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Dictionaries :: Prayer

Below are articles from the following dictionary:
Easton's Bible Dictionary

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 "beseeching the Lord" (Exd 32:11); "pouring out the soul before the Lord" (1Sa 1:15); "praying and crying to heaven" (2Ch 32:20); "seeking unto God and making supplication" (Job 8:5); "drawing near to God" (Psa 73:28); "bowing the knees" (Eph 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 (Hbr 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" (Mat 7:7,8; 21:22; Mar 11:24; Jhn 14:13,14), and in the name of Christ (Jhn 16:23,24; 15:16; Eph 2:18; 5:20; Col 3:17; 1Pe 2:5).

Prayer is of different kinds, secret (Mat 6:6); social, as family prayers, and in social worship; and public, in the service of the sanctuary.

Intercessory prayer is enjoined (Num 6:23; Job 42:8; Isa 62:6; Psa 122:6; 1Ti 2:1; Jam 5:14), and there are many instances on record of answers having been given to such prayers, e.g., of Abraham (Gen 17:18,20; 18:23-32; 20:7,17,18), of Moses for Pharaoh (Exd 8:12,13,30,31; Exd 9:33), for the Israelites (Exd 17:11,13; 32:11-14,31-34; Num 21:7,8; Deu 9:18,19,25), for Miriam (Num 12:13), for Aaron (Deu 9:20), of Samuel (1Sa 7:5-12), of Solomon (1Ki 8; 2Ch 6), Elijah (1Ki 17:20-23), Elisha (2Ki 4:33-36), Isaiah (2Ki 19), Jeremiah (Jer 42:2-10), Peter (Act 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 (1Ki 8:54; 2Ch 6:13; Psa 95:6; Isa 45:23; Luk 22:41; Act 7:60; 9:40; Eph 3:14, etc.); of bowing and falling prostrate (Gen 24:26,52; Exd 4:31; 12:27; Mat 26:39; Mar 14:35, etc.); of spreading out the hands (1Ki 8:22,38,54; Psa 28:2; 63:4; 88:9; 1Ti 2:8, etc.); and of standing (1Sa 1:26; 1Ki 8:14,55; 2Ch 20:9; Mar 11:25; Luk 18:11,13).

If we except the "Lord's Prayer" (Mat 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 (Exd 22:23,27; 1Ki 3:5; 2Ch 7:14; Psa 37:4; Isa 55:6; Joe 2:32; Eze 36:37, etc.), and we have very many testimonies that it has been answered (Psa 3:4; 4:1; 6:8; 18:6; 28:6; 30:2; 34:4; 118:5; Jam 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 (Gen 24:10-20).

"Jacob prayed to God, and God inclined the heart of his irritated brother, so that they met in peace and friendship (Gen 32:24-30; 33:1-4).

"Samson prayed to God, and God showed him a well where he quenched his burning thirst, and so lived to judge Israel (Jdg 15:18-20).

"David prayed, and God defeated the counsel of Ahithophel (2Sa 15:31; 16:20-23; 17:14-23).

"Daniel prayed, and God enabled him both to tell Nebuchadnezzar his dream and to give the interpretation of it (Dan 2:16-23).

"Nehemiah prayed, and God inclined the heart of the king of Persia to grant him leave of absence to visit and rebuild Jerusalem (Neh 1:11; 2:1-6).

"Esther and Mordecai prayed, and God defeated the purpose of Haman, and saved the Jews from destruction (Est 4:15-17; 6:7,8).

"The believers in Jerusalem prayed, and God opened the prison doors and set Peter at liberty, when Herod had resolved upon his death (Act 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 (2Cr 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.

CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.

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