Prayer Is converse with God; the intercourse of the soul with God, not in contemplation or meditation, but in direct address to him. Prayer may be oral or mental, occasional or constant, ejaculatory or formal. It is a "beseeching the Lord" (Exo 32:11); "pouring out the soul before the Lord" (Sa1 1:15); "praying and crying to heaven" (Ch2 32:20); "seeking unto God and making supplication" (Job 8:5); "drawing near to God" (Psa 73:28); "bowing the knees" (Eph 3:14). Prayer presupposes a belief in the personality of God, his ability and willingness to hold intercourse with us, his personal control of all things and of all his creatures and all their actions. Acceptable prayer must be sincere (Heb 10:22), offered with reverence and godly fear, with a humble sense of our own insignificance as creatures and of our own unworthiness as sinners, with earnest importunity, and with unhesitating submission to the divine will. Prayer must also be offered in the faith that God is, and is the hearer and answerer of prayer, and that he will fulfill his word, "Ask, and ye shall receive" (Mat 7:7, Mat 7:8; Mat 21:22; Mar 11:24; Joh 14:13, Joh 14:14), and in the name of Christ (Joh 16:23, Joh 16:24; Joh 15:16; Eph 2:18; Eph 5:20; Col 3:17; Pe1 2:5). Prayer is of different kinds, secret (Mat 6:6); social, as family prayers, and in social worship; and public, in the service of the sanctuary. Intercessory prayer is enjoined (Num 6:23; Job 42:8; Isa 62:6; Psa 122:6; Ti1 2:1; Jam 5:14), and there are many instances on record of answers having been given to such prayers, e.g., of Abraham (Gen 17:18, Gen 17:20; Gen 18:23; Gen 20:7, Gen 20:17, Gen 20:18), of Moses for Pharaoh (Exo 8:12, Exo 8:13, Exo 8:30, Exo 8:31; Exo 9:33), for the Israelites (Exo 17:11, Exo 17:13; Exo 32:11, Exo 32:31; Num 21:7, Num 21:8; Deu 9:18, Deu 9:19, Deu 9:25), for Miriam (Num 12:13), for Aaron (Deu 9:20), of Samuel (Sa1 7:5), of Solomon (1 Kings 8; 2 Chr. 6), Elijah (Kg1 17:20), Elisha (Kg2 4:33), Isaiah (2 Kings 19), Jeremiah (Jer 42:2), Peter (Act 9:40), the church (Act 12:5), Paul (Act 28:8). No rules are anywhere in Scripture laid down for the manner of prayer or the attitude to be assumed by the suppliant. There is mention made of kneeling in prayer (Kg1 8:54; Ch2 6:13; Psa 95:6; Isa 45:23; Luk 22:41; Act 7:60; Act 9:40; Eph 3:14, etc.); of bowing and falling prostrate (Gen 24:26, Gen 24:52; Exo 4:31; Exo 12:27; Mat 26:39; Mar 14:35, etc.); of spreading out the hands (Kg1 8:22, Kg1 8:38, Kg1 8:54; Psa 28:2; Psa 63:4; Psa 88:9; Ti1 2:8, etc.); and of standing (Sa1 1:26; Kg1 8:14, Kg1 8:55; Ch2 20:9; Mar 11:25; Luk 18:11, Luk 18:13). If we except the "Lord's Prayer" (Mat 6:9), which is, however, rather a model or pattern of prayer than a set prayer to be offered up, we have no special form of prayer for general use given us in Scripture. Prayer is frequently enjoined in Scripture (Exo 22:23, Exo 22:27; Kg1 3:5; Ch2 7:14; Psa 37:4; Isa 55:6; Joe 2:32; Eze 36:37, etc.), and we have very many testimonies that it has been answered (Psa 3:4; Psa 4:1; Psa 6:8; Psa 18:6; Psa 28:6; Psa 30:2; Psa 34:4; Psa 118:5; Jam 5:16, etc.). "Abraham's servant prayed to God, and God directed him to the person who should be wife to his master's son and heir (Gen 24:10). "Jacob prayed to God, and God inclined the heart of his irritated brother, so that they met in peace and friendship (Gen 32:24; Gen 33:1). "Samson prayed to God, and God showed him a well where he quenched his burning thirst, and so lived to judge Israel (Jdg 15:18). "David prayed, and God defeated the counsel of Ahithophel (Sa2 15:31; Sa2 16:20; Sa2 17:14). "Daniel prayed, and God enabled him both to tell Nebuchadnezzar his dream and to give the interpretation of it (Dan 2:16). "Nehemiah prayed, and God inclined the heart of the king of Persia to grant him leave of absence to visit and rebuild Jerusalem (Neh 1:11; Neh 2:1). "Esther and Mordecai prayed, and God defeated the purpose of Haman, and saved the Jews from destruction (Est 4:15; Est 6:7, Est 6:8). "The believers in Jerusalem prayed, and God opened the prison doors and set Peter at liberty, when Herod had resolved upon his death (Act 12:1). "Paul prayed that the thorn in the flesh might be removed, and his prayer brought a large increase of spiritual strength, while the thorn perhaps remained (Co2 12:7). "Prayer is like the dove that Noah sent forth, which blessed him not only when it returned with an olive-leaf in its mouth, but when it never returned at all." Robinson's Job.
