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Its root meaning is to be in want or need and this expresses one of the basic
conceptions of prayer, a consciousness, on the part of the believer, of his weakness and
insufficiency, and a desire to come into living touch with the Almighty One Who
declared, "All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth" (Matt. 28: 18).
Euchomai, to wish strongly, occurs 8 times and is translated both "pray" and "wish".
Its compound proseuchomai is of more frequent occurrence, 87 times to be exact, 83 of
which are translated "pray". Here prayer is the expression of a strong desire to the Lord,
either personal or in respect of others.
Erotao to interrogate, to ask. Out of 58 occurrences in the N.T., 14 times the word is
"It implies familiarity if not equality; hence never used of our prayers to God, while it
is used of Christ's prayers to the Father" (John 14: 16; 16: 26; 17: 9, 15, 20).
(Critical Lexicon Concordance to N.T., Bullinger).
Hence it is the word that is consistently used in the Gospel of John which stresses the
Parakaleo, to call beside or near, in order that the person concerned may do
something. The word is used 110 times in the N.T. Three times it is rendered "entreat",
six times "pray" and 43 times "beseech". Here again the conception behind the word is
one of need and the calling to our side of the Lord to help and strengthen. It comes over
into our language as paraclete and is applied to the Holy Spirit (John 14: 16 Comforter)
and to the Lord Jesus Christ (I John 2: 1 Advocate).
To the foregoing words must be added the Greek word enteuxis = intercession. The
word means a falling in with or coming together and then to intercede, specially with
relation to the needs of others. This is perhaps the highest conception of prayer, where
self is relegated to the background and the welfare of others is put first and foremost.
In I Tim. 2: 1 the Apostle says, "I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications
(deesis from deomai) prayers (proseuche from proseuchomai) intercessions (enteuxis)
and giving of thanks (eucharistia) be made for all men". This covers prayer in a wide
sense and gives us an indication what our prayer life should be like.
At this juncture we may well pause to ask ourselves, What is the purpose behind
prayer? Is it a means of extracting something from God that He would otherwise by
unwilling to give? Or is it its effect upon us in some way?
As we survey the evangelical world, we find a multitude of conceptions existing
among believers. Some talk of "prayer warfare". Are we justified in regarding prayer as
an offensive weapon? The answer to these and all other spiritual problems is only found
within the range of inspired Scripture. Ephesians chapter 6: is the passage generally