- pray used 313 times.
- prayed used 65 times.
- prayer used 109 times.
- prayers used 24 times.
- prayest used twice.
- prayeth used 7 times.
- praying used 20 times.
- Included in Eastons: Yes
- Included in Hitchcocks: No
- Included in Naves: No
- Included in Smiths: Yes
- Included in Websters: Yes
- Included in Strongs: Yes
- Included in Thayers: Yes
- Included in BDB: Yes
Is converse with God; the intercourse of the soul with God, not in contemplation or meditation, but in direct address to him. Prayer may be oral or mental, occasional or constant, ejaculatory or formal. It is a "beseeching the Lord" (Exodus 32:11); "pouring out the soul before the Lord" (1 Samuel 1:15); "praying and crying to heaven" (2 Chronicles 32:20); "seeking unto God and making supplication" (Job 8:5); "drawing near to God" (Psalms 73:28); "bowing the knees" (Ephesians 3:14).
Prayer presupposes a belief in the personality of God, his ability and willingness to hold intercourse with us, his personal control of all things and of all his creatures and all their actions.
Acceptable prayer must be sincere (Hebrews 10:22), offered with reverence and godly fear, with a humble sense of our own insignificance as creatures and of our own unworthiness as sinners, with earnest importunity, and with unhesitating submission to the divine will. Prayer must also be offered in the faith that God is, and is the hearer and answerer of prayer, and that he will fulfil his word, "Ask, and ye shall receive" (Matthew 7:7, 8; 21:22; Mark 11:24; John 14:13, 14), and in the name of Christ (16:23, 24; 15:16; Ephesians 2:18; 5:20; Colossians 3:17; 1 Peter 2:5).
Prayer is of different kinds, secret (Matthew 6:6); social, as family prayers, and in social worship; and public, in the service of the sanctuary.
Intercessory prayer is enjoined (Numbers 6:23; Job 42:8; Isaiah 62:6; Psalms 122:6; 1 Timothy 2:1; James 5:14), and there are many instances on record of answers having been given to such prayers, e.g., of Abraham (Genesis 17:18, 20; 18:23-32; 20:7, 17, 18), of Moses for Pharaoh (Exodus 8:12, 13, 30, 31; Exodus 9:33), for the Israelites (Exodus 17:11, 13; 32:11-14, 31-34; Numbers 21:7, 8; Deuteronomy 9:18, 19, 25), for Miriam (Numbers 12:13), for Aaron (Deuteronomy 9:20), of Samuel (1 Samuel 7:5-12), of Solomon (1 Kings 8; 2 Chronicles 6), Elijah (1 Kings 17:20-23), Elisha (2 Kings 4:33-36), Isaiah (2 Kings 19), Jeremiah (42:2-10), Peter (Acts 9:40), the church (12:5-12), Paul (28:8).
No rules are anywhere in Scripture laid down for the manner of prayer or the attitude to be assumed by the suppliant. There is mention made of kneeling in prayer (1 Kings 8:54; 2 Chronicles 6:13; Psalms 95:6; Isaiah 45:23; Luke 22:41; Acts 7:60; 9:40; Ephesians 3:14, etc.); of bowing and falling prostrate (Genesis 24:26, 52; Exodus 4:31; 12:27; Matthew 26:39; Mark 14:35, etc.); of spreading out the hands (1 Kings 8:22, 38, 54; Psalms 28:2; 63:4; 88:9; 1 Timothy 2:8, etc.); and of standing (1 Samuel 1:26; 1 Kings 8:14, 55; 2 Chronicles 20:9; Mark 11:25; Luke 18:11, 13).
If we except the "Lord's Prayer" (Matthew 6:9-13), which is, however, rather a model or pattern of prayer than a set prayer to be offered up, we have no special form of prayer for general use given us in Scripture.
Prayer is frequently enjoined in Scripture (Exodus 22:23, 27; 1 Kings 3:5; 2 Chronicles 7:14; Psalms 37:4; Isaiah 55:6; Joel 2:32; Ezekiel 36:37, etc.), and we have very many testimonies that it has been answered (Psalms 3:4; 4:1; 6:8; 18:6; 28:6; 30:2; 34:4; 118:5; James 5:16-18, etc.).
