Prayer

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What is prayer? What is its purpose? What does true prayer look like? Can we change what is happening to us or others by praying?

First, let us clarify a principle. “The sun shines on the good and the bad alike. The rain also falls on the good and the bad alike.” We have no control over the sun or the rain. In the same manner, if a gardener, who lives in a dry climate, doesn't water his plants, they will die. So, what is the principle? There are universal laws or principles in this life;; if you follow the principle you will thrive. If you violate the principles, things will not go well with you. It doesn't matter if you are a "godly" person or an ungodly person, believer or unbeliever.

  • If you jump off a cliff, you will fall.
  • If you consistently overeat, you will get fat.
  • If you stop eating anything, you will lose weight.
  • If you never eat again you will die.
  • If you are shot, you will be wounded or die.
  • If you eat poorly and abuse your body, you will not be as healthy as if you eat nutritious foods and take good care of your body.

What am I getting at? If you violate the universal laws you will experience the consequences that are also designed into those laws. It doesn't matter whether you are a sinner or a saint, you will experience those same consequences. It doesn't matter if you pray or not, you will still experiences those same consequences. If you don't want to experience the consequences, then don't violate those laws.

  • If you don't want to fall, don't jump off the cliff
  • If you don't want to get fat, don't overeat
  • If you don't want to lose weight, don't stop eating
  • If you don't want to get sick, take good care of your body

What does all of this have to do with prayer? You can't go on violating life's principles and then pray to your idea of God to take away the consequences. It doesn't work like that. Prayer, in this sense, is to focus one's mind on the situation to find the cause. When the cause is identified, then, again, prayer (focusing one's mind on finding a solution) is appropriate to find a solution.

Prayer is not meant to let a person continue to violate the universal  laws of creation and not experience the consequences.

Many times the cause of the problem is not apparent. It these cases we need to call in knowledgeable people (elders) to help identify the causes and to help find solutions. (What are elders? Elders represent older or trained people who are experienced in the area of need. For example, doctors who will apply the oil (medicine or treatment))

 

A large part of prayer is learning to train your thinking and your awareness to

The reality is that both the righteous and the unrighteouls  will both experience the consequences of any of life's situations. The main difference between a righteouls and an unrighteous person is in one's response to the situation. "keep a good attitude".. makes all the difference in the world in the outcome of the situation.

Thoughts About Prayer

Summary: Prayer is not about telling God what to do do, or giving Him advice. Prayer is not about trying to get God to act and do something. Rather, prayer is about changing us, helping us to change our old self-centered thinking patterns so that we think and act with love and compassion, that learn to act responsibly and obediently, preparing us to be ready for His service,


This article is not intended to try to convince anyone else of the "truth", but rather this is written with two objectives in mind. 1. To clarify my own thinking on the subject of prayer, and 2.) to explain to others what my thoughts are about prayer and about why I think that way.

For most of the early years of my life I had a very immature attitude about prayer. It was basically, "God, please give me this" and "God, do that over there." My  whole thought and focus of prayer was trying to get God to do something for me or give me something OR trying to tell God what to do. It was treating God like a vending machine: make a request and get something back.I've seen much of this same type of prayer in modern-day Christianity (i.e. "Pray of my Uncle John that he might be healed", "Let's have everyone pray on the National Day of Prayer" and many other similar thoughts.) This view of prayer is almost saying that God isn't listening, or doesn't know what is going on unless we tell him, or that he will only act if we pray hard enough or long enough, or God won't act unless there are enough people praying at one time.

In recent years, after going through some intense trials, where my concepts of prayer just didn't work, my whole idea and thoughts about prayer have changed drastically. God is our Father and he will provide for our needs. A human child of good parents doesn't have to beg and plead with his parents to give him food, clothing, and a place to sleep. His parents will provide for his needs just because he is their child. And that is what good parents do, they provide for their children. In the same way we don't have to beg and plead with God to provide for our necesities. God is faithful, he will provide for us without us having to continually ask. God also loves and cares for every human on this earth. We don't have to tell God to take care of someone. God is fully in charge. He fully knows the situation of every human on earth and He knows what every human needs. We don't have to ask God to take care of people. God has it fully under control.

