A Word Study on ‘PRAY’

 Genesis 12:13 Say, I pray thee, thou art my sister: that it may be well with me for thy sake; and my soul shall live because of thee.


Genesis 13:8 And Abram said unto Lot, Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen; for we be brethren. {brethren: Heb. men brethren}

Genesis 13:9 Is not the whole land before thee? separate thyself, I pray thee, from me: if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left.

Genesis 16:2 And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, the LORD hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai. {obtain…: Heb. be built by her}

Genesis 18:3 And said, My Lord, if now I have found favour in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant:

Genesis 18:4 Let a little water, I pray you, be fetched, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree:

Genesis 19:2 And he said, Behold now, my lords, turn in, I pray you, into your servant’s house, and tarry all night, and wash your feet, and ye shall rise up early, and go on your ways. And they said, Nay; but we will abide in the street all night.


Genesis 19:7 And said, I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly.

Genesis 19:8 Behold now, I have two daughters which have not known man; let me, I pray you, bring them out unto you, and do ye to them as is good in your eyes: only unto these men do nothing; for therefore came they under the shadow of my roof.

This word pray is ‘na’ in Hebrew and is a primitive particle of incitement and entreaty, which may usually be rendered: “I pray,” “now,” or “then”; added mostly to verbs (in the Imperative or Future), or to interjections, occasionally to an adverb or conjunction:–I beseech (pray) thee (you), go to, now, oh.

Genesis 20:7 Now therefore restore the man his wife; for he is a prophet, and he shall pray for thee, and thou shalt live: and if thou restore her not, know thou that thou shalt surely die, thou, and all that are thine.

In this scripture the word is different because instead of pray being between two people, now a prophet is going to do the praying. The word in Hebrew is ‘palal’, a primitive root; to judge (officially or mentally); by extension, to intercede, pray:–intreat, judge(-ment), (make) pray(-er, -ing), make supplication.


Genesis 23:13 And he spake unto Ephron in the audience of the people of the land, saying, But if thou wilt give it, I pray thee, hear me: I will give thee money for the field; take it of me, and I will bury my dead there.

This word or combination of the wording ‘I pray thee’ is even different from ‘na’.   This Hebrew word or wording is ‘luw’ or ‘lu’ {loo}; or luw {loo}; a conditional particle; if; by implication (interj. as a wish) would that!:–if (haply), peradventure, I pray thee, though, I would, would Elohim (that).

This is Abraham here, attempting to purchase a plot of land for a burial site. Abraham is trying to get the attention of Ephron to listen to him. He is still beseeching but in a different way because he has verbalized that he wants Ephron to listen , pay attention too him.

Genesis 24:12 And he said, O LORD Elohim of my master Abraham, I pray thee, send me good speed this day, and shew kindness unto my master Abraham.

This scripture is in the passage where the servant of Abraham has been sent on a mission to inquire of a wife for his son. The servant is calling upon the Elohim of Abraham. This combination of wording, ‘I pray thee send’ is also a besseching, but now it is directed to Yahwey to do something in response to the servan’ts petition on behalf on his master Abraham. He is calling upon Elohim to show favor.


The word in Hebrew is ‘lu’ , plural (but always as singular) of an unused noun (paneh {paw-neh’}; from 6437); the face (as the part that turns); used in a great variety of applications (literally and figuratively); also (with prepositional prefix) as a preposition (before, etc.):–+ accept, a-(be- )fore(-time), against, anger, X as (long as), at, + battle, + because (of), + beseech, countenance, edge, + employ, endure, + enquire, face, favour, fear of, for, forefront(-part), form(-er time, -ward), from, front, heaviness, X him(-self), + honourable, + impudent, + in, it, look(-eth) (- s), X me, + meet, X more than, mouth, of, off, (of) old (time), X on, open, + out of, over against, the partial, person, + please, presence, propect, was purposed, by reason of, + regard, right forth, + serve, X shewbread, sight, state, straight, + street, X thee, X them(-selves), through (+ – out), till, time(-s) past, (un-)to(-ward), + upon, upside (+ down), with(- in, + -stand), X ye, X you.