"Abraham's servant prayed to God, and God directed him to the person who should be wife to his master's son and heir (Genesis 24:10-20).
"Samson prayed to God, and God showed him a well where he quenched his burning thirst, and so lived to judge Israel (Judges 15:18-20).
"Daniel prayed, and God enabled him both to tell Nebuchadnezzar his dream and to give the interpretation of it (Daniel 2:16-23).
"The believers in Jerusalem prayed, and God opened the prison doors and set Peter at liberty, when Herod had resolved upon his death (Acts 12:1-12).
"Paul prayed that the thorn in the flesh might be removed, and his prayer brought a large increase of spiritual strength, while the thorn perhaps remained (2 Corinthians 12:7-10).
"Prayer is like the dove that Noah sent forth, which blessed him not only when it returned with an olive-leaf in its mouth, but when it never returned at all.", Robinson's Job.
Prayer test proposed by Elijah
1 Kings 18:24-39
Praying twice daily
Praying all night
Praying without ceasing
1 Thessalonians 5:17
Boldness in prayer:
Exemplified by Abraham in his inquiry concerning Sodom
Weeping in prayer
Praying in a loud voice, satirized by Elijah
1 Kings 18:27
Of the Pharisees
Vain repetitions of prayers, to be avoided
Asking for tokens as assurance of answer of prayer:
By Abraham's servant
Gideon asks for a sign of dew on a fleece
Instances of rebuked prayers:
Of Moses, at the Red Sea
Of Moses, when he prayed to see Canaan
Evils averted by praying
Unbelief in prayer
Answer to prayer, withheld:
Of the Israelites, when attacked by the Amorites
Answer to prayer, exceeds petition:
Answer to prayer, different from the request:
Moses asked to be permitted to cross Jordan; the answer was permission to view the land of promise
The Israelites lusted for the fleshpots of Egypt; the answer gave them flesh, but also leanness of soul
Martha and Mary asked Jesus to come and heal their brother Lazarus; Jesus delayed, but raised Lazarus from the dead
Paul asked that the thorn in the flesh be removed; the answer was a promise of grace to endure it
2 Corinthians 12:8-9
Answer to prayer, promised
Exodus 6:5; Acts 7:34; Exodus 22:23; Exodus 22:27; Exodus 33:17-20; Deuteronomy 4:7; Deuteronomy 4:29-31; 1 Chronicles 28:9; 2 Chronicles 7:13-15; 1 Kings 8:22; 1 Kings 8:53; 1 Kings 14:6; Job 8:5-6; Job 12:4; Job 22:27; Job 33:26; Psalms 9:10; Psalms 9:12; Psalms 10:17; Psalms 18:3; Psalms 32:6; Psalms 34:15; Psalms 34:17; Psalms 37:4-5; Psalms 38:15; Psalms 50:14-15; Psalms 55:16-17; Psalms 56:9; Psalms 65:2; Psalms 65:5; Psalms 69:33; Psalms 81:10; Psalms 86:5-7; Psalms 91:15; Psalms 102:17-20; Psalms 145:18-19; Proverbs 2:3; Proverbs 2:5; Proverbs 3:6; Proverbs 10:24; Proverbs 15:8; Proverbs 15:29; Proverbs 16:1; Isaiah 19:20; Isaiah 30:19; Isaiah 55:6; Isaiah 58:9; Isaiah 65:24; Jeremiah 29:12-13; Jeremiah 31:9; Jeremiah 33:3; Lamentations 3:25; Ezekiel 36:37; Joel 2:18-19; Joel 2:32; Amos 5:4-6; Zephaniah 2:3; Zech 10:1; Zech 10:6; Zech 13:9; Matthew 6:5-13; Matthew 7:7-11; Matthew 18:19-20; Matthew 21:22; Mark 11:24-25; Luke 11:5-13; Luke 18:1-8; Luke 21:36; John 4:10; John 4:23-24; John 9:31; John 14:13-14; John 15:7; John 15:16; John 16:23-24; John 16:26-27; Acts 22:16; Romans 8:26; Romans 10:12-13; Ephesians 2:18; Ephesians 3:20; Hebrews 4:16; Hebrews 10:22-23; Hebrews 11:6; James 1:5-7; James 4:8; James 4:10; James 5:16; 1 John 3:22; 1 John 5:14-15
