Prayer

Concise Bible Dictionary:

This has been described as “the intercourse of a dependent one with God.” It may take the form of communion in one brought nigh, or it may be the making requests for oneself or for others. There are twelve different words used for prayer in the Old Testament, and eight in the New Testament, with various shades of meaning, as there are in English: “asking, begging, beseeching.” In the synoptic Gospels the word used in connection with Christ is that most commonly employed for “praying,” but in John’s gospel the word is that generally rendered “ask” or “demand.” The change is explained by the different aspect in which the Lord is presented in John.
God hears and encourages prayer. A cry to God is the mark of a soul truly turning to Him: “Behold, he prayeth,” was said of Saul of Tarsus (Acts 9:1111And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and inquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth, (Acts 9:11)). To the saints it is said, “Pray without ceasing”; “ask and ye shall receive.” “If we ask anything according to His will He heareth us, and.... we know that we have the petitions.” “All things whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer believing ye shall receive.” “Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in My name, He will give it you.” The disciples as left here, representative of Christ and charged with His interests, were to ask in His name; and the same is true in principle as regards believers now (Mark 11:2424Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. (Mark 11:24); John 14:1313And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. (John 14:13); John 15:1616Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you. (John 15:16); John 16:23,2623And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you. (John 16:23)
26At that day ye shall ask in my name: and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you: (John 16:26)
; James 1:5-75If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. 6But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. 7For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. (James 1:5‑7); 1 John 5:14-1514And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: 15And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him. (1 John 5:14‑15)). Christians are exhorted to make known all their petitions, or requests, to God, and having done so, the peace of God shall keep their hearts and minds (Phil. 4:6-76Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6‑7)). This is their wondrous privilege: they have addressed God, and in peace they leave it with Him to grant their petitions or not.
The above passages demonstrate that to receive what is prayed for, requests must be in faith, they must be according to the light of God’s will, and hence made in the name of the Lord Jesus. While prayer is always to God, it is suggested that requests would naturally be made to the Father in respect of all that tends to the promotion of Christ in believers, as well as in things referring to their discipline in the pathway here. On the other hand prayer would be made to the Lord in relation to that over which He is set as administrator, such as the service of the gospel, the saints, the house of God, &c.

“595. Prayer” From Manners and Customs of the Bible:

2. He did not look toward the sun, as the fire-worshipers did (see note on Ezekiel 8:1616And he brought me into the inner court of the Lord's house, and, behold, at the door of the temple of the Lord, between the porch and the altar, were about five and twenty men, with their backs toward the temple of the Lord, and their faces toward the east; and they worshipped the sun toward the east. (Ezekiel 8:16), #568) but toward Jerusalem, where the temple of Jehovah stood, and where the sacred Presence was in the Oracle. This seems to have been a custom among the Jews when they were away from the Holy City. See 1 Kings 8:44,48; 244If thy people go out to battle against their enemy, whithersoever thou shalt send them, and shall pray unto the Lord toward the city which thou hast chosen, and toward the house that I have built for thy name: (1 Kings 8:44)
48And so return unto thee with all their heart, and with all their soul, in the land of their enemies, which led them away captive, and pray unto thee toward their land, which thou gavest unto their fathers, the city which thou hast chosen, and the house which I have built for thy name: (1 Kings 8:48)
Chronicles 6:34; Psalm 5:7; 28:2; 138:27But as for me, I will come into thy house in the multitude of thy mercy: and in thy fear will I worship toward thy holy temple. (Psalm 5:7)
2Hear the voice of my supplications, when I cry unto thee, when I lift up my hands toward thy holy oracle. (Psalm 28:2)
2I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name. (Psalm 138:2)
; Jonah 2:44Then I said, I am cast out of thy sight; yet I will look again toward thy holy temple. (Jonah 2:4). See also note on Matthew 4:2323And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people. (Matthew 4:23) (#636).
3. There was no legal prescription in the Jewish ritual of any hours for seasons of prayer. The hours of morning and evening sacrifice would naturally be suggested to the mind of a pious Jew as suitable times for prayer. To this might easily be added a time midway. This appears to have been the case with David, who says: “Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice” (Psa. 55:1717Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice. (Psalm 55:17)). The order in which these three seasons of prayer are named by the psalmist seems to indicate the origin of the custom as just suggested. In the text Daniel is said to have prayed “three times a day.” From Daniel 9:2121Yea, whiles I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation. (Daniel 9:21), it appears that one of these seasons of prayer was at the time of evening sacrifice; the two others were probably the same as those mentioned by David. In later times the precise hour is more clearly indicated. Compare Acts 2:15; 10:9; 3:115For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. (Acts 2:15)
9On the morrow, as they went on their journey, and drew nigh unto the city, Peter went up upon the housetop to pray about the sixth hour: (Acts 10:9)
1Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour. (Acts 3:1)
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“645. Repetitions in Prayer” From Manners and Customs of the Bible:

Matthew 6:77But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. (Matthew 6:7). When ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.
Some of the rabbis in our Lord’s time had taught that oft-repeated prayers were of certain efficacy, thus falling into an imitation of the heathen, who have ever been noted for unmeaning repetitions. When Elijah challenged the worshipers of Baal, they called on their god “from morning even unto noon, saying, O Baal, hear us” (1 Kings 18:2626And they took the bullock which was given them, and they dressed it, and called on the name of Baal from morning even until noon, saying, O Baal, hear us. But there was no voice, nor any that answered. And they leaped upon the altar which was made. (1 Kings 18:26)). When Paul excited the rage of Demetrius, who in turn aroused the mob at Ephesus, the angry crowd “all with one voice about the space of two hours cried out, Great is Diana of the Ephesians” (Acts 19:3434But when they knew that he was a Jew, all with one voice about the space of two hours cried out, Great is Diana of the Ephesians. (Acts 19:34)). It would seem as if the further men become removed from true spiritual worship the greater estimate they put on oft-repeated forms. The Mohammedans equal the heathen in this respect. After the storming of Seringapatam, the body of Tippoo Sahib was found among the slain and in his pocket was a book of devotion with various forms of prayer, and among them the following: “O God, O God, O God, O God! O Lord, O Lord, O Lord, O Lord, O Living, O Immortal! O Living, O Immortal! O Living, O Immortal! O Living, O Immortal! O Creator of the heavens and the earth, O thou who art endowed with majesty and authority! O wonderful,” etc. (Burder, Oriental Customs No. 931).
The Hindus consider the repetition of the name of a god an act of worship. They say the name of God is like fire, through which all sins are consumed; hence the repetition of the names of their deities is a common practice. According to Ward, they even have rosaries, the beads of which they count off in order to facilitate these repetitions. They imagine that by this easy process they can obtain anything they desire.

“741. Standing During Prayer” From Manners and Customs of the Bible:

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