Listen to common Christian prayers - the Lord’s Prayer, the Hail Mary, the Creed, and several others - in languages ranging from the most widely spoken to the rarest. They were recorded during encounters with Catholic, Orthodox, and other Christian communities around the world, in bustling cities or remote villages lost in the jungle. They reflect the diversity of voices and ways in which we praise God. Browse the recordings in the languages that interest you, or read more about the project and the stories behind it below.
List of prayersTap on any point representing a language on the following map and, or jump to the list of recorded prayers at the bottom of the page. There are also some statistics of the project.
Stories and encounters
What began in 2008 with the first recording of Kinyarwanda prayers of my good friend, a religious sister, has grown over the years into a large database of recordings from the five continents of the world. This is a project where my love for languages meets a deep religious sense. I recorded during my work trips, casual travels, or volunteer work whenever an opportunity arose to spend time with local Christian communities.
Beyond mere recording and documentation, this project is for me about the stories of Christians around the world. Coming from a country where being a Christian meant exclusion and persecution for 40 years, it means a lot to me to record and talk to people about their faith in different countries, especially in countries where religious freedom is not the norm. In other places, being able to pray in one’s own language meets the struggle to preserve one’s native language or cultural heritage and identity.
Working on this project would sometimes bring very powerful moments and encounters. One that would come to mind is the search for the Catholic Church in the small town of Kyaukme, Shan State, Myanmar. Not easy to find in a predominantly Buddhist country…even more so with only a rough hand-drawn map. When I finally arrived at the place, tucked away in narrow streets on the outskirts of town, I was greeted by a smiling parish priest and a religious sister who was kind enough to let us record with them in Burmese and chat about what it is like to be a Catholic minority and how well they get along with the Buddhist majority.
For years I had hoped to record prayers in Gàidhlig (Scottish Gaelic) but could not find any native speakers. Then, in response to my request on a Gàidhlig speaker forum, Daibhidh replied that he would be willing to record for me. Much to my surprise, he was not from Scotland, but from Canada. His family had been passing on and preserving the language since the late 1700s when they came to Canada from the Hebrides. One can only wish that other language communities in the diaspora had such attachment to their language.
In the cathedral of Bertoua, in eastern Cameroon, I had the great opportunity to meet speakers of languages from Cameroon’s Far North, a place where I could not go myself because of the Boko Haram insurgency. The community was made up mostly of women who lived in Bertoua for safety reasons because their husbands were in the military fighting the insurgency in the North. For me, the take-away from this meeting was the beautiful recordings of prayers in Tupuri (listen especially to the Creed), but even more important were the deeply human and touching stories of their struggles and hopes for a peaceful life again in their region.
Having served for years as a lay missionary in Vanuatu in the South Pacific, I had the opportunity to meet many communities in the most linguistically diverse country in the world. Besides the sad stories of language loss due to globalization, there were also many wonderful moments and powerful testimonies. One of them was definitely the meeting with the catechist Donatien, speaker of the Daakaka language of Sesivi. A few steps from his house is the tomb of Jean Baptiste Kaynas, the first Catholic in the New Hebrides, baptized in 1894. Donatien is his grandson. He proudly showed me a precious black and white photo of his grandfather and told me the story of his life. It is not every day that you hear prayers in a local language from the grandson of the first Catholic in the country.
License and use
The prayer texts and recordings are available under the Creative Commons BY-NC-SA license. If you would like to use them for any project of yours, I would be delighted to hear about it and can provide you with higher quality recordings if needed. If you wish to use the recordings for commercial purposes, please contact me first to discuss permission.
List of languages recorded
- Guatemala K'iche'
- Cambodia Khmer
- Indonesia Indonesian Javanese
- Laos Khmu Lao Tai Daeng, Red Tai
- Malaysia Malaysian
- Myanmar Burmese Falam Chin Geba Karen Kachin Kayaw Lahu Lisu Müün Chin Padaung Pwo Karen, Western Shan Tedim Chin Thado Chin Zo
- Philippines Bikol, Central Cebuano Filipino Hiligaynon Northern Kana Waray
- Thailand Thai
- Timor-Leste Tetum
- Viet Nam Bahnar Chil Vietnamese
The 143 languages recorded in this project are spoken (as native or official languages) in 148 countries and territories around the world.
They cover 23 language families and isolates and use 19 different types of scripts.
They represent the mother tongues of approximately 55,5% of the world's population.
Languages with less than 10 000 native speakers
- 400 Malmariv (Vanuatu)
- 680 Larevat (Vanuatu)
- 750 Port Sandwich (Lamap) (Vanuatu)
- 900 Tolomako (Vanuatu)
- 900 Aneityum (anejom̃) (Vanuatu)
- 1000 Swahili, Congolese (kiswahili) (Democratic Republic of the Congo)
- 1000 Esperanto
- 1200 Lonwolwol, Craig Cove (Vanuatu)
- 1200 Sesivi (a dialect of Daakaka) (Vanuatu)
- 1900 Erromangan (Sie) (Vanuatu)
- 2000 Sakao (Vanuatu)
- 3140 Trinitario (mojeño trinitario) (Bolivia)
- 3500 Kwamera (nafe) (Vanuatu)
- 3900 Futunan (fakafutuna) (Wallis and Futuna)
- 4080 Iaai (New Caledonia)
- 4500 Nari (a dialect of Tanna, Southwest) (Vanuatu)
- 4620 Chiquitano (Bolivia)
- 5000 North Tanna (naka) (Vanuatu)
- 5000 Ambae, East (Vanuatu)
- 5200 North Ambrym (Olal) (Vanuatu)
- 5900 Guarayu (Gwarayú) (Bolivia)
- 7500 Whitesands (narak) (Vanuatu)
- 7800 Suru Mwerani, Apma (a dialect of Apma) (Melsisi) (Vanuatu)
- 7800 Suru Kavian, Apma (a dialect of Apma) (Vanuatu)
- 8440 Wallisian (faka'uvea) (Wallis and Futuna)
- 9000 Wala-Rano (a dialect of Uripiv-Wala-Rano-Atchin) (Vanuatu)
Endangered and extinct languages (6b EGIDS and more)
The EGIDS measures a language's status in terms of endangerment or development. Ethnologue - language status.
- 6b Tolomako (Vanuatu)
- 6b Pwo Karen, Western (Myanmar)
- 6b Montagnais (Innu-aimun) (Canada)
- 6b Malmariv (Vanuatu)
- 6b Larevat (Vanuatu)
- 6b Iaai (New Caledonia)
- 6b Aymara, Central (aymar aru) (Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Peru)
- 7 Trinitario (mojeño trinitario) (Bolivia)
- 7 Whitesands (narak) (Vanuatu)
- 7 Chaldean Neo-Aramaic (ܣܘܼܪܲܝܬ) (Iraq, Syria, Turkey)
- 7 Chiquitano (Bolivia)
- 7 Breton (brezhoneg) (France)
- 8b Port Sandwich (Lamap) (Vanuatu)
- 9 Syriac Aramaic (ܠܫܢܐ ܣܘܪܝܝܐ) (Iraq)
- 9 Latin (Vatican)
- 9 Church Slavonic (словѣньскъ) (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Czechia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Poland, Russian Federation (Asian part), Russian Federation (European part), Slovakia, Ukraine)