ChristianAnswers.Net WebBible Encyclopedia


Prayer is conversation 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” (Ex. 32:11); “pouring out the soul before the Lord” (1 Sam. 1:15); “praying and crying to heaven” (2 Chr. 32:20); “seeking unto God and making supplication” (Job 8:5); “drawing near to God” (Ps. 73:28); “bowing the knees” (Eph. 3:14).

Prayer presupposes a belief in the personality of God, his ability and willingness to communicate 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” (Matt. 7:7,8; 21:22; Mark 11:24; John 14:13,14), and in the name of Jesus Christ ( 16:23,24; 15:16; Eph. 2:18; 5:20; Col. 3:17; 1 Pet. 2:5).

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…

If we except the “Lord’s Prayer” (Matt. 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 commanded in Scripture (Ex. 22:23, 27; 1 Kings 3:5; 2 Chr. 7:14; Ps. 37:4; Isa. 55:6; Joel 2:32; Ezek. 36:37, etc.).

types of prayer

There are different kinds of prayer: secret (Matt. 6:6); social, as family prayers, and in social worship; and public, in the service of the sanctuary.

Intercessory prayer is commanded (Num. 6:23; Job 42:8; Isa. 62:6; Ps. 122:6; 1 Tim. 2:1; James 5:14).

answers to prayer

We have very many testimonies that it has been answered (Ps. 3:4; 4:1; 6:8; 18:6; 28:6; 30:2; 34:4; 118:5; James 5:16-18, etc.). Other examples:

examples of prayer in the Bible


“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).

Pray, noun: “To ask that the laws of the universe be annulled in behalf of a single petitioner confessedly unworthy” (Ambrose Bierce, 1842-1914).

Author: Matthew G. Easton, edited by Paul S. Taylor.


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stories about prayer

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