Hi John,
Just read E. M. Bounds, “Power Through Prayer.” The basic theme is effects of hasty prayers vs. time spent with God, etc. Have questions. My husband always said prayer is listening to and talking to God. Bounds says much time in prayer is needed to bring revival. What exactly does the word prayer mean? Does time spent with God in prayer include meditational reading of the Word, praise, thanksgiving, or does it begin after this? Often It seems people refer to prayer in the context of asking. I hear the comment, “Let’s go to our knees in prayer.”



Hello Joyce,

Thanks for your question regarding prayer. Many people wonder the same. If we go by how people use the word prayer today, the word has a broad meaning. In Scripture, however, the meaning is more specific.

In contemporary use, the term may accommodate aspects such as confession, thanksgiving, praise, supplication, petition, and so forth. As you mentioned, there is the idea of God speaking to us and our communicating with Him. But perhaps all of this could be better included in the word communion. In communion or fellowship with God, He speaks to us through His Word and His Spirit and we communicate with Him in a variety of ways, like praise, thanksgiving, petition, and so on.

For the most part, the word prayer is used in the Bible with the simple meaning of asking. The old English “I pray you,” means “I ask you.” John R. Rice entitled his book on the subject, Prayer: Asking and Receiving, and he demonstrates from many passages in the Word that the essence of prayer is asking and the answer is receiving what has been asked of God.

Ultimately, we want all that we’ve mentioned here—meditation on the Word, the Spirit making truth come alive, adoration, confession, thanksgiving, praise, and prayer. But that’s the point. Prayer is asking. For those seeking God’s reviving presence, all of these will be a part of the journey, yet, the other matters will lead us to cry out, to ask, in prayer.


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