Prayer circle

Prayer circle

Prayer circles have several different interpretations across Christianity and other religions. The most common definition of a prayer circle is where participants simply join hands in a literal circle of prayer, often as part of a vigil. Although these informal prayer circles have been practiced for centuries, their recent resurgence in popularity is frequently attributed to their use in the Catholic Charismatic Renewal movement. Similarly, amongst North American and specifically Native American Catholics, prayer circles have formed around Kateri Tekakwitha, who was the first Native American to be beatified by the Roman Catholic Church. Tekakwitha Conference prayer circles, called Kateri Prayer Circles, have been formed on nearly all U.S. Indian Reservations. In Islam, Muslims who make the pilgrimage to Mecca will form concentric circles around the Kaaba in prayer, and these too are commonly referred to as prayer circles.

A more modern definition of the prayer circle has recently been coined, referring to a growing number of online communities where people visit certain Web sites in order to share their thoughts and prayers with other like-minded worshippers, usually within specially-designated message board areas.

Origin of Prayer Circles

Ritual prayer in a circle around an altar is not unique to Christianity. Ritual ceremonies around an altar are common in paganism, and ritual prayer dances around an altar were practiced by early Christians, especially Gnostics, before the practice was condemned as a heresy by the Second Council of Nicaea in 787 A.D. ("See" Nibley, "The Early Christian Prayer Circle", page 41.) Much later, Protestants began conducting informal prayer circles. Sometimes these communities are developed online such as []

Online Prayer Circles

With the World Wide Web's rapid growth amongst all sectors of society, many Christians and other faith-based peoples have found a niche on the Internet where they can share their prayers, thoughts and wishes with each other. It's not known who was the first to set up an online prayer circle, but today there are dozens, if not hundreds, of Web sites set up for these purposes, from large-scale sites run by The American Bible Society and Beliefnet to smaller message boards run by community churches.

An online prayer circle is often a vigil set up by a participant in honor of someone close to that participant. Larger online prayer circles are also formed in honor and remembrance of the victims of notable disasters or tragedies. Though religious in tone, online prayer circles are by and large non-denominational and at times are not even explicitly Christian.

Prayer Circles in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

In Mormonism, a Prayer Circle, also known as the True Order of Prayer, is a ritual established by Joseph Smith, Jr. that some Mormonswho believe is a more potent means of receiving blessings and revelation from God. The ritual involves an antiphonic recitation of prayer by participants joined in a circle around an altar.

Prayer circles were common in the Protestant revivals of the Second Great Awakening that occurred in the youth of Joseph Smith, Jr. Early Mormons practiced conventional Protestant-type prayer circles at least as early as 1833.

On May 4, 1842, Smith met with nine other men and performed the first Endowment Ceremony. It is not clear whether this ceremony included a prayer circle. However, prayer circles became the main purpose of meetings of the Anointed Quorum on May 26, 1843. Women were first included in the ceremony on September 28, 1843. ("See" D. Michael Quinn, "Latter-day Saint Prayer Circles", page 84.)

After the murder of Joseph Smith, Jr., The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints continued to practice prayer circles in Latter-day Saint temples. In addition, local stake and ward prayer circles were organized and conducted until May 3, 1978, when the First Presidency announced that all prayer circles should be discontinued except those performed in a temple as part of an Endowment ceremony. ("See" Spencer W. Kimball, N. Eldon Tanner, and Marion G. Romney, Letter to All Stake Presidents and Bishops, May 3, 1978; "Update", 3 "Sunstone" 6 (July-August 1978).) The reason for this change is unknown, but could have resulted in part from the explosive growth of the Church, and the fact that prayer circles were usually organized by a member of the First Presidency or the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. ("See" Quinn, "Latter-day Saint Prayer Circles", page 105.) Otherswho have speculated that the change stems from the desire of the Latter-day Saint leadership to more tightly control the use of the associated "priesthood keys" and spiritual gifts to prevent misuse of God's power and gifts.

External links

* [ ABS Circle of Prayer]
* [ ABS Círculo de Oración]
* [ BeliefNet]
* [ My Prayer Circle]


#Harvard reference | First=Hugh | Last=Nibley | Authorlink=Hugh Nibley | Title=The Early Christian Prayer Circle | Journal=BYU Studies | Year=1978 | Volume=19 | Issue=1 | Pages=41–78.
#Harvard reference | First=D. Michael | Last=Quinn | Authorlink=D. Michael Quinn | Title=Latter-day Saint Prayer Circles | Journal=BYU Studies | Year=1978 | Volume=19 | Issue=1 | Pages=79–105 .


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Circle in the Sand — Single by Belinda Carlisle from the album Heaven on Earth Released 1988 …   Wikipedia

  • prayer — noun ADJECTIVE ▪ little, quick, short ▪ She whispered a little prayer. ▪ private, quiet, silent ▪ S …   Collocations dictionary

  • Drum circle — A drum circle is any group of people playing (usually) hand drums and percussion in a circle. They are distinct from a drumming group or troupe in that the drum circle is an end in itself rather than preparation for a performance. They can range… …   Wikipedia

  • An American Prayer — An American Prayer: Jim Morrison An American Prayer: Jim Morrison (1978) Album par The Doors Sortie novembre 1978 Enregistrement 1970 (poèmes de Jim Morrison) / 1978 (musique) Genre(s) Rock Producteur(s) The Doors …   Wikipédia en Français

  • An American Prayer — Студийный альбом The Doors Дата выпуска ноябрь 1978 Записан 1977 …   Википедия

  • St. Thomas' Parish Dupont Circle — History = Calvary Parish (later to be called St. Thomas’ Parish) was formed in 1891 to serve the Dupont Circle area of Washington, D.C. with the Rev. John Abel Aspinwall as its first rector. [ St. Thomas… …   Wikipedia

  • Full Circle (The Doors) — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Full Circle. Full Circle (1972) Album par The Doors Sortie septembre 1972 Enregistrement mi 1971 …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Full Circle — Студийный альбом The Doors Дата выпуска сентябрь, 1972 Записан август 19 …   Википедия

  • An American Prayer: Jim Morrison — (1978) Album par The Doors Sortie novembre 1978 Enregistrement 1970 (poèmes de Jim Morrison) / 1978 (musique) Genre Rock Producteur The Doors …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Anglican prayer beads — Sometimes known as the Anglican rosary, Christian prayer beads, or ecumenical prayer beads, Anglican prayer beads are a loop of strung beads which Anglicans and other Christians use as a focus for prayer. Anglican prayer beads were developed in… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”