Setting Our Minds

Now that brings us to a new awareness. If we aren't to tell God what to do, then what are we to pray for? How are we to pray? What are we to even think or say in our prayers.

Here is a new concept that I live by in recent years.

"Pray = set your mind". What does this mean? Prayer is directing the course of our thoughts and minds. Prayer is preparing our minds for action.

"Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed." 1 Peter 1:13

Let's take a look at how this applies to life. Let's look at this verse.

 "You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect." Matthew 5:43-48

Here Jesus is talking about our attitude and our behavior. This is all about how we are to think about and treat our enemies. We are to pray (set our minds) [my words] to love our enemies.

Another part of the equation. We are told to love our enemies. What does that mean?

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails." 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a

To  say it bluntly, we are to love our enemies (treat them kindly, not be rude to them, not be angry with them, not keep a record of wrongs done by them to us.) This way of thinking and behaving is not natural to us. To accomplish this we are to pray (set our minds) on showing them love. Prayer is a first step to living out the love that we are to show our enemies.

Prayer is much more than about loving our enemies. It is also about loving and caring for our own families, even when we feel ambivalent about the whole thing. Prayer is "setting our minds" for action. As we pray, we are telling our minds and ourselves how we will think and behave. We are setting the course of our actions as we face the challenges of each day.

Practically, how does that work? Whatever we do repeatedly or think about repeatedly becomes a habit, which becomes a part of who we are. For example, if I have an enemy in my life that I hate and he hates me, then it's easy to think mean thoughts about him. My hatred for him, and my bad attitude towards him becomes a part of who I am. I take on hatred and a bad attitude. However, once I realize that when I view someone as an enemy and am treating him badly, then I'm at fault because I'm behaving incorrectly. Once I realize that I'm suppose to love my enemies, then I begin to pray ("set my mind" on wanting good things for him). I think good thoughts toward him, and start behaving in a kind and friendly manner towards him. I am to do this "without ceasing". These new thought patterns and behaviors are not dependent on whether or not my "enemy" responds or changes in some positive way. Therefore they become a part of who I am. As a result my new attitude towards my enemy first change me. It can't help but have an affect upon him.

Prayer is mainly about changing our thinking and our behavior. When we begin to make these positive changes in us, we begin to change the world around us.

Similarly Mahatma Gandhi said: "Be the change you want to see in the world."

"Pray without ceasing." How long are we to pray ("set our thinking") in this new way. "Without Ceasing". We are to continue in this new way to the very end of our lives. When we realize that we have to change the way that we think and behave "forever" (without ceasing), then our whole life changes, as well as many of those around us. We have to change first before we can expect anyone or anything else to change.

Guidance

Another aspect of prayer is praying for guidance. There many difficult decisions and many tough choices that come to us. Which is the "correct" one? I think that part of our fear is that we want to make a good choice (that will have no bad consequences that come upon us or others). Another way of saying it would be, "God help me to not make a mistake." Is this even reasonable. Many times we seemingly make bad choices causing (what we think are) all sorts of things to go wrong, but in the end it turned out to be the best choice. It was the path that we were supposed to take. Those challenges were all part of the path that God had for us.

"I am the way, the truth, and the life." When we make a decision, we should tell the truth in all the small and large details. When making a decision it is so easy to want to "fudge the details" OR to tell "only that which will make it happen the way that we want it to happen." In plain English, this would be lieing.

Whenever we have a decision to make, we do have some instructions. Always tell the truth. A good barameter is, "Right to know, Need to know." We don't always have to tell everyone everything. But we do have a responsibililty to tell the full truth to anyone who has a right to know or who has a need to know. We need to tell as much to each person as they need to know to make a wise decision on our behalf. In addition, if their are others involved who have a right to know anything, then we need to tell them anything that they have a right to know.

When we are fully truthful and honest we "loose control" of the outcome of the decision. This "loosing control" is the process of "turning it over to God." This is the scarey part. How do we know what is going to happen? We don't.

