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June 28    Scripture

Manners & Customs: Prayer
Prayer and Praying in Ancient Biblical Times

Prayer in Easton's Bible Dictionary 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" (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 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. 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 Christ (16:23, 24; 15:16; Eph. 2:18; 5:20; Col. 3:17; 1 Pet. 2:5). Prayer is of different kinds, secret (Matt. 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; Ps. 122:6; 1 Tim. 2:1; James 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 (Ex. 8:12, 13, 30, 31; Ex. 9:33), for the Israelites (Ex. 17:11, 13; 32:11-14, 31-34; Num. 21:7, 8; Deut. 9:18, 19, 25), for Miriam (Num. 12:13), for Aaron (Deut. 9:20), of Samuel (1 Sam. 7:5-12), of Solomon (1 Kings 8; 2 Chr. 6), Elijah (1 Kings 17:20-23), Elisha (2 Kings 4:33- 36), Isaiah (2 Kings 19), Jeremiah (42:2-10), Peter (Acts 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 (1 Kings 8:54; 2 Chr. 6:13; Ps. 95:6; Isa. 45:23; Luke 22:41; Acts 7:60; 9:40; Eph. 3:14, etc.); of bowing and falling prostrate (Gen. 24:26, 52; Ex. 4:31; 12:27; Matt. 26:39; Mark 14:35, etc.); of spreading out the hands (1 Kings 8:22, 38, 54; Ps. 28:2; 63:4; 88:9; 1 Tim. 2:8, etc.); and of standing (1 Sam. 1:26; 1 Kings 8:14, 55; 2 Chr. 20:9; Mark 11:25; Luke 18:11, 13). 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 enjoined 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.), and 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.). "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 (Judg. 15:18-20). "David prayed, and God defeated the counsel of Ahithophel (2 Sam. 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 (Esther 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 (Acts 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 (2 Cor. 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.
http://www.bible-history.com/eastons/P/Prayer/


Prayer in Fausset's Bible Dictionary (1) Techinnah, from chandra "to be gracious"; hithpael, "to entreat grace"; Greek deesis. (2) Tephillah, from hithpael of paalal, "to seek judgment"; Greek proseuchee. "Prayer," proseuchee, for obtaining blessings, implying devotion; "supplication," deesis, for averting evil. "Prayer" the general term; "supplication" with imploring earnestness (implying the suppliant's sense of need); enteuxis, intercession for others, coming near to God, seeking an audience in person, generally in another's behalf. Thanksgiving should always go with prayer (1 Timothy 2:1; Ephesians 6:18; Philemon 4:6). An instinct of every nation, even pagan (Isaiah 16:12; Isaiah 44:17; Isaiah 45:20; 1 Kings 18:26). In Seth's days, when Enos (frailty) was born to him, "men began to call upon the name of Jehovah." The name Enos embodies the Sethites' sense of human frailty urging them to prayer, in contrast to the Cainites' self sufficient "pride of countenance" which keeps sinners from seeking God (Psalm 10:4). While the Cainites by building a city and inventing arts were founding the kingdom of this world, the Sethites by united calling upon Jehovah constituted the first church, and laid the foundation of the kingdom of God. The name of God is His whole self manifestation in relation to man. On this revealed divine character of grace and power believers fasten their prayers (Psalm 119:49; Proverbs 18:10). The sceptic's objections to prayer are: (1) The immutability of nature's general laws. But nature is only another name for the will of God; that will provides for answers to prayer in harmony with the general scheme of His government of the world. There are higher laws than those observed in the material world; the latter are subordinate to the former. (2) God's predestinating power, wisdom and love make prayer useless and needless. But man is made a free moral agent; and God who predestines the blessing predestines prayer as the means to that end (Matthew 24:20). Prayer produces and strengthens in the mind conscious dependence on God, faith, and love, the state for receiving and appreciating God's blessing ordained in answer to prayer. Moreover prayer does not supersede work; praying and working are complementary of each other (Nehemiah 4:9). Our weakness drives us to cast ourselves on God's fatherly love, providence, and power. Our cf6 "Father knoweth what things we have need of before we ask Him"; "we know not what things we should pray for as we ought" (Matthew 6:8; Romans 8:26). Yet "the Spirit helpeth our infirmities," and Jesus teaches us by the Lord's prayer how to pray (Luke 11). Nor is the blessing merely subjective; but we may pray for particular blessings, temporal and spiritual, in submission to God's will, for ourselves. cf6 "Thy will be done," (Matthew 6:10) and "if we ask anything according to His will" (1 John 5:14-15), is the limitation. Every truly believing prayer contains this limitation. God then grants either the petition or something better than it, so that no true prayer is lost (2 Corinthians 12:7-10; Luke 22:42; Hebrews 5:7). Also "intercessions" for others (the effect of which cannot be merely subjective) are enjoined (1 Timothy 2:1). God promises blessings in answer to prayer, as the indispensable condition of the gift (Matthew 7:7-8). Examples confirm the command to pray. None prayed so often as Jesus; early in the morning "a great while before day" (Mark 1:35), "all the night" (Luke 6:12), in Gethsemane with an "agony" that drew from Him "sweat as it were great drops of blood falling to the ground" (Luke 22:44); "when He was being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened" (Luke 3:21); "as He prayed" He was transfigured (Luke 9:29); "as He was praying in a certain place" (Luke 11:1) one disciple struck by His prayer said, "Lord teach us to pray as John also taught his disciples" (Luke 11:1) (an interesting fact here only recorded). Above all, the intercession in John 17, His beginning of advocacy with the Father for us; an example of the highest and holiest spiritual communion. The Holy Spirit in believers "maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God." "He that...
http://www.bible-history.com/faussets/P/Prayer/


