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Prayer

 

Definition of "Prayer":

 

a devout petition to, or any form of spiritual communion with, God . . . (Random House College Dictionary)

 

The following is on the topic of "Prayer" in Easton's Revised Bible Dictionary, compliments of The Online Bible.

 

1. Prayer 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. a "beseeching the Lord" #Ex 32:11
b. "pouring out the soul before the Lord" #1Sa 1:15
c. "praying and crying to heaven" #2Ch 32:20
d. "seeking unto God and making supplication" #Job 8:5
e. "drawing near to God" #Ps 73:28
f. "bowing the knees" #Eph 3:14

 

2. 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 #Heb 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.

 

3. 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" #Mt 7:7,8 21:22 Mr 11:24 Joh 14:13,14 and in the name of Christ #Joh 16:23,24 15:16 Eph 2:18 5:20 #Col 3:17 1Pe 2:5

 

4. Prayer is of different kinds,

  

a. secret #Mt 6:6
b. social, as family prayers, and in social worship; and public, in the service of the sanctuary.
c. Intercessory prayer is enjoined #Nu 6:23 Job 42:8 Isa 62:6 #Ps 122:6 1Ti 2:1 Jas 5:14

 

5. There are many instances on record of answers having been given to such prayers, e.g.,

  

a. of Abraham #Ge 17:18,20 18:23-32 20:7,17,18
b. of Moses for Pharaoh #Ex 8:12,13,30,31 9:33
c. for the Israelites #Ex 17:11,13 32:11-14,31-34 Nu 21:7,8 #De 9:18,19,25
d. for Miriam #Nu 12:13
e. for Aaron #De 9:20
f. of Samuel #1Sa 7:5-12
g. of Solomon #1Ki 8:1ff. #2Ch 6:1ff.
h. Elijah #1Ki 17:20-23
i. Elisha #2Ki 4:33-36
j. Isaiah #2Ki 19:1ff. #Jer 42:2-10
k. Peter #Ac 9:40
l. the church #Ac 12:5-12
m. Paul #Ac 28:8

 

6. 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

  

a. kneeling in prayer #1Ki 8:54 2Ch 6:13 Ps 95:6 Isa 45:23 #Lu 22:41 Ac 7:60 9:40 Eph 3:14 etc.;
b. of bowing and falling prostrate #Ge 24:26,52 Ex 4:31 12:27 #Mt 26:39 Mr 14:35 etc.;
c. of spreading out the hands #1Ki 8:22,38,54 Ps 28:2 63:4 88:9 #1Ti 2:8 etc.;
d. of standing #1Sa 1:26 1Ki 8:14,55 2Ch 20:9 Mr 11:25 Lu 18:11,13

 

7. If we except the "Lord's Prayer" #Mt 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 #Ex 22:23,27 #1Ki 3:5 2Ch 7:14 Ps 37:4 Isa 55:6 Joe 2:32 Eze 36:37 etc., and we have very many testimonies that it has been answered #Ps 3:4 #Ps 4:1 6:8 18:6 28:6 30:2 34:4 118:5 Jas 5:16-18 etc.

  

a. "Abraham's servant prayed to God, and God directed him to the person who should be wife to his master's son and heir #Ge 24:10-20
b. "Jacob prayed to God, and God inclined the heart of his irritated brother, so that they met in peace and friendship #Ge 32:24-30 33:1-4
c. "Samson prayed to God, and God showed him a well where he quenched his burning thirst, and so lived to judge Israel #Jud 15:18-20
d. "David prayed, and God defeated the counsel of Ahithophel #2Sa 15:31 16:20-23 17:14-23
e. "Daniel prayed, and God enabled him both to tell Nebuchadnezzar his dream and to give the interpretation of it #Da 2:16-23
f. "Nehemiah prayed, and God inclined the heart of the king of Persia to grant him leave of absence to visit and rebuild Jerusalem #Ne 1:11 2:1-6
g. "Esther and Mordecai prayed, and God defeated the purpose of Haman, and saved the Jews from destruction #Es 4:15-17 6:7,8
h. "The believers in Jerusalem prayed, and God opened the prison doors and set Peter at liberty, when Herod had resolved upon his death #Ac 12:1-12
i. "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 #2Co 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." (Unknown)


Pray without ceasing.  1 Thessalonians 5:17


Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice.  Psalms 55:17

 

Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.  Mark 11:24

 

Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is.  Mark 13:33

 

And when he was at the place, he said unto them, Pray that ye enter not into temptation.  Luke 22:40

 

I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.  1 Timothy 2:8

 

Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.  James 5:16

 

"With Christ in the School of Prayer" by Andrew Murray - videos and updated text.

A Call to Pastors To Pray Together

A Little African Girl's Prayer

Prayers for Unity   

Our Purpose

Lighthouses of Prayer

Directory of All "Prayer" Material on This Site

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