So, it boils down to this. We can pray for guidance; but we've already been given the directions. Be truthful, honest, compassionate, and responsible in all that we do. Don't let any deceitfulness come into the picture. When we are fully honest in all that we do, we do as much as we can by those guidelines, we are, in reality, turning the outcome over to God.

Does that mean that we will never make a "mistake"? There are times that we have to make a decision, and none of the outcomes seem desirable. If we choose poorly, bad consequences can seem to come upon us. "God, help me to make the right choice." But it seems that God doesn't answer. Or has he already answered? We don't want to make a mistake, and yet God seems to allow us to make what we think to be mistakes. Experiencing the consequences of our mistakes is all part of the maturing process as we grow into the likeness of the Son of God. As long as we make each decision based upon His truth and principles, then God goes with us through each decision no matter what the outcome. It may not be what we want or what we expected, but the outcome is from God.

Always make a decision based upon truth and love, both to ourselves and to the others that are involved. When we hold fast to God's principles (putting them into practice), then we can be sure that the outcome is from God.

When we have a decision to make, get all the facts, tell everyone who needs to know or who has a right to know the full truth about everything that applies to them.

Prayer = Focused Intention

This article is really for me and my family. (Perhaps it can be of some help to others as well.) We were in the middle of having to make some major decisions in our life. We didn't know what to do. This article came to me in stages; in the evening before I went to bed, and in the middle of the night, during the day as I was working..

The Law Of Averages

When I was of the old mindset about prayer it was easy to think that when something happened that I prayed about, that my prayer caused the event to happen. In recent times I've had a new thought about that. The law of averages says that if you bet on enough horse races, you'll will a few of them. If you make enough prophecies, some of them will come true. If a fortune teller will predict enough events some of them will come true. (i.e. let's say a fortune teller will predict the outcome of 100 events, the law of averages says that at least a few of them will happen. Then she can look at the few that she correctly guess about and proclaim her powers of predicting the future.) In much the same way, if someone prays for enough different things, some of them are bound to come true. As humans, we also tend to see what we want to see. Then, if we see that some of our prayers have seemingly been answered (even though it is just the law of averages) it's easy to think that our prayers caused the desired thing to happen. But what about all the things that we have prayed about that never happened? It's so easy to brush them into the closet and forget about them. It's so much more builds our ego to think that our prayers made things happen.

I believe that a large part of people believing in the power of prayer is that of "people  see what they want to see." When a person believes in the "power of prayer" then he only sees the things that fit into his belief system and he discounts anything that doesn't fit into his paradyme.

Over my 60 plus years I have in the midst of many people praying. I have also watched may prayers that were prayed with "great power" (of strong emotion). No matter how the prayer was said, not matter how great of "power" was put into the prayers, I have seen nothing more than what could be attributed to the law of averages. Some people will get well, some will not, according to the law of averages.

Confirmation Bias

Another consideration is the tendency for the human mind to want to prove what it already believes to be right. For many people, it really doesn't matter what is true, they want to believe what they already believe and will go to great lengths to keep ahold of their beliefs.

"If one were to attempt to identify a single problematic aspect of human reasoning that deserves attention above all others, the confirmation bias we be among the candidates for consideration. Many have written about this bias, and it appears to be sufficiently strong and pervasive that one is led to wonder whether the bias, by itself, might account for a significant faction of the disputes, altercations, and misunderstandings that occur among individcuals, groups, and nations."1

 

The Power of Prayer

Anything that we do repeatedly will have an affect. If we say or think something over and over again, the repetition builds pathways in our brain in those areas. It doesn't matter whether those thoughts are true or not. The repetition can make it seem true to us. In much the same way, if we prayer repeatedly it will have an affect upon us. This can go in several different directions.
1.) If we pray repeatedly that our eyes will be opened to the needs of others or of a specific person, then that builds an awareness within in our minds to begin looking for the people who are in need.
2.) If we pray repeatedly that God will work in specific ways, the repetition of those prays builds within us thoughts that we can cause things to happen. We don't see all the things that happen contrary to our prayers.

