Prayer vs. Wish: What's the Difference?
"Prayer" typically involves a solemn request or expression of thanks to a deity or higher power, while a "wish" is a desire or hope for something to happen, not necessarily directed to a divine entity. They differ in formality, target, and cultural contex
A "prayer" is commonly understood as a structured form of communication directed towards a deity, higher power, or spiritual force. It often entails specific words, postures, or rituals. A "wish," on the other hand, is more casual and represents a yearning or desire for something to come true but doesn't necessitate a spiritual context.
"Prayer" usually carries religious or spiritual connotations, often involving supplication, confession, praise, or thanksgiving. "Wish" is generally secular and can be as simple as wanting a particular outcome, like winning a game or having a sunny day. The word "wish" is not restricted to religious or spiritual environments.
From a grammatical standpoint, "prayer" is usually a noun, although the verb form "to pray" exists. "Wish" can serve as both a verb and a noun, enabling more versatile usage in sentences. For example, "I say a prayer every night" versus "I wish for good weather."
In terms of formality, "prayers" are often seen as more formal and are generally a part of religious services or rituals. "Wishes," in contrast, are usually informal and can be made impulsively. For instance, one may say a prayer in a church, but make a wish upon seeing a shooting star.
In summary, while "prayer" and "wish" both involve a desire for something, they differ in their formality, the entities they are directed towards, and their cultural or spiritual context. "Prayer" is generally more structured and spiritual, while "wish" is more versatile and often secular.
Primarily a noun
Can be both a noun and a verb
Usually formal and structured
Usually informal and spontaneous
Directed towards a higher power or deity
Not necessarily directed towards any specific entity
Generally more structured phrases and sentences
More versatile in sentence structure
Prayer and Wish Definitions
A religious ritual involving spoken or sung words.
The evening prayer service was peaceful.
A desire for a specific outcome.
My wish is to travel the world.
A plea for help or guidance.
The soldiers said a prayer before going into battle.
An aspiration or longing.
His lifelong wish was to become a pilot.
An expression of gratitude towards a divine entity.
Their prayers of thanks filled the church.
A casual expression of wanting.
I wish for good weather tomorrow.
A reverent petition made to God, a god, or another object of worship.
A feeling that one would like to have or do something or to see something happen; a desire, longing, or strong inclination for a specific thing.
The act of making a reverent petition to God, a god, or another object of worship
Belief in the power of prayer.
An expression of a desire, longing, or strong inclination
Carried out the wishes included in the will.
An act of communion with God, a god, or another object of worship, such as in devotion, confession, praise, or thanksgiving
One evening a week, the family would join together in prayer.
An expression of desire for the happiness or success of another
Sent me his best wishes.
A specially worded form used to address God, a god, or another object of worship.
Something desired or longed for
Finally got his wish to see the ocean.
Prayers A religious observance in which praying predominates
To long for; want.
A fervent request
Her prayer for rain was granted at last.
To feel or express a desire for
I wish them good luck. He wished her good night.
The thing requested
His safe arrival was their only prayer.
To order, entreat, or request
I wish you to go. I wish it to be known that I disagree.
The slightest chance or hope
In a storm the mountain climbers won't have a prayer.
To desire (something bad) to happen to someone
I would not wish such an illness on anyone.
The request for relief by a party initiating a lawsuit, stated in the pleadings.
To have or feel a desire
Wish for a successful outcome.
The portion of the pleadings that contains this request.
To express a wish.
(uncountable) A practice of communicating with one's God, or with some spiritual entity.
Through prayer I ask for God's guidance.
In many cultures, prayer involves singing.
A desire, hope, or longing for something or for something to happen.
Have a wish
Make someone's wish come true
(countable) An act of praying.
An expression of such a desire, often connected with ideas of magic and supernatural power.
Make a wish
The specific words or methods used for praying.
Christians recite the Lord's Prayer.
For Baha'is there's a difference between obligatory and devotional prayer.
The thing desired or longed for.
My dearest wish is to see them happily married.
A meeting held for the express purpose of praying.
Grandpa never misses a chance to go to prayer.
(Sussex) A water meadow.
(countable) A request; a petition.
This, your honor, is my prayer; that all here be set free.
(transitive) To desire; to want.
I'll come tomorrow, if you wish it.
The remotest hope or chance.
That team doesn't have a prayer of winning the championship.
To hope (+ object clause with may or in present subjunctive).
One who prays.
To hope (for a particular outcome), even if that outcome is unlikely to occur or cannot occur.
