Summary: A word study on prayer and some suggested study resources.
Types of Prayer
It has been said that Bible Study is God talking to us and in prayer we are talking to God. This has also been likened to breathing. Bible Study is inhaling and prayer is exhaling. We have talked in this series about the acronym ACTS. There are many other types of prayers in the Scripture. Let us look at some of the Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic words we translate as pray or prayer. These definitions come from Strong’s Concordance. The number in front of them is Strong’s number so that you can do further research and see what verse uses these specific words. A Young’s Analytic Concordance is also very good for this. Both should be in your library. Again, I strongly encourage you to get into doing word studies. These will greatly enhance your understanding of the Word.
3908 lachash (lakh’-ash); from 3907; properly, a whisper, i.e. by implication, (in a good sense) a private prayer, (in a bad one) an incantation; concretely, an amulet: KJV-- charmed, earring, enchantment, orator, prayer.
Compare that to repeating Buddhist prayer wheel prayers or rosaries which Jesus calls vain repetition. (Matthew 6:7) It is also the opposite of flowing public prayers, which bring no reward to the prayer except from men. (Matthew 6:6)
7879 siyach (see’-akh); from 7878; a contemplation; by implication, an utterance: KJV-- babbling, communication, complaint, meditation, prayer, talk.
Ever talk your thoughts aloud to yourself? Although to someone walking in on you it may seem like babbling, you are contemplating issues and trying to find a solution or mediation to a problem. When we take our cares to Jesus we sometimes sound like we are babbling, but we are communicating our heart’s cares to Him. Samuel’s mother was involved in this kind of prayer to have a child and the priest thought she was drunk because only her lips were moving. He thought she was just babbling, but she was pouring out her complaint of her barren womb to God. Praise Him that He heard even if the priest did not. Hmm, what does that say about auricular confession? (I Samuel 1:9-18)
1162 deesis (deh’-ay-sis); from 1189; a petition: KJV-- prayer, request, supplication.
This is simple enough. You are asking for something, but as our study on this one shows much is entailed in our asking.
1783 enteuxis (ent’-yook-sis); from 1793; an interview, i.e. (specially) supplication: KJV-- intercession, prayer.
Here we are interceding for someone and in a sense interviewing God about what He is going to do about the situation.
2171 euche (yoo-khay’); from 2172; properly, a wish, expressed as a petition to God, or in votive obligation: KJV-- prayer, vow.
We are making our petition or plea and at the same time entering into a vow. We need to do this carefully because it is better not to ever vow than to vow and not live up to it. (Ecclesiastes 5:5)
4335 proseuche (pros-yoo-khay’); from 4336; prayer (worship); by implication, an oratory (chapel): KJV-- X pray earnestly, prayer.
This is the prayer we make we are just worshipping God for who He is without wanting anything. We are praising Him. We do not pray in this way often enough.
4336 proseuchomai (pros-yoo’-khom-ahee); from 4314 and 2172; to pray to God, i.e. supplicate, worship: KJV-- pray (X earnestly, for), make prayer.
As earnestly as we pray in worship of who He is, we can also pray for our needs in the same sense worship and earnestness because of who He is.
2470 chalah (khaw-law’); a primitive root [compare 2342, 2470, 2490]; properly, to be rubbed or worn; hence (figuratively) to be weak, sick, afflicted; or (causatively) to grieve, make sick; also to stroke (in flattering), entreat: KJV-- beseech, (be) diseased, (put to) grief, be grieved, (be) grievous, infirmity, intreat, lay to, put to pain, X pray, make prayer, be (fall, make) sick, sore, be sorry, make suit (X supplication), woman in travail, be (become) weak, be wounded.
"Are we weak and heavy laden? Take it to the Lord in prayer." It may be an illness or a spiritual weakness or wound that we are praying about, but we are in grief and beseeching the Lord in sorrow.
6279 `athar (aw-thar’); a primitive root [rather denominative from 6281]; to burn incensein worship, i.e. intercede (reciprocally, listen to prayer): KJV-- intreat, (make) pray (-er).
This can be asking others to pray for us or to intercede for us, or when we listen to someone’s prayer request and go to the Lord on their behalf. Praying is primarily an asking concept. When we say, "Pray tell me what is the secret," we are not worshipping the person. We are asking them to tell us what is going on. "Pray tell me" would be modernized to "I ask you to tell me."