Predestination This word is properly used only with reference to God's plan or purpose of salvation. The Greek word rendered "predestinate" is found only in these six passages, Act 4:28; Rom 8:29, Rom 8:30; Co1 2:7; Eph 1:5, Eph 1:11; and in all of them it has the same meaning. They teach that the eternal, sovereign, immutable, and unconditional decree or "determinate purpose" of God governs all events. This doctrine of predestination or election is beset with many difficulties. It belongs to the "secret things" of God. But if we take the revealed word of God as our guide, we must accept this doctrine with all its mysteriousness, and settle all our questionings in the humble, devout acknowledgment, "Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight." For the teaching of Scripture on this subject let the following passages be examined in addition to those referred to above; Gen 21:12; Exo 9:16; Exo 33:19; Deu 10:15; Deu 32:8; Jos 11:20; Sa1 12:22; Ch2 6:6; Psa 33:12; Psa 65:4; Psa 78:68; Psa 135:4; Isa 41:1; Jer 1:5; Mar 13:20; Luk 22:22; Joh 6:37; Joh 15:16; Joh 17:2, Joh 17:6, Joh 17:9; Act 2:28; Act 3:18; Act 4:28; Act 13:48; Act 17:26; Rom 9:11, Rom 9:18, Rom 9:21; Rom 11:5; Eph 3:11; Th1 1:4; Th2 2:13; Ti2 1:9; Tit 1:2; Pe1 1:2. (See DECREES OF GOD; ELECTION.) Hodge has well remarked that, "rightly understood, this doctrine (1.) exalts the majesty and absolute sovereignty of God, while it illustrates the riches of his free grace and his just displeasure with sin. (2.) It enforces upon us the essential truth that salvation is entirely of grace. That no one can either complain if passed over, or boast himself if saved. (3.) It brings the inquirer to absolute self-despair and the cordial embrace of the free offer of Christ. (4.) In the case of the believer who has the witness in himself, this doctrine at once deepens his humility and elevates his confidence to the full assurance of hope" (Outlines).
Presidents Three presidents are mentioned, of whom Daniel was the first (Dan 6:2). The name in the original is sarkhin, probably a Persian word meaning perfects or ministers.
Priest The Heb. kohen , Gr. hierus , Lat. sacerdos , always denote one who offers sacrifices. At first every man was his own priest, and presented his own sacrifices before God. Afterwards that office devolved on the head of the family, as in the cases of Noah (Gen 8:20), Abraham (Gen 12:7; Gen 13:4), Isaac (Gen 26:25), Jacob (Gen 31:54), and Job (Job 1:5). The name first occurs as applied to Melchizedek (Gen 14:18). Under the Levitical arrangements the office of the priesthood was limited to the tribe of Levi, and to only one family of that tribe, the family of Aaron. Certain laws respecting the qualifications of priests are given in Lev 21:16. There are ordinances also regarding the priests' dress (Exo 28:40) and the manner of their consecration to the office (Ex. 29:1-37). Their duties were manifold (Exo 27:20, Exo 27:21; Exo 29:38; Lev 6:12; Lev 10:11; Lev 24:8; Num 10:1; Deu 17:8; Deu 33:10; Mal 2:7). They represented the people before God, and offered the various sacrifices prescribed in the law. In the time of David the priests were divided into twenty-four courses or classes (Ch1 24:7). This number was retained after the Captivity (Ezr 2:36; Neh 7:39). "The priests were not distributed over the country, but lived together in certain cities [forty-eight in number, of which six were cities of refuge, q.v.], which had been assigned to their use. From thence they went up by turns to minister in the temple at Jerusalem. Thus the religious instruction of the people in the country generally was left to the heads of families, until the establishment of synagogues, an event which did not take place till the return from the Captivity, and which was the main source of the freedom from idolatry that became as marked a feature of the Jewish people thenceforward as its practice had been hitherto their great national sin." The whole priestly system of the Jews was typical. It was a shadow of which the body is Christ. The priests all prefigured the great Priest who offered "one sacrifice for sins" "once for all" (Heb 10:10, Heb 10:12). There is now no human priesthood. (See Heb 1:1 and throughout.) The term "priest" is indeed applied to believers (Pe1 2:9; Rev 1:6), but in these cases it implies no sacerdotal functions. All true believers are now "kings and priests unto God." As priests they have free access into the holiest of all, and offer up the sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving, and the sacrifices of grateful service from day to day.
