My friend Susan B. Mead is taking our transition from Feasts to The Lord’s Prayer by tackling this often used word, prayer, for this week’s Word Nerd Wednesday.
What Is Prayer?
Prayer is solemn request for help, an expression of thanks, an invocation or an act that seeks to activate a rapport with God through deliberate communication. Prayer to a Christian is a form of religious practice, may be either individual or communal and may take place in public or in private.
Christians pray to God – the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Other religions pray to an object of worship. According to the Bible, an object of worship would be an idol, which is not the object of prayer for a follower of Jesus Christ.
Prayer is pronounced prer and is a noun. The word origin is Middle English from the Old French word preiere, based on Latin precarius ‘obtained by entreaty,’ from prex, prec-‘prayer.’ Interesting note – the root word for prayer is a feminine form.
According to the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia:
prar (deesis, proseuche, (enteuxis; the chief verbs are euchomai, proseuchomai, and deomai, especially in Luke and Acts; aiteo, “to ask a favor” distinguished from erotao, “to ask a question,” is found occasionally)
In the Bible “prayer” is used in a simpler and a more complex, as well as a narrower and a wider signification. In the former case it is supplication for benefits either for one’s self (petition) or for others (intercession). In the latter it is an act of worship which covers all souls in its approach to God. Supplication is at the heart of it, for prayer always springs out of a sense of need and a belief that God is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him according to Hebrews 11:6.
But adoration and confession and thanksgiving also find a place, so that the suppliant becomes a worshipper. It is unnecessary to distinguish all the various terms for prayer that are employed in the Old Testament and the New Testament. But the fact should be noticed that in the Hebrew and Greek alone there are on the one hand words for prayer that denote a direct petition or short, sharp cry of the heart in its distress as seen in Psalm 30:2 and 2 Corinthians 12:8, and on the other “prayers” like that of Hannah found in 1 Samuel 2:1-10, which is in reality a song of thanksgiving, or that of Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ, in which intercession is mingled with doxology found in Ephesians 3:14-21.
There are 12 Lexiconic entries that match the word prayer, 7 are Hebrew/Aramaic and 5 are Greek. I’ve included the Strongs number, the Hebrew form, the transliteration as well as English equivalents as I find this so very interesting that one word has such different uses. Yep, we are word nerds for sure!
The word prayer occurs 116 time in 110 verses in the NLT version of the Bible.
How We Pray
Knowing all these details is excellent, yet the most important thing to learn is HOW to pray.
As an ordained minister, I want to speak prayers that are based on scripture. We also want to learn to remind God of His promises to His people by praying His scripture. He says remember throughout the Bible, so when we offer prayers, remember to remind God of His promises to you, His child.
Why? Because when we pray according to Scripture, the Word of God does not return void. When we use God’s Holy Word straight from the Bible in heartfelt prayer, the Sword of the Spirit is being lifted high on behalf of the one praying or being prayed for. Isn’t that our purpose in praying? To be in God’s Word and His will?Isn’t that our purpose in praying? To be in God’s Word and His will? @susanbmead #prayer #wordnerdwednesday Click To Tweet
So let’s turn to a few examples of Biblical prayers and when we may want to lift these words over ourselves, our families, friends, church, etc.
The first prayer found in the NLT translation of the Bible is found at Genesis 24:42 (NLT)
“So today when I came to the spring, I prayed this prayer: ‘O Lord, God of my master, Abraham, please give me success on this mission.
Could our first prayer for a new endeavor be this one – O Lord, God of my Lord and Master, Jesus Christ, please give me success on this mission?
There has never been a day like this one before or since, when the Lord answered such a prayer. Surely the Lord fought for Israel that day?
You many need to praise and thank God for His faithfulness in fighting your battles for you: Offer up Joshua 10:14 (NLT). Why? The sun literally stood still that day to allow the battle to be fought to the end. Only God…
When you have a heartfelt plea to God, pray this prayer from 1 Kings 8:28 (NLT).
Nevertheless, listen to my prayer and my plea, O Lord my God. Hear the cry and the prayer that your servant is making to you today.
Are you in the midst of a battle and are seeking victory over the enemy and his allies? Do you trust the Lord God of Heaven’s Angel Armies to fight for you? Offer this prayer from 1 Chronicles 5:20 (NLT)
They cried out to God during the battle, and he answered their prayer because they trusted in him. So the Hagrites and all their allies were defeated.
Are you seeking healing? Turn to James 5:16 (NLT)
Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.
My prayer is this – may your prayers produce wonderful results…My prayer is this - may your prayers produce wonderful results… @susanbmead #prayer #wordnerdwednesday Click To Tweet
And God confirmed the message by giving signs and wonders and various miracles and gifts of the Holy Spirit whenever he chose.
Hebrews 2:4 (NLT)
A master storyteller and award-winning, bestselling author, Susan B. Mead leaves audiences motivated to live a life free of regrets even though she has done the hardest thing any parent can do – bury her youngest son, Kyle. With over 22 years in corporate America, 2 million airline miles under her belt, 1 eLit Book Award Gold Medal in Religion and 2 Christian Literary Awards on the shelf, an MBA and a Certificate of Ordination hanging on the wall, as well as a Doctor of Theology candidacy in process, Susan shares her expert teachings on business, identity, image, grief, spiritual warfare and relationships.
Susan has been described as a solid, comforting voice in a messy world. Whether speaking to business professionals, women’s conferences, industry leaders or writer’s workshops, Susan’s insightful wisdom inspires audiences, empowering them to make healthy mental u-turns to help them find calm in the chaos.
Connect with Susan on her website at SusanBMead.com where she writes each Friday, on Facebook and Twitter where she posts inspiration or on Amazon where her award-winning book, Dance With Jesus: From Grief to Grace and her latest award-winning book, Don’t Go Through Life Naked: How to Clothe Yourself in God’s Power, are available.
Are you looking for a free mini-course to deepen your faith? Text DanceWithJesus (all one word) to 444-999, then reply with your email to receive 6 days of Biblical encouragement.
Linking Up With
For more encouragement please join the discussions on these fabulous blog link ups – Suzanne Eller, Faith On Fire, Susan B. Mead, Faith Filled Friday, Grace and Truth, Faith and Fellowship Friday, Soul Survival, Rah Rah Link Up, Tell His Story, Sitting Among Friends, Testimony Tuesday, Planting Roots, and Fresh Market Friday, Salt and Light, and Becoming Press’s Writer Wednesday, Moments of Hope