Taizé Prayer is a distinctive style of meditative prayer developed by an ecumenical community of monks in rural France. This quiet, moving reflective prayer combines elements of the Church's traditional Liturgy of the Hours with elements of contemplative meditation. A typical Taizé prayer service incorporates periods of silence with meditative readings from Scripture, prayers of praise and intercession, and the frequent repetition of simple, contemporary chants based on the Psalms or other parts of Scripture.
Short songs or chants, repeated over and over, create a meditative environment and express basic realities of faith which can be easily grasped by the mind and the heart. The result is to gradually move prayer from the head to the heart.
Taizé Prayer is widely practiced today in student centers and retreat houses, but is also growing in popularity in parish churches and local congregations throughout the world.
The Taizé Community describes the power of its unique musical style in this way:
As the words are sung over many times, this reality gradually penetrates the whole being. Meditative singing thus becomes a way of listening to God. It allows everyone to take part in a time of prayer together and to remain together in attentive waiting on God, without having to fix the length of time too exactly....These songs also sustain personal prayer. Through them, little by little, our being finds an inner unity in God. They can continue in the silence of our hearts when we are at work, speaking with others or resting. In this way prayer and daily life are united. They allow us to keep on praying even when we are unaware of it, in the silence of our hearts.