Ephesians 6:18 – Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints–
The most common word translated prayer in the New Testament is the word proseuche. This particular word in its various forms was used 127 times in the New Testament.
The word proseuche is a compound of the words pros and euche. The word pro is preposition that means toward, and it can denote a sense of closeness. The word pro as used in the above scripture portrays the meaning close, up-front, intimate contact with someone else.
The word euche is an old Greek word that describes a wish, desire, prayer, or vow. You should be aware that Paul was writing to a people that are culturally Greek so he used the terms they understood. The word euche was originally used to depict a person who made some kind of vow to God because of some need or desire in their life. This person would vow to give something of great value to God in exchange for a favourable answer to prayer. A perfect illustration is the story of Hannah, the mother of Samuel in the bible.
In the Greek culture, before prayer was verbalised and offered to God, an altar was set up and thanksgiving was offered on that altar. Such offering of praise and thanksgiving are called votive offerings (from the word vow). These votive offerings were similar to a pledge. The person would promise that once his prayer has been answered, he would be back to give additional thanksgiving to God. This is done in a serious and grandiose manner outwardly demonstrating a thankful heart.
All the above is included in the background of the proseuche. This tells us several important things about prayer. First, it tells us that prayer brings us face to face into close contact with God. Prayer is more than a mechanical act or a formula to follow; it is a vehicle to bring us to a place whereby we may enjoy a close, intimate relationship with God.
Secondly, this indicates that sacrifice is also associated with this word for “prayer”. It connotes an individual who desire to see his prayer answered so desperately that he was willing to surrender everything he owns in exchange for answered prayer. Clearly, this describes an altar of sacrifice and consecration in prayer whereby a person’s life is yielded entirely to God.
Although the Holy Spirit may show us areas that need to be surrendered to His sanctifying power, He will never forcefully take anything from us. Proseuche, tells of a place of decision, a place of consecration, an altar where we freely vow to give our lives to God in exchange for His life. Because proseuche carries the meaning of surrender and sacrifice, we can know that God obviously desires to do more than merely bless us, He wants to change us! He wants us to come to a place of consecration where we meet with Him face to face and surrender every area of our lives to Him, and in exchange, we are touched and changed by His power and presence.
Thanksgiving is also a vital part of this common word for prayer ‘proseuche’. This implies that genuine prayer offered in faith, will include thanksgiving to God in advance for hearing and answering the prayer. This means that when we come to God our father in prayer, it is important that we never stop short of thanking Him for answering our prayers and requests before we ever see the answers manifested.
For further Study
Psalm 55:17, Philippians 4:6
Personal declaration for the day
Heavenly father, from now onwards anytime I come to you in prayer I come not for things but firstly to fellowship with you in order to strengthen my relationship with you. I know in your presence there is fullness of joy and at your right hand there are pleasures forever.
Questions for you to reflect on
How has your understanding of prayer been impacted by the above exposition?
What steps do you intend to take with the new information you have acquired?