Abraham in Genesis 18:23-33
If you ask the average person for their
definition of prayer they would probably answer, "Talking to God" or something similar. Websterís Dictionary
defines it as "an address to God or a god in word or thought." Vineís Dictionary of NT Words states that the
word which is most often translated as "prayer" in Scripture is not only "an address to God, but conveys
also the idea of petition, entreaty, supplication, intercession."
After observing Jesus praying, one of the disciples said, "Lord, teach us to pray." (Luke 11:1) The disciplesí
recognition of their need for instruction on prayer prompted me to study Scripture to further my own understanding of prayer.
To be found in both the Old and New Testament are many good examples of "effectual fervent prayer." (James 5:16 KJV)
Here are a few from the Old Testament:
Jesusí reply to the disciples in Luke 11:2 is a familiar prayer which most people would cite if asked for an example. But there are others which also give
Jesus in John Chap. 17
Paul in Eph.3:14-21, Phil. 1:9-11 and Col. 1:9-23
Looking at other Scriptures which also benefit our prayer life are Paulís instruction to the Ephesians in 6:18
"With all prayer and petition, pray at all times in the Spirit."
Paulís word to the Philippians is in 4:6 "Be anxious for nothing but in everything by prayer and supplication with
thanksgiving let your requests be known to God."
To the Colossians Paul said, "Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of
The writer of Hebrews (13:15) admonishes, "Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of
praise to God, that is the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name."
In this brief look at the meaning of prayer, we can conclude that attitude as well as the words used is important,
whether in our private prayer time or a prayer meeting with fellow believers.