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[b]Three NT Greek Modes Of Prayer[/b]
[i]by brother Greg[/i]
WHAT IS PRAYER?
Prayer is where the mortal human being meets with the divine, omnipotent God. Prayer is holy ground. Prayer is the greatest resource a Christian has in this life. Prayer is a proven, active and prevailing reality. Prayer is a personal contact with God Himself. Leonard Ravenhill said: “No man is greater than his prayer life.” Using your time with prayer is the chief way to redeem the time on this earth. If you are not praying you are straying. Prayer is the practice of the presence of God. Prayer is the place where pride is abandoned, hope is lifted, and supplication is made. Prayer is the place of admitting our need, of adopting humility, and claiming dependence upon God. There are over 1000 references to prayer in the Holy Scriptures. The Bible starts with prayer and ends in prayer. God communed with Adam in the Garden as the first act of prayer. And we see in the book of revelation the prayer and cry: “Amen, Come, Lord Jesus.” The prayers of the saints is a incense before the throne of God. Prayer can be pleasing before God. Prayer can be answered! We are commanded to have times of secret prayer before God alone. Christ gave the example of much praying in private. There is intercession, prevailing prayer, praying through, all night prayer, rising early to pray, prayer and fasting, bold praying, travailing and prayer. With prayer anything is possible. Prayer reaches beyond our time and touches eternity. With all our praying let us pray with sincerity and earnestness valuing it properly.
Specifically in the New Testament Scriptures there are 3 greek words expressing the action of prayer. Let us closely look at each one to get some insight into this great privilege and commandment of prayer we have been given. The First word for prayer in greek is “proseuchomai” which means to pray to God, supplicate, worship, make prayer, ask. This greek word is a compound word with these two parts:
“Pro” a preposition of direction (suggests that our prayers must be directed towards a specific person). It also suggests a nearness to God, or being in access to His presence.
“Euchomi” means to wish, will to desire.
The idea of “proseuchomai” prayer is that we enter into the presence of God to make our request known directly to Him. Our attention is drawn to the person we are praying more than the request we are making. Praying to God gets our minds and attention directed towards Him. It is entering into His Holy Presence, the very act of it being of conscious importance and the words and requests being secondary. Here are some uses in the New Testament of this greek word:
Luke 5:16 - But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed (proseuchomai).
Luke 6:12 - One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying (proseuchomai) to God.
Luke 9:29 - As he was praying (proseuchomai), the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning.
Act 8:15 - When they arrived, they prayed (proseuchomai) for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit,
1 Timothy 2:8 - I want men everywhere to lift up holy hands in prayer (proseuchomai), without anger or disputing.
James 5:13 - Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray (proseuchomai). Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise.
James 5:17 - Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed (proseuchomai) earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years.
Jude 1:20 - But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray (proseuchomai) in the Holy Spirit.
The Second word for prayer in greek is “parakelo” which means to call or bid. This greek word is a compound word with these two parts:
“para” - near, beside, equal.
“kaleo” - to call or bid, beseech, to call aloud, utter in a loud voice, to receive the name of, receive as a name.
The idea of “parakelo” prayer is to call or bid someone who is on an equal level with us. Our Lord Jesus Christ is on “par” or equal to God thereby He asked the father in this sense. Also Christ became man and the great High Priest for us all so that he could atone and intercede for us. Thereby he is able to model this type of praying to us as when he was on earth. In “parakelo” prayer we are entering into the presence of someone who is equal to us. ie mediator Christ to beseech on behalf of.
Matthew 26:53 - Do you think I cannot call (parakelo) on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels?
Mark 1:40 - A man with leprosy came to him and begged (parakelo) him on his knees, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.”
The Third word for prayer in greek is “deomai” which means to have want to desire, to long for. It comes from a root greek word:
“deo” - to bind, tie, fasten.
The idea of “deomai” prayer is to beg or petition as binding oneself, it implies urgent need. It means that we are
approaching God with an urgent need while offering or binding ourselves as an instrument to be used of God to get the prayer answered.
Matthew 9:38 - Ask (deomai) the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.
Luke 21:36 - Be always on the watch, and pray (deomai) that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.
Acts 8:22 - Repent of this wickedness and pray (deomai) to the Lord. Perhaps he will forgive you for having such a thought in your heart.
2 Corinthians 5:20 - We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore (deomai) you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God.
1 Thessalonians 3:10 - Night and day we pray (deomai) most earnestly that we may see you again and supply what is lacking in your faith.
“DEOMAI” THE KEY TO REVIVAL
The activities of the early church as described in ACts reveals the followers of Christ in a constant revival. Conversions, healings, deliverances and baptisms were daily events. The early disciples wanted revival and they prayed (deomai) for it. The result was the spiritual salvation of multitudes that changed the whole know world in those days essentially “turning it upside down.” Nothing is impossible when people learn to properly pray with sincerity and honesty before a Holy God.
The prophet Jeremiah said: “ You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” It truly is a time to be seeking God with “all” our hearts, this requires desperate, longing, sincere desire after God Himself and following His ways. The term “pray” in the proceeding verses comes from the same Hebrew root that describes the position of a woman in labor, the position Elijah assumed when he prayed for rain (1 Kings 18:42). This is not dealing with the posture of the body, but that of the soul. It is a picture of deep intercession and travail until revival is birthed.
Isaiah 64:1 - Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down, that the mountains would tremble before you!
2 Chronicles 7:14 - If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
Oh how we need such revival praying in our day! “deomai” praying.
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon