Just what is prayer? If we are going to study a topic it would make sense to have a working definition of the word. Just to say that I am “having a conversation with my Heavenly Father” is nice but it can present some problems, for instance how are we supposed to follow the command in Luke 18:1?
And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;(Luke 18:1)
How could we hope to keep it? What will happen when we stop to eat or sleep, are we in sin for stopping? Would God set us up to fail? If we get into the etymology of the word prayer in the New Testament, we find the word comes from two root words. The first one is pros and means to move towards, by the side of, or near to.[i]
The second word is euchomai which means to make a wish.[ii] When we combine the two words we come up with a definition of “going towards God and making a wish.”
This puts a new light on Luke 18:1. While I might not always be able to speak to God in prayer, I can always be moving towards Him spiritually and emotionally. When we are moving away from God we are backsliding and in sin (if it is lying, sowing discord, etc.) we need to repent and turn around, that is make a 180 degree turn not a 360 degree turn (then we would still be heading in the wrong direction!).
[ii]Strongs Concordance of Greek and Hebrew Words, E-Sword electronic edition, reference number G2172
Excerpt from the booklet Lord, Teach Us to Pray, pg. 7