Get free help preparing your taxes from AARP Foundation Tax-Aide. Find a location

Contests and

AARP’s Superstar
2015 Contest

Sing for a chance to win $5,000! Enter AARP’s Superstar 2015 Contest!
See official rules.


most popular


The Power of Prayer

6 spiritual leaders offer advice on how you can pray

Newly elected Pope Francis I waves from the balcony of St Peter's Basilica

Pope Francis I waves from a balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica. — Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, 76, of Argentina was elected Pope Francis I on March 13 after two days of debate, discussion and prayer by the College of Cardinals.

Prayer plays a role in various spiritual traditions in different ways. Although a majority of Americans say they pray on a regular basis, there's no clear consensus on the best way to do it. We asked a panel of spiritual experts about how to make the most of prayer in daily life — and whether it's OK to improvise.

The late Mother Teresa prays in Calcutta, India, in 1989.

The late Mother Teresa prays in Calcutta in 1989. — Raghu Rai/Magnum Photos

Cofounder of the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Mass.

Mother Teresa was asked once what she says when she prays to God. She answered, "I don't say anything. I just listen." "What does God say to you then?" they asked. "He doesn't say anything. He just listens. And if you don't understand this, I can't explain it to you." This is a very beautiful notion of prayer: refining the art of listening.  

Prayer is a process of purification. We're using prayer not only as a request but also as a way of transforming our own hearts and minds. This transformation is what we are asking for in prayer: the purification of our hearts from forces that cause suffering, greed, hatred, ignorance and so on. If we understand prayer as having this function, we can work internally to purify things we want to change.

Next page: Pray in your own way. »

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts


Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

membership ancestry

Members save 30% on  a one-year subscription to

Grocery Coupon Center

Members can print savings coupons at the Grocery Coupon Center powered by

Member Benefits Discounts Angie's List

Members can save 25% to 45% on their Angie's List membership.

Member Benefits

Join or renew today! Members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.