Traditionally speaking, prayer is a supplication — asking for something. With prayer, we are usually asking God for something or wishing for things to be different than they are. In meditation, by contrast, we are listening for God to speak to us. Spiritual teacher Sharon Callahan of Mt. Shasta, Calif., often invites her students to do both each day by "asking and listening receptively."
Whether you pray or meditate, entering the silence on a regular basis — in effect, giving yourself a "time out" from the constant "doingness" of daily life — can help guide you toward physical, emotional and spiritual health. When you stop to pray for the answer to a question you can't solve, you may discover that the solution shows up in the space you've created.
When you include prayer in your daily life, says Catholic and cardiologist Stephen Sinatra, MD, "You may become more open to life, more flexible, more centered. You may find it easier to resolve your problems and cope with stressful situations. Your relationships with others will deepen."
Dr. Sinatra often recommends that his patients consult the book The Miracle of Prayer by Rosemary Ellen Guiley and consider her seven essential practices to enrich prayer life.