The continued repetition can be extremely beneficial in helping us to become persistent, or to build positive thoughts in our life. Conversely, it can also be very harmful if it makes us believe things that just aren't true.

In prayer, if we think something might be true (whether or not is actually true) the continued repetition can convince us without a doubt that something is true. The continued repetition builds those thoughts and ideas deep down inside of us. So the message is, "Be careful what you pray" because the message will be planted deep inside of you.

Additional Notes: 

There are many challenging situations in this life that really stretch us, that push us to the limit, the  tear at our emotions. Prayer is a practice of controlling our mind and our emotions, of calming us down.

 

James 5:13-15 The Prayer of Healing

I grew up watching the great "faith healers", such as Oral Roberts and Kathryn Kuhlman, who "laid their hands" on the "sick"   and claimed to "heal" many people on national TV.  I saw a lot of emotional energy being used by the "healer". Under the the pressure of the healer expectantly looking towards them I saw many claims of being healed. But I never saw anything that could be proved to be real. For instance, I never saw anyone who was missing an arm or a leg that had it instantly grow back. Over the years I've also been part of countless meetings where they prayed for sick people. 

During the last two or three years of my dad's life we learned that he had lymphoma cancer (of the lymph nodes). My mom kept praying in faith for dad's healing. Even up until the end she believed that he would get well. In spite of her much praying in faith for his healing, he died of cancer at the age of 62. The day before he died he went down to the Veterans and filled out (for the second time) the paperwork for Mom to receive a veteran's pension, which supported mom for the rest of her life. Mom lived the remaining 20 years of her life alone, without him. Since Dad had made all the decisions in their marriage, after Dad dies Mom had much growing up to do, which she needed.

A few years before my mom died of brain cancer (before anyone knew she had the brain tumor), she went to countless healing meetings and went up to be healed. I saw what seemed to me like a very limited amount of "healing", but it seems that a placebo pill could have done about as good. Even after all those countless "healings" she was still afflicted by many ailments, and was still in bondage to her many fears.

How many times have I heard Christians quote James 5:13-15

"Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective."

The expectation seems to be the fulfillment of this simple formula: "Call elders" + "anoint with oil" = "sick person healed"

  1. A person gets sick, the call for the elders (of the church)
  2. The elders come and:
    1. lay their hands on the sick
    2. Anoint the sick person with oil
  3. The sick person gets well.

Over many years I've seen this formula used over and over and over again with the same results. Sometimes they got better, sometimes the sick people died. What I've seen many times is nothing more than the law of averages. The sick operson would have had the same results whether some prayed for them or not. I've seen nothing to indicate that "God supernaturally healed the sick person" after they had been prayed for. Even though many sick people were prayed for "in faith", many of them died. Why did the sick person die? Were not the elders praying the right way? Where they praying strong enough? Did they not have enough Faith?

I've also heard about and read of scientific studies 1 2 3 that have examined the power of prayer on sick people. There doesn't seem to be much, if any, scientific evidence that prayer actually helps those who are being prayed for.

I've been through some intensely traumatic times in my life where my family was split apart. I "prayed" intensely for my family to be put back together. Instead, things (seemingly) got worse for some years. I later found out that I was the problem. I needed to change. God had broken my family apart to bring healing into my life and into the lives of my loved ones. After my heart was thoroughly broken, God began to heal my heart. He brought my family back together we are now closer than we ever were before.

Through this experience, and others, I learned that God is always working for our good, not matter how we pray or IF we pray (by man's standards). Pray is so much more than the simple my previous understanding of "God, please give me that, and God, please do that over there." As if God didn't know what to do without my telling him.

Perhaps we have a misunderstanding of the James 5:13-15.

I would propose that we step out of our literal think and would think about the verse in a different way. "Is anyone sick4, Let him call the elders5 (since there were few doctors, get older, more knowledgeable persons) and let them pray6 7 8 (to come together and turn their minds towards the sick person. Let them decide how to be help and care for the sick person) over them and anoint them with oil9(In ancient times olive oil was used as a medicine) in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer offered in faith10 11 will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective."