Job 34:28; Psalms 3:4; Psalms 4:1; Psalms 6:8-9; Psalms 18:6; Psalms 120:1; Psalms 21:2; Psalms 21:4; Psalms 22:4-5; Psalms 22:24; Psalms 28:6; Psalms 30:2-3; Psalms 31:22; Psalms 34:4-6; Psalms 40:1; Psalms 66:19-20; Psalms 77:1-2; Psalms 81:7; Psalms 99:6-8; Psalms 106:44; Psalms 107:6-7; Psalms 107:13-20; Psalms 116:1-2; Psalms 118:5; Psalms 118:21; Psalms 119:26; Psalms 138:3; Lamentations 3:57-58; Hosea 12:4; Jonah 2:1-2; Jonah 2:7; Luke 23:42-43; Acts 4:31; 2 Corinthians 12:8-9; James 5:17-18
Answered prayer, instances of:
For a son
Entreating for Sodom
Hagar, for deliverance
Abraham's servant, for guidance
Rebecca, concerning her pains in pregnancy
For help at the Red Sea
For help at the waters of Marah
For help at Horeb
For help in the battle with the Amalekites
Concerning the murmuring of the Israelites for flesh
In behalf of Miriam's leprosy
Moses, Aaron, and Samuel
For deliverance from Pharaoh's army
For God's favor under the reproofs of Azariah
2 Chronicles 15:1-15
For deliverance from Babylonian bondage
Gideon, asking the token of dew
Manoah, asking about Samson
Samson, asking for strength
Asking whether Keilah would be delivered into his hands
1 Samuel 23:10-12
Asking whether to pursue Ziklag
1 Samuel 30:8
Asking whether he should go into Judah after Saul's death
2 Samuel 2:1
Asking whether he should go against the Philistines
2 Samuel 5:19-25
Raising the widow's son
1 Kings 17:22
Asking fire on his sacrifice
1 Kings 18:36-38
Elisha, leading the Syrian army
2 Kings 6:17-20
Jabez, asking for prosperity
1 Chronicles 4:10
Abijah, for victory over Jeroboam
2 Chronicles 13:14-18
Asa, for victory over Zerah
2 Chronicles 14:11-15
The people of Judah
2 Chronicles 15:15
Jehoahaz, for victory over Hazael
2 Kings 13:4
Priests and Levites, when blessing the people
2 Chronicles 30:27
Hezekiah and Isaiah:
Reubenites, for deliverance from the Hagarites
1 Chronicles 5:20
Ezekiel, to have the baking of his bread of affliction changed
For the interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar's dream
Interceding for the people
In a vision
Zacharias, for a son
Peter, asking that Tabitha be restored
The disciples, for Peter
Paul, to be restored to health
2 Corinthians 1:9-11
Prayer in behalf of nations
Nation, Prayer for
Numbers 16:15; Numbers 22:6-11; Numbers 23:7-8; Numbers 24:9-10; Deuteronomy 11:29-30; Deuteronomy 27:11-13; Deuteronomy 33:11; Joshua 8:33-34; Judges 16:28; 2 Samuel 16:10-12; Nehemiah 4:4-5; Nehemiah 5:13; Job 3:1-10; Job 27:7; Psalms 5:10; Psalms 6:10; Psalms 9:20; Psalms 10:2; Psalms 10:15; Psalms 25:3; Psalms 28:4; Psalms 31:17-18; Psalms 35:4; Psalms 35:8; Psalms 35:26; Psalms 40:14-15; Psalms 54:5; Psalms 55:9; Psalms 55:15; Psalms 56:7; Psalms 58:7; Psalms 59:5; Psalms 59:11; Psalms 59:15; Psalms 68:1-2; Psalms 69:23-24; Psalms 69:27-28; Psalms 70:2-3; Psalms 71:13; Psalms 79:10; Psalms 79:12; Psalms 83:13-17; Psalms 94:2; Psalms 109:7; Psalms 109:9-20; Psalms 109:28-29; Psalms 119:78; Psalms 119:84; Psalms 129:5; Psalms 140:9-10; Psalms 143:12; Psalms 144:6; Jeremiah 11:20; Jeremiah 12:3; Jeremiah 15:15; Jeremiah 17:18; Jeremiah 18:21-23; Jeremiah 20:12; Lamentations 1:22; Lamentations 3:64-66; Galatians 1:8-9; 2 Timothy 4:14-15
Submission in prayer, exemplified:
2 Samuel 12:22-23
Private prayer, enjoined
1 Samuel 1:10
2 Samuel 7:18-29
2 Kings 20:2
2 Kings 20:11
2 Chronicles 33:18-19
The object of this article will be to touch briefly on
- The doctrine of Scripture as to the nature and efficacy of prayer;
- Its directions as to time, place and manner of prayer;
- Its types and examples of prayer.