Prayer in Naves Topical Bible MISCELLANY OF MINOR SUB-TOPICS Prayer test proposed by Elijah 1Ki 18:24-39 Daily, in the morning Ps 5:3; 88:13; 143:8; Isa 33:2 Twice daily Ps 88:1 Thrice daily Ps 55:17; Da 6:10 All night Lu 6:12 Without ceasing 1Th 5:17 Boldness in Enjoined Heb 4:16 Exemplified by Abraham in his inquiry concerning Sodom Ge 18:23-32 By Moses, supplicating for assistance in delivering Israel Ex 33:12,18 Secret Ge 24:63; Mt 6:6 Silent Ps 5:1 Weeping in Ezr 10:1 In a loud voice, satirized by Elijah 1Ki 18:27 Long Of Pharisees Mt 23:14 Of scribes Mr 12:40; Lu 20:47 Profuse, to be avoided Ec 5:2; Mt 6:7 Vain repetitions of, to be avoided Mt 6:7 Tokens asked for, as assurance of answer By Abraham's servant Ge 24:14 Gideon asks for a sign of dew on a fleece Jud 6:36-40 Rebuked Of Moses, at the Red Sea Ex 14:15 When Moses prayed to see Canaan, the promised land De 3:23-27 Of Joshua Jos 7:10 Evils averted by Jer 26:19 Unbelief in Job 21:15 "The Lord's Prayer," Mt 6:9-13; Lu 11:2-4 However, see Joh 17:1-26 Answer to, withheld Of Balaam De 23:5; Jos 24:10 Of Job Job 30:20; with 42:12 Of the Israelites, when attacked by the Amorites De 1:45 The prayer of Jesus, "Let this cup pass away," Mt 26:39,42,44; with 26:45-75 And Mt 27 Answer to, delayed Ps 22:1,2; 40:1; 80:4; 88:14; Jer 42:7; Hab 1:2; Lu 18:7 Answer to, exceeds petition Solomon asked for wisdom; the answer included wisdom, riches, honour, and long life 1Ki 3:7-14; 2Ch 1:10-12 The disciples prayed for Peter; the answer included Peter's deliverance Ac 12:15; with 12:5 Answer to, different from the request Moses asked to be permitted to cross the Jordan River; the answer was permission to view the land of promise De 3:23-27 The Israelites lusted for the fleshpots of Egypt; the answer gave them, flesh, but also leanness of soul Ps 106:14,15 Martha and Mary asked Jesus to come and heal their brother Lazarus; Jesus delayed, but raised Lazarus from the dead Joh 11 Paul asked that the "thorn in the flesh" be removed; the answer was a promise of grace to endure it 2Co 12:8,9 In Behalf of Nations See NATIONS, PRAYER FOR Penitential Of David...
http://www.bible-history.com/naves/P/PRAYER/


