Christians use prayer to praise God, to bless and adore him, to thank him for his gifts, to petition him for both bodily and spiritual needs, and to intercede for others. Roman Catholic and Orthodox Christians use prayer to Mary and the saints in heaven to obtain their intercession.
Christians pray for both needs and legitimate wants for themselves and for others, but at the same time they surrender all supplications to the will of God. For the Christian, prayer is not a magical spell to obtain a desired result, but it is the maintenance of a personal relationship with God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Christians may use a variety of traditional gestures and postures to help foster the proper attitude or spirit while praying. It is customary to begin many prayers with the sign of the cross in order to invoke both the Trinity and the sacrifice of Christ on the cross. Kneeling or standing with the head bowed accompanies more formal prayers. Many traditions place great emphasis on the use of music with prayer and have integrated the two, as in the case of Gregorian Chant in the Roman Catholic Church or many of the Protestant hymns that grew out of the Reformation.