- Scripture does not give any theoretical explanation of the mystery which attaches to prayer. The difficulty of understanding real efficacy arises chiefly from two sources- from the belief that man lives under general laws, which in all cases must be fulfilled unalterably; and the opposing belief that he is master of his own destiny, and need pray for no external blessing. Now, Scripture, while, by the doctrine of spiritual influence it entirely disposes of the latter difficulty, does not so entirely solve that part of the mystery which depends on the nature of God. It places it clearly before us, and emphasizes most strongly those doctrines on which the difficulty turns. Yet while this is so, on the other hand the instinct of prayer is solemnly sanctioned and enforced on every page. Not only is its subjective effect asserted, but its real objective efficacy, as a means appointed by God for obtaining blessing, is both implied and expressed in the plainest terms. Thus, as usual in the case of such mysteries, the two apparently opposite truths are emphasized, because they are needful- to man's conception of his relation to God; their reconcilement is not, perhaps cannot be, fully revealed. For, in fact, it is involved in that inscrutable mystery which attends on the conception of any free action of man as necessary for the working out of the general laws of God's unchangeable will. At the same time it is clearly implied that such a reconcilement exists, and that all the apparently isolated and independent exertions of man's spirit in prayer are in some way perfectly subordinated to the one supreme will of God, so as to form a part of his scheme of providence. It is also implied that the key to the mystery lies in the fact of man's spiritual unity with God in Christ, and of the consequent gift of the Holy Spirit. So also is it said of the spiritual influence of the Holy Ghost on each individual mind that while "we know not what to pray for, "the indwelling" Spirit makes intercession for the saints, according to the will of God." (Romans 8:26,27) Here, as probably in still other cases, the action of the Holy Spirit on the soul is to free agents what the laws of nature are to things inanimate, and is the power which harmonizes free individual action with the universal will of God.
- There are no directions as to prayer given in the Mosaic law- the duty is rather taken for granted, as an adjunct to sacrifice, than enforced or elaborated. It is hardly conceivable that, even from the beginning public prayer did not follow every public sacrifice. Such a practice is alluded to in (Luke 1:10) as common; and in one instance, at the offering of the first-fruits, it was ordained in a striking form. (26:12-15) In later times it certainly grew into a regular service both in the temple and in the synagogue. But, besides this public prayer, it was the custom of all at Jerusalem to go up to the temple, at regular hours if possible, for private prayer, see (Luke 18:10; Acts 3:1) and those who were absent were wont to "open their windows toward Jerusalem," and pray "toward" the place of God's presence. (1 Kings 8:46-49; Psalms 5:7; 28:2; 138:2; Daniel 6:10) The regular hours of prayer seem to have been three (see) (Psalms 55:17; Daniel 6:10) "the evening," that is the ninth hour (Acts 3:1; 10:3) the hour of the evening sacrifice, (Daniel 9:21) the "morning," that is, the third hour (Acts 2:15) that of the morning sacrifice; and the sixth hour, or "noonday." Grace before meat would seem to have been a common practice. See (Matthew 15:36; Acts 27:35) The posture of prayer among the Jews seems to have been most often standing, (1 Samuel 1:26; Matthew 6:5; Mark 11:25; Luke 18:11) unless the prayer were offered with especial solemnity and humiliation, which was naturally expressed by kneeling, (1 Kings 8:54) comp. 2 Chronicles 6:13; Ezra 9:5; Psalms 95:8; Daniel 6:10 Or prostration. (Joshua 7:6; 1 Kings 18:42; Nehemiah 8:6)
