Different ways to say to pray in Thai

by | Nov 18, 2020 | Thai, Vocabulary

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There are a few ways to say To pray in Thai depending on how you pray. In this article, I’m going to teach you vocabulary and give you context in which each word is used so that you will be able to use them correctly and naturally.

อธิษฐาน à-tít-tăan

Woman Praying | To pray in Thai - อธิษฐาน

This word means to pray. First, let take a look at the definition of ‘to pray’ in Wikipedia. To pray: “address a solemn request or expression of thanks to a deity or other object of worship”.

Christians always use this word when referring to prayer. Christians use prayer when ‘talking’ to god or when thanking him. However, This word is not limited to Christianity. Buddhists, and other religions, also use this when they are asking or requesting something from their object of worship.

This is the word you use, for example, when praying before eating, when praying for safety, etc.

The word that usually follows อธิษฐาน is usually ต่อ (dtòr), ขอ (kŏr), or เผื่อ (pèua). ต่อ means ‘to’. ขอ means to ask for something. เผื่อ means for someone

Let’s take a look at some examples:

  • I pray to God every day.
    ฉันอธิษฐานต่อพระเจ้าทุกวัน
    chăn à-tít-tăan dtòr prá jâo túk wan

  • I pray to the gods for my mom’s safety.
    ฉันอธิษฐานต่อพระให้แม่ปลอดภัย
    chăn à-tít-tăan dtòr prá hâi mâe bplòt pai

  • I pray for a happy married life.
    ฉันอธิษฐานขอให้ชีวิตคู่มีความสุข
    chăn à-tít-tăan kŏr hâi chee-wít kôo mee kwaam sùk

ภาวนา paa-wá-naa

ภาวนา (paa-wá-naa) is another way to say to pray. The meaning is the same as that of อธิษฐาน (à-tít-tăan). Together they can form a double word which is อธิษฐานภาวนา (à-tít-tăan paa-wá-naa). Double words always give more emphasis to the word and makes it sound nicer and more formal.

Example:

  • All Thais pray for the problems to end.
    คนไทยทุกคนอธิษฐานภาวนาขอให้ปัญหาจบลง
    kon tai túk kon à-tít-tăan paa-wá-naa kŏr hâi bpan-hăa jòp long

สวดมนต์ sùat mon

Buddhists Praying | To pray in Thai - สวดมนต์

สวดมนต์ (sùat mon) means to pray but in a recital manner such as chanting. It’s usually used in Buddhism when the monk or the believers pray in front of the Buddha statue or in a temple.

In Buddhism, many verses are written in Thai Alphabet but they are words from Sanskrit. Many times Buddhists memorize these verses and know which verse brings which type of luck and then recite it (even though they don’t understand what they are saying). The word สวดมนต์ can also be shortened to สวด (sùat). Let’s take a look at some example:

  • Today is Buddhist Day, 7 monks will come recite prayers at the temple.
    วันี้เป็นวันเข้าพรรษา พระ 7 องค์จะมาสวดมนต์ที่วัด
    wan née bpen wan kâo pan-săa · prá jèt ong jà maa sùat mon têe wát

  • I recite prayers every night before sleeping.
    ฉันสวดมนต์ทุกคืนก่อนนอน
    chăn sùat mon túk keun gòn non

In fact, สวด (sùat) can be used by youngsters to mean get scolded (like the word ด่า). But unlike ด่า (dàa) which is more like a harsh scold. สวด depicts an image of scolding by using unpleasant, repetitive, and boring “noises” (sort of like boring prayer chants that you don’t understand).

  • My mom scolded me again with the same old story this morning.
    เมื่อเช้าโดนแม่สวดเรื่องเดิมอีกแล้ว
    mêua cháo dohn mâe sùat rêuang derm èek láew

ละหมาด lá màat

Muslims Praying | To pray in Thai - ละหมาด

ละหมาด (lá màat) is like สวดมนต์ (sùat mon) but for Muslims. Muslims pray 5 times per day. Thai people would say that they ละหมาด 5 times per day. In airports and some hotels, there are ห้องละหมาด (hông lá màat) = prayer rooms for Muslims.

Example:

  • Muslims pray 5 times a day.
    คนมุสลิมละหมาด 5 ครั้งต่อวัน
    kon mút-sà-lim lá màat hâa kráng dtòr wan

  • Every time you go inside the Muslim prayer room, you must take off your shoes.
    ทุกครั้งที่เข้าห้องละหมาดต้องถอดรองเท้า
    túk kráng têe kâo hông lá màat dtông tòt rong táo


Summary

To summarize,

  • อธิษฐาน (à-tít-tăan) and ภาวนา (paa-wá-naa) mean to pray, ask for a request, or thank god.

  • สวดมนต์ (sùat mon) is also to pray but when doing it in a recital manner such chanting.

  • ละหมาด (lá màat) is the prayers that Muslims do.

I hope that all these words will help you to understand how to say ‘to pray’ in Thai language correctly. I will อธิษฐาน (à-tít-tăan) every day that you guys improve your Thai!

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