and prayer can make a person like you, a better individual and creation of God.




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