In Tibet it is common for lay people to request the local monastery to conduct prayer services for the benefit of themselves and their family members. People do this for many reasons, but most commonly prayer services are requested in times of uncertainty or difficulty. It may be that someone close is sick or dying, or simply feels the need for support and blessings. The reasons for requesting a prayer service can be both worldly and spiritual. Young children are often the dedicated recipient of prayer services, and new couples will make sure that they have the blessings of the lamas. Students taking exams can also benefit from services dedicated to their success.
It is part of the monastic ritual in Dzogchen for all the monks and nuns to assemble daily in the temple to hold prayer services. At this time any requests for general prayers are fulfilled and the blessings of the service dedicated to the person(s) or family requesting them.
It is customary in Tibet for a person who wishes to request a service to pass on a note to the monastery detailing the prayers they want and the name(s) of those to whom the service should be dedicated. This is presented together with a monetary donation for the monks and nuns involved. The details of the request are read out by the chief monk at the beginning of the service and, having completed the prayer service, the donated money is divided up equally between the participating monks and nuns. It is rare for the person making the request to actually attend, but they receive the dedication of the prayers and merit.