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Bible Dictionaries

Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words

Pray, Prayer

A — 1: εὔχομαι

(Strong's #2172 — Verb — euchomai — yoo'-khom-ahee )

"to pray (to God)," is used with this meaning in 2 Corinthians 13:7; 2 Corinthians 13:9 , RV, "pray" (AV, "wish"); James 5:16; 3 John 1:2 , RV, "pray" (AV, wish). Even when the RV and AV translate by "I would," Acts 26:29 , or "wished for," Acts 27:29 (RV, marg., "prayed"), or "could wish," Romans 9:3 (RV, marg., "could pray"), the indication is that "prayer" is involved.

A — 2: προσεύχομαι

(Strong's #4336 — Verb — proseuchomai — pros-yoo'-khom-ahee )

"to pray," is always used of "prayer" to God, and is the most frequent word in this respect, especially in the Synoptists and Acts, once in Romans 8:26; Ephesians 6:18; Philippians 1:9; 1 Timothy 2:8; Hebrews 13:18; Jude 1:20 . For the injunction in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 , see CEASE , C.

A — 3: ἐρωτάω

(Strong's #2065 — Verb — erotao — er-o-tah'-o )

"to ask," is translated by the verb to pray in Luke 14:18,19; 16:27; John 4:31; 14:16; 16:26; 17:9,15,20; in Acts 23:18 , RV, "asked" (AV "prayed"); in 1 John 5:16 , RV, "should make request" (AV "shall pray"). See ASK , A, No. 2.

A — 4: δέομαι

(Strong's #1189 — Verb — deomai — deh'-om-ahee )

"to desire," in 2 Corinthians 5:20; 8:4 , RV, "beseech" (AV, "pray"): see BESEECH , No. 3.

Notes: (1) Parakaleo, "to call to one's aid," is rendered by the verb "to pray" in the AV in the following: Matthew 26:53 (RV, "beseech"); so Mark 5:17,18; Acts 16:9; in Acts 24:4 , RV, "intreat;" in Acts 27:34 , RV, "beseech." See BESEECH , No. 1. (2) In 1 Thessalonians 5:23; 2 Timothy 4:16 , there is no word in the original for "I pray," see the RV.

B — 1: εὐχή

(Strong's #2171 — Noun Feminine — euche — yoo-khay' )

akin to A, No. 1, denotes "a prayer," James 5:15; "a vow," Acts 18:18; 21:23 . See VOW.

B — 2: προσευχή

(Strong's #4335 — Noun Feminine — proseuche — pros-yoo-khay' )

akin to A, No. 2, denotes (a) "prayer" (to God), the most frequent term, e.g., Matthew 21:22; Luke 6:12 , where the phrase is not to be taken literally as if it meant, "the prayer of God" (subjective genitive), but objectively, "prayer of God." In James 5:17 , "He prayed fervently," RV, is lit., "he prayed with prayer" (a Hebraistic form); in the following the word is used with No. 3: Ephesians 6:18; Philippians 4:6; 1 Timothy 2:1; 5:5; (b) "a place of prayer," Acts 16:13,16 , a place outside the city wall, RV.

B — 3: δέησις

(Strong's #1162 — Noun Feminine — deesis — deh'-ay-sis )

primarily "a wanting, a need" (akin to A, No. 4), then, "an asking, entreaty, supplication," in the NT is always addressed to God and always rendered "supplication" or "supplications" in the RV; in the AV "prayer," or "prayers," in Luke 1:13; 2:37; 5:33; Romans 10:1; 2 Corinthians 1:11; 9:14; Philippians 1:4 (in the 2nd part, "request"); 1:19; 2 Timothy 1:3; Hebrews 5:7; James 5:16; 1 Peter 3:12 .

B — 4: ἔντευξις

(Strong's #1783 — Noun Feminine — enteuxis — ent'-yook-sis )

is translated "prayer" in 1 Timothy 4:5; see INTERCESSION.

Notes: (1) Proseuche is used of "prayer" in general; deesis stresses the sense of need; it is used sometimes of request from man to man. (2) In the papyri enteuxis is the regular word for a petition to a superior. For the synonymous word aitema see PETITION; for hiketeria, Hebrews 5:7 , see SUPPLICATION.

(3) "Prayer is properly addressed to God the Father Matthew 6:6; John 16:23; Ephesians 1:17; 3:14 , and the Son, Acts 7:59; 2 Corinthians 12:8; but in no instance in the NT is prayer addressed to the Holy Spirit distinctively, for whereas the Father is in Heaven, Matthew 6:9 , and the Son is at His right hand, Romans 8:34 , the Holy Spirit is in and with the believers, John 14:16,17 .

"Prayer is to be offered in the Name of the Lord Jesus, John 14:13 , that is, the prayer must accord with His character, and must be presented in the same spirit of dependence and submission that marked Him, Matthew 11:26; Luke 22:42 .

"The Holy Spirit, being the sole interpreter of the needs of the human heart, makes His intercession therein; and inasmuch as prayer is impossible to man apart from His help, Romans 8:26 , believers are exhorted to pray at all seasons in the Spirit, Ephesians 6:18; cp. Jude 1:20; James 5:16 , the last clause of which should probably be read "the inwrought [i.e., by the Holy Spirit] supplication of righteous man availeth much' (or 'greatly prevails' ischuo, as in Acts 19:16,20 ).

"None the less on this account is the understanding to be engaged in prayer, 1 Corinthians 14:15 , and the will, Colossians 4:12; Acts 12:5 (where 'earnestly' is, lit., 'stretched out') and so in Luke 22:44 .

"Faith is essential to prayer, Matthew 21:22; Mark 11:24; James 1:5-8 , for faith is the recognition of, and the committal of ourselves and our matters to, the faithfulness of God.

"Where the Jews were numerous, as at Thessalonica, they had usually a Synagogue, Acts 17:1; where they were few, as at Philippi, they had merely a proseuche, or 'place of prayer,' of much smaller dimensions, and commonly built by a river for the sake of the water necessary to the preliminary ablutions prescribed by Rabbinic tradition, Acts 16:13,16 ." * [* From Notes on Thessalonians by Hogg and Vine, pp. 189,190.]

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Bibliography Information
Vines, W. E., M. A. Entry for 'Pray, Prayer'. Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words. 1940.

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