In ancient times the masses had little options for getting help with being sick, except to call for the elders, who were knowledgeable about how to care for sick people. In the present day, in our country, I would equate an "elder" with a doctor or other trained professional. I would take this verse, at least partly, to mean that when you or someone else is sick, go get some help. Get someone who has been trained and/or who has experience in whatever the problem may be. Sometimes the "elder" might be a doctor, or a counselor or anyone else who is knowledgeable and who can help.

From our limited human awareness, we don't know what to pray12 for. When we pray we often ask him to give us something or we tell God what to do. We look at life's situations from our limited human perspectives. We pray for things that we think are good or desirable. And yet, many times, God uses the extreme trials of life to grow us into his likeness, into being his beloved children.

God is doing a work in each of our lives. Often times God works through extreme trials that we don't desire (i.e. loss of a love one, loss of part of our body, being separated from loved ones for a time). He is working for our good. We can't pray our way out of it. We often pray from our fear and doubt, trying to escape the hand of God. We want to escape the cleansing hands of God. We pray,"Lord, take this trial from me." God replies, I am sending this cleansing hand upon you, to make you into my child of my likeness, who had my character. God will have his way with us not matter what we pray or what we do. God is the victor, and it is all for our good13.

We are often so concerned with the healing of our bodies. God wants to heal and complete our innermost being. Sometimes that means the loss of part of our body, or the loss of those who we love. But, when our eyes are finally opened, we can say in full faith and assurance, "Lord, have your way with me. Do with me as you see fit. You are my beloved Daddy. You always do what is best for me!

  • 1. B. Carey, Long-Awaited Medical Study Questions the Power of Prayer , 2006. [Online]. Available: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/31/health/31pray.html?pagewanted=all.
  • 2. R. Stein, Prayer's Power to Heal Strangers Is Examined, 2005. [Online]. Available: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/07/14/AR2005071401695.html.
  • 3. Miranda, 25 Intriguing Scientific Studies About Faith, Prayer and Healing, 2010. [Online]. Available: http://onlinesurgicaltechniciancourses.com/2010/25-intriguing-scientific-studies-about-faith-prayer-and-healing/.
  • 4. G770 (Mickelson's Enhanced Strong's Greek and Hebrew Dictionaries) G770 ἀσθενέω astheneo (as-then-eh'-o) v. 1. to be feeble (in any sense) [from G772] KJV: be diseased, impotent folk (man), (be) sick, (be, be made) weak Root(s): G772 [?]
  • 5. G4245 (Mickelson's Enhanced Strong's Greek and Hebrew Dictionaries) G4245 πρεσβύτερος presbuteros (pres-boo'-ter-os) adj. 1. older 2. (as noun) a senior 3. (specially) an Israelite Sanhedrist 4. (figuratively) member of the celestial council 5. (Christian) "presbyter" [comparative of presbus "elderly"] KJV: elder(-est), old [?]
  • 6. G4336 προσεύχομαι proseuchomai (pros-yoo'-khom-ai) v. 1. to pray to God, i.e. supplicate, worship [from G4314 and G2172] KJV: pray (X earnestly, for), make prayer Root(s): G4314, G2172
  • 7. G4314 πρός pros (pros') prep. 1. forward to, i.e. toward 2. (genitive case) the side of, i.e. pertaining to 3. (dative case) by the side of, i.e. near to 4. (accusative case, usually) the place, time, occasion, or respect (which is the destination of the relation, i.e. whither or for which it is predicated) [a strengthened form of G4253, a preposition of direction] KJV: about, according to , against, among, at, because of, before, between, (where-)by, for, X at thy house, in, for intent, nigh unto, of, which pertain to, that, to (the end that), X together, to (you) -ward, unto, with(-in). In the comparative case, it denotes essentially the same applications, namely, motion towards, accession to, or nearness at Root(s): G4253
  • 8. G2172 εὔχομαι euchomai (yoo'-khom-ai) v. 1. to wish 2. (by implication) to pray to God [middle voice of a primary verb] KJV: pray, will, wish Compare: G4336, G4727 See also: G685
  • 9. G1637 (Mickelson's Enhanced Strong's Greek and Hebrew Dictionaries) G1637 ἔλαιον elaion (el'-ai-on) n. 1. olive oil [neuter of the same as G1636] KJV: oil Root(s): G1636
  • 10. G4102 (Mickelson's Enhanced Strong's Greek and Hebrew Dictionaries) G4102 πίστις pistis (pis'-tis) n. 1. persuasion, i.e. credence 2. (morally) conviction (of religious truth, or the truthfulness of God or a religious teacher) 3. (especially) reliance upon Christ for salvation 4. (abstractly) constancy in such profession 5. (by extension) the system of religious (Gospel) truth itself [from G3982] KJV: assurance, belief, believe, faith, fidelity Root(s): G3982
  • 11. G3982 πείθω peitho (pei'-tho) v. 1. to convince (by argument, true or false) 2. (by analogy) to pacify or conciliate (by other fair means) 3. (reflexively or passively) to assent (to evidence or authority), to rely (by inward certainty) [a primary verb] KJV: agree, assure, believe, have confidence, be (wax) conflent, make friend, obey, persuade, trust, yield
  • 12. "In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God." Romans 8:26-27
  • 13. "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[i] have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified" Romans 8:28-30