I wish I could go back in time and teach myself what I know now.
One who prays; a supplicant.
(ditransitive) To bestow (a thought or gesture) towards (someone or something).
We wish you a Merry Christmas.
The act of praying, or of asking a favor; earnest request or entreaty; hence, a petition or memorial addressed to a court or a legislative body.
To request or desire to do an activity.
The act of addressing supplication to a divinity, especially to the true God; the offering of adoration, confession, supplication, and thanksgiving to the Supreme Being; as, public prayer; secret prayer.
As he is famed for mildness, peace, and prayer.
(transitive) To recommend; to seek confidence or favour on behalf of.
The form of words used in praying; a formula of supplication; an expressed petition; especially, a supplication addressed to God; as, a written or extemporaneous prayer; to repeat one's prayers.
He made those excellent prayers which were published immediately after his death.
To have a desire or yearning; to long; to hanker.
They cast four anchors out of the stern, and wished for the day.
This is as good an argument as an antiquary could wish for.
The act of communicating with a deity (especially as a petition or in adoration or contrition or thanksgiving);
The priest sank to his knees in prayer
To desire; to long for; to hanker after; to have a mind or disposition toward.
I would not wishAny companion in the world but you.
I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper.
Reverent petition to a deity
To frame or express desires concerning; to invoke in favor of, or against, any one; to attribute, or cal down, in desire; to invoke; to imprecate.
I would not wish them to a fairer death.
I wish it may not prove some ominous foretoken of misfortune to have met with such a miser as I am.
Let them be driven backward, and put to shame, that wish me evil.
Earnest or urgent request;
An entreaty to stop the fighting
An appeal for help
An appeal to the public to keep calm
To recommend; to seek confidence or favor in behalf of.
I would be glad to thrive, sir,And I was wished to your worship by a gentleman.
A fixed text used in praying
Desire; eager desire; longing.
Behold, I am according to thy wish in God a stead.
Someone who prays to God
Expression of desire; request; petition; hence, invocation or imprecation.
Blistered be thy tongue for such a wish.
A solemn request to a deity.
His prayer for healing was heartfelt.
A thing desired; an object of desire.
Will he, wise, let loose at once his ire . . . To give his enemies their wish!
An act of communicating with God or a higher power.
She finds solace in prayer.
A specific feeling of desire;
He got his wish
He was above all wishing and desire
An expression of some desire or inclination;
I could tell that it was his wish that the guests leave
His crying was an indirect request for attention
(usually plural) a polite expression of desire for someone's welfare;
Give him my kind regards
My best wishes
The particular preference that you have;
It was his last wish
They should respect the wishes of the people
Hope for; have a wish;
I wish I could go home now
Prefer or wish to do something;
Do you care to try this dish?
Would you like to come along to the movies?
Have in mind;
I will take the exam tomorrow
Make or express a wish;
I wish that Christmas were over
Feel or express a desire or hope concerning the future or fortune of
Order politely; express a wish for
Wish you a nice evening
To hope for something to happen.
I wish you'd stay.
To request or command politely.
I wish you to leave at once.
Is "prayer" always religious?
While commonly religious, "prayer" can be spiritual without adhering to a specific religion.
Is "wish" religious?
"Wish" is generally secular but can appear in religious contexts.
What does "wish" generally mean?
"Wish" generally means a desire or hope for something to happen.
Can "prayer" be a verb?
"Prayer" is usually a noun, but the verb form "to pray" exists.
What does "prayer" generally mean?
"Prayer" typically means a structured communication directed towards a deity or higher power.
Is "wish" formal?
"Wish" is usually informal and can be made spontaneously.
Can "wish" be both a noun and a verb?
Yes, "wish" can function as both a noun and a verb.
Is "prayer" only for asking?
No, "prayer" can involve asking, thanking, or praising a divine entity.
Is "prayer" formal?
"Prayer" is generally considered formal and often involves specific rituals.
Can "prayer" be secular?
"Prayer" is usually religious or spiritual but can be secular in some contexts.
Can you "make a wish"?
Yes, the phrase "make a wish" is commonly used to express a desire.
Can you "say a prayer"?
Yes, "saying a prayer" is a common way to express engaging in the act of prayer.
Can "wishes" be granted?
In folklore and fiction, wishes can be granted by magical entities.
Are "prayers" always spoken?
No, prayers can be spoken, written, or silently thought.
Can "wish" involve asking someone?
Yes, "wish" can be used to politely request or command someone to do something.
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