Prayer timeout

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Your prayer timeout is the amount of time you need to wait before your god will accept another prayer. Gods in NetHack are often benevolent, but prefer if you wait some time between prayers. The initial value of your prayer timeout is set to 300, and decreases by one each game turn. That means it is generally safe to pray on turn 301, but not on 300. If you are fast or very fast, you may move more than once per game turn, and your prayer timeout may appear longer because you take more actions in the same number of game turns. A wand or potion of enlightenment can be used to determine if it is safe to pray.

The exact amount by which your prayer timeout increases after praying is a complex mathematical function involving several random variables, causing the increase to usually range between 50 and 1000, though it can be much higher on occasion (see the tables below for precise numbers).


Your prayer timeout is reset by praying. The amount it is reset to depends on several things:

Also your prayer timeout may be incremented further if you've done any of the following actions:

The following information pertains to an upcoming version (NetHack 3.7.0). If this version is now released, please verify that it is still accurate, then update the page to incorporate this information.

If the game goes on longer than 100 000 turns, the prayer timeout after successfully praying is now increased by 1 turn per 100 turns beyond that time. This is to counter denial of service on public servers by pasting the same commands indefinitely.[4]


A successful wish increases your prayer timeout. The 95% confidence value is an additional 145 turns and the 100% confidence value is 150 turns. See below for more information on confidence values.

Sacrificing corpse

The only way to decrease your prayer timeout (other than waiting) is to sacrifice corpses at a co-aligned altar. This is governed by the following formula which depends on your alignment.

  • Chaotic: \frac{M \times 500}{24}
  • Lawful and neutral: \frac{M \times 300}{24}

Where M is the difficulty level of the monster the corpse came from. The value from above is then subtracted from your prayer timeout. You can determine if it is safe to pray depending on what message you received after your sacrifice.

Typical prayer timeouts

The confidence value is the prayer timeout value that will result 95% of the time. In other words, if you've waited that many turns, you can be 95% confident that you can pray again. As you can see, the 100% confidence value is extremely large and fairly useless except for those who fear the RNG. (Amusingly, for crowned characters, praying too early may actually shorten the prayer timeout.)

Prayer 95% confidence 100% confidence if XL ≤ 17 100% confidence at XL 30
God is displeased 1053 2998 5997
God is pleased 1229 3498 6996
God is pleased, and you've been crowned OR are a demigod* 3980 13493 26986
God is pleased, and you've been crowned AND are a demigod* 7479 23488 46976

*This refers to having killed the Wizard of Yendor or performed the invocation ritual.

The waiting time is graphed below as a function of the desired confidence level (assuming you are level 17 or lower):


This page may need to be updated for the current version of NetHack.

It may contain text specific to NetHack 3.4.3. Information on this page may be out of date.

Editors: After reviewing this page and making necessary edits, please change the {{nethack-343}} tag to the current version's tag or {{noversion}} as appropriate.