The Definition of Prayer

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Here is a Greek word for Prayer - προσεύχομαι

G4336 (Mickelson's Enhanced Strong's Greek and Hebrew Dictionaries)
G4336 προσεύχομαι proseuchomai (pros-yoo'-khom-ai) v.
1. to pray to God, i.e. supplicate, worship
[from G4314 and G2172]
KJV: pray (X earnestly, for), make prayer 
Root(s): G4314, G2172 
Compare: G2172, G4727 

I'm reluctant to take the first defintion because of our rule about "Biblical" Greek". In addition to that, the first definition says, " to pray to God, i.e. supplicate, worship", but combination of the root words (below) doesn't bear out that definition. So, to get a better idea of what this word means, let's look at the Root words: G431 (πρός)4, G2172 (εὔχομαι)

Here is the first root word - πρός

 

  • G4314 πρός pros (pros') prep.forward to, i.e. toward
  • (genitive case) the side of, i.e. pertaining to
  • (dative case) by the side of, i.e. near to
  • (accusative case, usually) the place, time, occasion, or respect (which is the destination of the relation, i.e. whither or for which it is predicated)

[a strengthened form of G4253, a preposition of direction]
KJV: about, according to , against, among, at, because of, before, between, (where-)by, for, X at thy house, in, for intent, nigh unto, of, which pertain to, that, to (the end that), X together, to (you) -ward, unto, with(-in). In the comparative case, it denotes essentially the same applications, namely, motion towards, accession to, or nearness at 
Root(s): G4253 

Notice how the top three definitions talk about "forward to, i.e., toward" and " the side of, i.e. pertaining to" and " by the side of, i.e. near to" Add to this the avove phrase: "[a strengthened form of G4253, a preposition of direction]"

 

Here is the second root word - εὔχομαι

G2172 εὔχομαι euchomai (yoo'-khom-ai) v.

  1. 1. to wish
  2. 2. (by implication) to pray to God

[middle voice of a primary verb]
KJV: pray, will, wish 
Compare: G4336, G4727 
See also: G685 

Notice how the top definition says "to wish". We don't use the second definition because of our thoughts about "Biblical" Greek and because it is said to be an implication, not a real definiton.

Putting it All Together

Now when we look at the Greek word for prayer "προσεύχομαι", which is a combination of "G4314 πρός" and "G2172 εὔχομαι" we see a clarified meaning of the word for prayer. "pertaining to/toward (a preposition of direction)" + "to wish". So, when we pray, we set our minds "toward/pertaining to + to wish".

