Photo Gallery:The World at Prayer

Striking images of worship around the globe

"Faith itself is the soul's true country, and prayer is its native language," says theologian Donald Spoto. Every minute of every day, in every language and in every corner of the globe, people reach out to the divine in prayer. The new book Talking to God: Portrait of a World at Prayer offers remarkable photos of prayer practices in many lands. Click here for a glimpse.

Photos provided courtesy of Stone Creek Publications from the book Talking to God: Portrait of a World at Prayer:

Foreword by Huston Smith
Introduction by Phyllis Tickle

Text by Karen Armstrong, the Dalai Lama, Mohandas K. Gandhi, Thich Nhat Hanh, Jack Kornfield, Harold Kushner, C. S. Lewis, Thomas Merton, Thomas Moore, Seyyed Hossein Nasr, Kathleen Norris, Pope John Paul II, David Steindl-Rast, Desmond Tutu, Elie Wiesel, Michael Wolfe, and Carol Zaleski

Edited by John Gattuso

Copyright 2006. All photo rights reserved. No photos in this gallery may be reproduced without the written permission of Stone Creek Publications. Prayers and scripture text selected by Beliefnet editor Laura Sheahen.

Native American Prayer

In the house made of dawn.
In the story made of dawn.
On the trail of dawn…

Beauty before me,
Beauty behind me,
Beauty above me,
Beauty below me,
Beauty around me,

It is finished in beauty.
It is finished in beauty.

--Native American prayer

[Image: Doused with sacred cornmeal and earth, an Apache girl prays for the good of her people during a four-day initiation rite known as the Sunrise Ceremony. Photographer: Stephen Trimble]

Jain Prayer

We forgive all living beings,
We are friendly towards
    all living beings,
We seek enmity with none,
We ask forgiveness from all.

--Jain prayer

[Image: A pilgrim prays at the feet of Sri Gomatheswar, son of a revered Jain sage. The statue stands atop a hill in Karnataka, India. Photographer: Andrea Pistolesi]

Psalm 51

Create in me a clean heart, O God,

and renew a right spirit within me.

--Psalm 51

[Image: Father and son pray together at a New Orleans Promise Keepers conference, a gathering of evangelical Christian men.  Photographer: Louis DeLuca]

Gayatri Mantra

O God, you are the giver of life,
the remover of pain and sorrow,
the bestower of happiness.

O Creator of the universe,
may we receive your supreme, sin-destroying light;
may you guide us in the right direction.

--Gayatri mantra (Hindu prayer)

[Image: A Hindu woman pours water, and prayer, into the sacred Ganges River in India. Photographer: Mark Downey]

Jewish Prayer

Blessed are you, O God, our Lord, King of the Universe, who remembers the covenant, is faithful to his covenant, and keeps his promise.

--Jewish prayer

[Image: A Jewish man recites prayers in Brooklyn, New York. Photographer: Abraham Menashe]

Muslim Creed

There is no God but Allah.

--Muslim creed

There is no reality but God.

--Sufi version

[Image: Dressed in prayer robes, a Muslim girl and her mother sit in a mosque in Banda Aceh, Indonesia. Photographer: Steve Raymer / Asia Images]

Easter sermon of St. John Chrysostom

Christ is risen,
    and death is overthrown.
Christ is risen,
    and the demons are fallen.
Christ is risen,
    and the angels rejoice.
Christ is risen,
    and life reigns.
Christ is risen,
    and not one dead remains in
    the grave.
To Him be glory
    and dominion
Unto ages of ages!

--Easter sermon of St. John Chrysostom

[Image: A woman looks upwards at an Easter service in Levadia, Greece. Photographer: Andrea Pistolesi]

Gospel of Luke

Not my will, but thine, be done.

--Gospel of Luke

[Image: Latter-day Saints bow their heads in prayer at a Mormon pioneer re-enactment in Utah. Photographer: Stephen Trimble]


Better than if there were
thousands of meaningless words
Is one meaningful word
that on hearing brings peace.

--Dhammapada (Buddhist text)

[Image: A Buddhist man meditates at Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon, Myanmar. Photographer: Mark Downey]

Psalm 27

The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?

--Psalm 27

[Image: A man prays in St. Mary Magdalene Church on Long Island in the Bahamas. Photographer: Bob Krist]


Hear, O Israel, the Lord our
    God, the Lord is One.
Blessed be the Name of His
    glorious kingdom for ever
    and ever.
And you shall love the Lord
    your God
with all your heart and with all
    your soul and with all your

--Shema (Jewish prayer)

[Image: Orthodox Jews gather at the Western Wall in Jerusalem to recite prayers and read scripture. Photographer: Richard Nowitz]

Roman Catholic litany to the Virgin Mary

Mirror of justice, pray for us.
Seat of wisdom, pray for us.
Cause of our joy, pray for us.
Mystical rose, pray for us.

Tower of David, pray for us.
Tower of ivory, pray for us.

Gate of heaven, pray for us.
Morning star, pray for us.

--Roman Catholic litany to the Virgin Mary

[Image: A pilgrim pauses before a statue of Mary in the Basilique Ste-Anne-De-Beaupre in Quebec. Photographer: Richard Nowitz]

Christian Prayer

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

--Christian prayer

[Image: A Navajo cowboy at an Arizona rodeo reflects for a few moments before mounting a bronco. Photographer: Stephen Trimble]


In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful.
All praise belongs to God,
Lord of all worlds,
the Compassionate, the Merciful,
Ruler of Judgment Day.
It is You that we worship,
and to You we appeal for help.
Show us the straight way,
the way of those You have graced,
not of those on whom is Your wrath,
nor of those who wander astray.

--Qur'an, Al Fatihah 1:1-7 (Muslim prayer)

[Image: Muslim women pray during Ramadan at the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem. Photographer: Richard Nowitz]

Psalm 95

The Lord is a mighty God,
holding in his hand the
     depths of the earth
and the summits of the
His is the sea, for he made it,
and the dry land he shaped
     with his hands.

--Psalm 95

[Image: Qero Indians pray at a wayside shrine in mountainous Cuzco province, Peru. Photographer: Victor Englebert]

Saint Francis of Assisi

My God and my all!

--Saint Francis of Assisi

[Image: A woman prays at Imago Dei Community Church in Portland, Oregon. Photographer: Mark Downey]

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