- The only form of prayer given for perpetual use in the Old Testament is the one in (26:5-15) connected with the offering of tithes and first-fruits, and containing in simple form the important elements of prayer, acknowledgment of God's mercy, self-dedication and prayer for future blessing. To this may perhaps be added the threefold blessing of (Numbers 6:24-26) couched as it is in a precatory form, and the short prayer of Moses, (Numbers 10:35,36) at the moving and resting of the cloud the former of which was the germ of the 68th Psalm. But of the prayers recorded in the Old Testament the two most remarkable are those of Solomon at the dedication of the temple, (1 Kings 8:23-58) and of Joshua the high priest, and his colleagues, after the captivity. (Nehemiah 9:5-38) It appears from the question of the disciples in (Luke 11:1) and from Jewish tradition, that the chief teachers of the day gave special forms of prayer to their disciples as the badge of their discipleship and the best fruits of their learning. All Christian prayer is, of course, based on the Lord's Prayer; but its spirit is also guided by that of his prayer in Gethsemane and of the prayer recorded by St. John, (John 17:1) ... the beginning of Christ's great work of intercession. The influence of these prayers is more distinctly traced in the prayers contained in the epistles, see (Romans 16:25-27; Ephesians 3:14-21; Philemon 1:3-11; Colossians 1:9-15; Hebrews 13:20,21; 1 Peter 5:10,11) etc., than in those recorded in the Acts. The public prayer probably in the first instance took much of its form and style from the prayers of the synagogues. In the record on prayer accepted and granted by God, we observe, as always, a special adaptation to the period of his dispensation to which they belong. In the patriarchal period, they have the simple and childlike tone of domestic application for the ordinary and apparently trivial incidents of domestic life. In the Mosaic period they assume a more solemn tone and a national bearing, chiefly that of direct intercession for the chosen people. More rarely are they for individuals. A special class are those which precede and refer to the exercise of miraculous power. In the New Testament they have a more directly spiritual hearing. It would seem the intention of Holy Scripture to encourage all prayer more especially intercession, in all relations and for all righteous objects.
PRA'YER, noun In a general sense, the act of asking for a favor, and particularly with earnestness.
1. In worship, a solemn address to the Supreme Being, consisting of adoration, or an expression of our sense of God's glorious perfections, confession of our sins, supplication for mercy and forgiveness, intercession for blessings on others, and thanksgiving, or an expression of gratitude to God for his mercies and benefits. A prayer however may consist of a single petition, and it may be extemporaneous, written or printed.
2. A formula of church service, or of worship, public or private.
3. Practice of supplication.
As he is famed for mildness, peace and prayer
4. That part of a memorial or petition to a public body, which specifies the request or thing desired to be done or granted, as distinct from the recital of facts or reasons for the grant. We say, the prayer of the petition is that the petitioner may be discharged from arrest.
PRA'YER-BOOK, noun A book containing prayers or the forms of devotion, public or private.
PRA'YERFUL, adjective Devotional; given to prayer; as a prayerful frame of mind.
1. Using much prayer.
PRA'YERFULLY, adverb With much prayer.
Psalms 5:1-3; Psalms 42:8; Psalms 109:4; Psalms 116:2; Daniel 6:10; Luke 2:37; Acts 6:4; Acts 10:2; Acts 10:9; Romans 1:9; Romans 12:12; Ephesians 1:15-16; Colossians 1:9; 1 Thessalonians 3:10; 1 Thessalonians 5:17; 1 Timothy 5:5; 2 Timothy 1:3
PRA'YERLESS, adjective Not using prayer; habitually neglecting the duty of prayer to God; as a prayerless family.
PRA'YERLESSNESS, noun Total or habitual neglect of prayer.