Here is Another Greek word for prayer: παρακαλέω

 

G3870 (Mickelson's Enhanced Strong's Greek and Hebrew Dictionaries)
G3870 παρακαλέω parakaleo (par-ak-al-eh'-o) v.
1. (properly) to call near (as to receive or give help)
2. to implore, entreat (to urgently ask (for mercy or help))
3. to exhort (to urgently counsel, encourage or admonish)
4. to comfort
[from G3844 and G2564]
KJV: beseech, call for, (be of good) comfort, desire, (give) exhort(-ation), intreat, pray
Root(s): G3844, G2564

 

Here one of the root words: παρά

G3844 παρά para (par-ah') prep.

1. (properly) near

2. (genitive case) from beside (literally or figuratively)

3. (dative case) at (or in) the vicinity of (objectively or subjectively)

4. (accusative case) to the proximity with (local (especially beyond or opposed to) or causal (on account of))

[a primary preposition]

KJV: above, against, among, at, before, by, contrary to, X friend, from, + give (such things as they), + that (she) had, X his, in, more than, nigh unto, (out) of, past, save, side...by, in the sight of, than, (there-)fore, with. In compounds it retains the same variety of application

Compare: G3326

Here is the second root word: καλέω

G2564 καλέω kaleo (kal-eh'-o) v.
1. to "call" (aloud)
{(properly) aloud, but used in a variety of applications, directly or otherwise}
[akin to the base of G2753]
KJV: bid, call (forth), (whose, whose sur-)name (was (called))
See also: G2753

Notice how the definition very clearly says "to call (aloud)".

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is Prayer

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What is prayer?

When I was very young, I thought of prayer as basically two things, "God, please give me this" and "God, please do that." Over the years my view of prayer has changed drastically.

 

Here is a video of people answering the question, "What is prayer?"

Here are some of the answers.

"I thought of prayer before as asking for something, but now I've realized that for me, prayer is accepting what already is."

".... so, it's open my eyes so that I may see the glorious reality that's really here."

"Prayer is not asking. It is a longing of the soul. It is daily admission of one's weakness. It is better in prayer to have a heart without words than words without a heart. "1 Mohandas Gandhi

Another thought about prayer is:

"Prayer is, at root, simply paying attention to God "2

Now, of course, if we talk about, we need to define what we mean by God.

Some thoughts about Prayer

Prayer is focused intention. Keeping some desire in your mind as you work towards the fulfilling of that desire.

Conditions

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Broadcasting

Broadcasting is theprocess of putting out a lot of messages with the hope of someone responding. The outcome depends on the law of averages

The Law of Averages

 The law of averages says that if you bet on enough horse races, you'll win few of them, even if you don't know anything about the horses or betting. Here's another example: If you make enough prophecies, some of them will come true. If a fortune teller will predict enough events some of them will come true. (i.e. let's say a fortune teller will predict the outcome of 100 events, the law of averages says that at least a few of them will happen. Then she can look at the few that she correctly guess about and proclaim her powers of predicting the future.)

In much the same way, if someone prays for enough different things, some of them are bound to come true. As humans, we also tend to see what we want to see. Then, if we see that some of our prayers have (seemingly) been answered (even though it may be just an outplaying of the law of averages) it's easy to think that our prayers caused the desired thing to happen. But what about all the things that we have prayed about that never happened? It's so easy to brush them into the closet and forget about them. It's so much more builds our ego to think that our prayers made things happen.

Love your enemies

What does it mean to "love your enemies"?
Jesus said, "But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them that despitefully use you; that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven." Matt 5:44
 
"Love your enemies" is not about our emotions for our enemies. It is not about us making ourselves have warm fuzzy loving feelings toward our enemies. No, that would be irrational  But rather it denotes how we are to act towards our enemies. Then we add prayer: Prayer is focusing our mind and thoughts about how we can act in ways to bless our enemies. This action is not reactive, It is not based upon the way that our enemy treats us. Rather, our actions are based upon who we are and who we want to become.

Prayer, Mental Rehearsal

"Pray without ceasing"

Do you wish to believe to a stronger degree. Anything that we tell ourselves over and over and over again we begin to believe. This also applies to our faith and belief in God.