Prayer in Smiths Bible Dictionary The object of this article will be to touch briefly on -- 1. The doctrine of Scripture as to the nature and efficacy of prayer; 2. Its directions as to time, place and manner of prayer; 3. Its types and examples of prayer. 1. Scripture does not give any theoretical explanation of the mystery which attaches to prayer. The difficulty of understanding real efficacy arises chiefly from two sources: from the belief that man lives under general laws, which in all cases must be fulfilled unalterably; and the opposing belief that he is master of his own destiny, and need pray for no external blessing. Now, Scripture, while, by the doctrine of spiritual influence it entirely disposes of the latter difficulty, does not so entirely solve that part of the mystery which depends on the nature of God. It places it clearly before us, and emphasizes most strongly those doctrines on which the difficulty turns. Yet while this is so, on the other hand the instinct of prayer is solemnly sanctioned and enforced on every page. Not only is its subjective effect asserted, but its real objective efficacy, as a means appointed by God for obtaining blessing, is both implied and expressed in the plainest terms. Thus, as usual in the case of such mysteries, the two apparently opposite truths are emphasized, because they are needful: to man's conception of his relation to God; their reconcilement is not, perhaps cannot be, fully revealed. For, in fact, it is involved in that inscrutable mystery which attends on the conception of any free action of man as necessary for the working out of the general laws of God's unchangeable will. At the same time it is clearly implied that such a reconcilement exists, and that all the apparently isolated and independent exertions of man's spirit in prayer are in some way perfectly subordinated to the one supreme will of God, so as to form a part of his scheme of providence. It is also implied that the key to the mystery lies in the fact of man's spiritual unity with God in Christ, and of the consequent gift of the Holy Spirit. So also is it said of the spiritual influence of the Holy Ghost on each individual mind that while "we know not what to pray for, "the indwelling" Spirit makes intercession for the saints, according to the will of God." Ro 8:26,27 Here, as probably in still other cases, the action of the Holy Spirit on the soul is to free agents what the laws of nature are to things inanimate, and is the power which harmonizes free individual action with the universal will of God. 2. There are no directions as to prayer given in the Mosaic law: the duty is rather taken for granted, as an adjunct to sacrifice, than enforced or elaborated. It is hardly conceivable that, even from the beginning public prayer did not follow every public sacrifice. Such a practice is alluded to in Lu 1:10 as common; and in one instance, at the offering of the first-fruits, it was ordained in a striking form. De 26:12-15 In later times it certainly grew into a regular service both in the temple and in the synagogue. But, besides this public prayer, it was the custom of all at Jerusalem to go up to the temple, at regular hours if possible, for private prayer, see Lu 18:10; Ac 3:1 and those who were absent were wont to "open their windows toward Jerusalem," and pray "toward" the place...
http://www.bible-history.com/smiths/P/Prayer/