Job 21:15 What is the Almighty, that we should serve him? and what profit should we have, if we pray unto him?

In this passage we find the word pray to be different as well. Job is responding to Zofar’s (The Naameethite} speech. The word for pray here in Hebrew is ‘paga’, pronounced paw-gah’; a primitive root; to impinge, by accident or violence, or (figuratively) by importunity:–come (betwixt), cause to entreat, fall (upon), make intercession, intercessor, intreat, lay, light (upon), meet (together), pray, reach, run. Job is asking why do the sinful ones gain what they gain and what do they get out of asking Yahwey for anything. Sounds like to me that Job is questioning what will be gained by their calling on Yahwey to act?

Job 33:26 He shall pray unto Elohim, and he will be favourable unto him: and he shall see his face with joy: for he will render unto man his righteousness.

In this passage the word pray in Hebrew is `athar’, pronounced aw-thar’, a primitive root (rather denominative from 6281); to burn incense in worship, i.e. intercede (reciprocally, listen to prayer):–intreat, (make) pray(-er).

Elihu is telling Job that once a body is on its way to death, it can be revived again if Yahwey decides to allow it to be so and that body will be saved because of a ransom being put upon that one’s life.   Elihu is saying that worship can be restorative to the body because of the favor of Yahwey Who has heard a petition of interceding worship. Yahwey can do this if He decides to.

Psalm 55:17 Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and He shall hear my voice.

This Hebrew word is ‘siyach’, pronounced see’-akh . It is a primitive root; to ponder, i.e. (by implication) converse (with oneself, and hence, aloud) or (transitively) utter:– commune, complain, declare, meditate, muse, pray, speak, talk (with).

Wow, this is cool because this word is something that I do more often than anything I do in my relationship. I am a ponder or for sure. I will wrap myself around something I have read in the scriptures like a blanket and sit on it for hours or days and sometimes weeks until either I gather more evidence to support my findings or I just settle in knowing that He will show me somewhere down the road when I know He is ready. This particular verse is one I know by melody.

Psalm 122:6 ¶ Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee.

This Hebrew word is ‘sha’al’, pronounced shaw-al’ or shael {shaw-ale’}; a primitive root; to inquire; by implication, to request; by extension, to demand:–ask (counsel, on), beg, borrow, lay to charge, consult, demand, desire, X earnestly, enquire, + greet, obtain leave, lend, pray, request, require, + salute, X straitly, X surely, wish. This word sha’al, seems to have a more urgent and forceful tone to it. I suppose that since this scripture is often thought of as a command (And I agree with that) , that perhaps this may be why it has a forceful tone to it. Hmmm. Interesting!

Zechariah 7:2 When they had sent unto the house of God Sherezer and Regemmelech, and their men, to pray before the LORD,

This Hebrew word for pray is ‘chalah’, pronounced 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:–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.

These folks had been sent by the priest’s to inquire if they should still deny themselves as they had for so many years. They had wept for their sins, and separated themselves from food and ordinary recreations and other work related engagements so that they might spend the day in devotions; and now they wanted to know if they should continue to deny themselves all that they had. They probably did not like to hear the rebuke that came from Yah through the lips of Zechariah. Yahwey replied that they had done all that they had for naught because He did not ask them too. He had told them to obey the voice of the LORD and they came up with this fasting in order to hopefully appease the LORD. He told them that in all their crying out to Him, He did not hear them. Evidently they were grieving in vain. That is interesting because it tells me that if we are not walking in complete obedience, He will not listen to our petitions no matter how great that they seem to appear to us. Hmmm. In order to be an effective witness, our personal life needs to be in His order.

Well I just finished my personal word study into the Hebrew descriptive of the word ‘pray’ and found nine all together in the first part of the testament. They are: ‘chalah’, ‘sha’al’, ‘siyach’, `athar’, ‘paga’, ‘lu’, ‘luw’ (Which perhaps should have been ‘luh’), ‘palal’ and ‘na’ .

A M A Z I N G !




About eudoranachand

A Spirit filled disciple who continually seeks His kingdom and His righteousness.
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