Prayer in the Bible Encyclopedia - ISBE prar (deesis, proseuche, (enteuxis; for an excellent discussion of the meaning of these see Thayer's Lexicon, p. 126, under the word deesis; 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 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 soul 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 (Heb 11:6). But adoration and confession and thanksgiving also find a It 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 aloe there are on the one hand words for prayer that denote a direct petition or short, sharp cry of the heart in its distress (Ps 30:2; 2 Cor 12:8), and on the other "prayers" like that of Hannah (1 Sam 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 (Eph 3:14-21). 1. In the Old Testament: The history of prayer as it meets us here reflects various stages of experience and revelation. In the patriarchal period, when `men began to call upon the name of the Lord' (Gen 4:26; compare 12:8; 21:33), prayer is naive, familiar and direct (Gen 15:2 ff; 17:18; 18:23 ff; 24:12). It is evidently associated with sacrifice (Gen 12:8; 13:4; 26:25), the underlying idea probably being that the gift or offering would help to elicit the desired response. Analogous to this is Jacob's vow, itself a species of prayer, in which the granting of desired benefits becomes the condition of promised service and fidelity (Gen 28:20 ff). In the pre- exilic history of Israel prayer still retains many of the primitive features of the patriarchal type (Ex 3:4; Nu 11:11-15; Jdg 6:13 ff; 11:30 f; 1 Sam 1:11; 2 Sam 15:8; Ps 66:13 f). The Law has remarkably little to say on the subject, differing here from the later Judaism (see Schurer, HJP, II, i, 290, index-vol, p. 93; and compare Mt 6:5 ff; 23:14; Acts 3:1; 16:13); while it confirms the association of prayer with sacrifices, which now appear, however, not as gifts in anticipation of benefits to follow, but as expiations of guilt (Dt 21:1-9) or thank offerings for past mercies (Dt 26:1-11). Moreover, the free, frank access of the private individual to God is more and more giving place to the mediation of the priest (Dt 21:5; 26:3), the intercession of the prophet (Ex 32:11-13; 1 Sam 7:5-13; 12:23), the ordered approach of tabernacle and temple services (Ex 40; 1 Ki 8). The prophet, it is true, approaches God immediately and freely--Moses (Ex 34:34; Dt 34:10) and David (2 Sam 7:27) are to be numbered among the prophets--but he does so in virtue of his office, and on the ground especially of his possession of the Spirit and his intercessory function (compare Ezek 2:2; Jer 14:15). A new epoch in the history of prayer in Israel was brought about by the experiences of the Exile. Chastisement...
http://www.bible-history.com/isbe/P/PRAYER/


Prayer Scripture - 1 Kings 8:29 That thine eyes may be open toward this house night and day, [even] toward the place of which thou hast said, My name shall be there: that thou mayest hearken unto the prayer which thy servant shall make toward this place.
http://www.bible-history.com/kjv/1+Kings/8/


Prayer Scripture - 1 Kings 9:3 And the LORD said unto him, I have heard thy prayer and thy supplication, that thou hast made before me: I have hallowed this house, which thou hast built, to put my name there for ever; and mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually.
http://www.bible-history.com/kjv/1+Kings/9/


Prayer Scripture - 2 Chronicles 6:20 That thine eyes may be open upon this house day and night, upon the place whereof thou hast said that thou wouldest put thy name there; to hearken unto the prayer which thy servant prayeth toward this place.
http://www.bible-history.com/kjv/2+Chronicles/6/


Prayer Scripture - 2 Kings 19:4 It may be the LORD thy God will hear all the words of Rabshakeh, whom the king of Assyria his master hath sent to reproach the living God; and will reprove the words which the LORD thy God hath heard: wherefore lift up [thy] prayer for the remnant that are left.
http://www.bible-history.com/kjv/2+Kings/19/


Prayer Scripture - 2 Kings 20:5 Turn again, and tell Hezekiah the captain of my people, Thus saith the LORD, the God of David thy father, I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears: behold, I will heal thee: on the third day thou shalt go up unto the house of the LORD.
http://www.bible-history.com/kjv/2+Kings/20/


Prayer Scripture - 2 Samuel 7:27 For thou, O LORD of hosts, God of Israel, hast revealed to thy servant, saying, I will build thee an house: therefore hath thy servant found in his heart to pray this prayer unto thee.
http://www.bible-history.com/kjv/2+Samuel/7/


Prayer Scripture - Isaiah 37:4 It may be the LORD thy God will hear the words of Rabshakeh, whom the king of Assyria his master hath sent to reproach the living God, and will reprove the words which the LORD thy God hath heard: wherefore lift up [thy] prayer for the remnant that is left.
http://www.bible-history.com/kjv/Isaiah/37/


Prayer Scripture - Job 22:27 Thou shalt make thy prayer unto him, and he shall hear thee, and thou shalt pay thy vows.
http://www.bible-history.com/kjv/Job/22/


Prayer Scripture - Nehemiah 1:6 Let thine ear now be attentive, and thine eyes open, that thou mayest hear the prayer of thy servant, which I pray before thee now, day and night, for the children of Israel thy servants, and confess the sins of the children of Israel, which we have sinned against thee: both I and my father's house have sinned.
http://www.bible-history.com/kjv/Nehemiah/1/


Prayer Scripture - Psalms 142:1 Prayer when he was in the cave.> I cried unto the LORD with my voice; with my voice unto the LORD did I make my supplication.
http://www.bible-history.com/kjv/Psalms/142/


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