Prince The title generally applied to the chief men of the state. The "princes of the provinces" (Kg1 20:14) were the governors or lord-lieutenants of the provinces. So also the "princes" mentioned in Dan 6:1, Dan 6:3, Dan 6:4, Dan 6:6, Dan 6:7 were the officers who administered the affairs of the provinces; the "satraps" (as rendered in R.V.). These are also called "lieutenants" (Est 3:12; Est 8:9; R.V., "satraps"). The promised Saviour is called by Daniel (Dan 9:25) "Messiah the Prince" (Heb. nagid ); compare Act 3:15; Act 5:31. The angel Micheal is called (Dan 12:1) a "prince" (Heb. sar , whence "Sarah," the "princes").
Priscilla The wife of Aquila (Act 18:2), who is never mentioned without her. Her name sometimes takes the precedence of his (Rom 16:3; Ti2 4:19). She took part with Aquila (q.v.) in instructing Apollos (Act 18:26).
Prison The first occasion on which we read of a prison is in the history of Joseph in Egypt. Then Potiphar, "Joseph's master, took him, and put him into the prison, a place where the king's prisoners were bound" (Gen 39:20). The Heb. word here used ( sohar ) means properly a round tower or fortress. It seems to have been a part of Potiphar's house, a place in which state prisoners were kept. The Mosaic law made no provision for imprisonment as a punishment. In the wilderness two persons were "put in ward" (Lev 24:12; Num 15:34), but it was only till the mind of God concerning them should be ascertained. Prisons and prisoners are mentioned in the book of Psalms (Psa 69:33; Psa 79:11; Psa 142:7). Samson was confined in a Philistine prison (Jdg 16:21, Jdg 16:25). In the subsequent history of Israel frequent references are made to prisons (Kg1 22:27; Kg2 17:4; Kg2 25:27, Kg2 25:29; Ch2 16:10; Isa 42:7; Jer 32:2). Prisons seem to have been common in New Testament times (Mat 11:2; Mat 25:36, Mat 25:43). The apostles were put into the "common prison" at the instance of the Jewish council (Act 5:18, Act 5:23; Act 8:3); and at Philippi Paul and Silas were thrust into the "inner prison" (Act 16:24; compare Act 4:3; Act 12:4, Act 12:5).
Prophecy Or prediction, was one of the functions of the prophet. It has been defined as a "miracle of knowledge, a declaration or description or representation of something future, beyond the power of human sagacity to foresee, discern, or conjecture." (See PROPHET.) The great prediction which runs like a golden thread through the whole contents of the Old Testament is that regarding the coming and work of the Messiah; and the great use of prophecy was to perpetuate faith in his coming, and to prepare the world for that event. But there are many subordinate and intermediate prophecies also which hold an important place in the great chain of events which illustrate the sovereignty and all-wise overruling providence of God. Then there are many prophecies regarding the Jewish nation, its founder Abraham (Gen 12:1; Gen 13:16; Gen 15:5; Gen 17:2, Gen 17:4, etc.), and his posterity, Isaac and Jacob and their descendants (Gen 12:7; Gen 13:14, Gen 13:15, Gen 13:17; Gen 15:18; Exo 3:8, Exo 3:17), which have all been fulfilled. The twenty-eighth chapter of Deuteronomy contains a series of predictions which are even now in the present day being fulfilled. In the writings of the prophets Isaiah (Isa 2:18), Jeremiah (Jer 27:3; Jer 29:11), Ezekiel (Eze 5:12; 8), Daniel (Dan. 8; Dan 9:26, Dan 9:27), Hosea (Hos 9:17), there are also many prophecies regarding the events which were to befall that people. There is in like manner a large number of prophecies relating to those nations with which the Jews came into contact, as Tyre (Eze 26:3, Eze 26:14), Egypt (Eze 29:10, Eze 29:15; Eze 30:6, Eze 30:12, Eze 30:13), Ethiopia (Nah 3:8), Nineveh (Nah 1:10; Nah 2:8; Nah 3:17), Babylon (Isa 13:4; Jer 51:7; Isa 44:27; Jer 50:38; Jer 51:36, Jer 51:39, Jer 51:57), the land of the Philistines (Jer 47:4; Eze 25:15; Amo 1:6; Zep 2:4; Zac 9:5), and of the four great monarchies (Dan 2:39, Dan 2:40; Dan 7:1, Dan 8:1, Dan 9:1). But the great body of Old Testament prophecy relates directly to the advent of the Messiah, beginning with Gen 3:15, the first great promise, and extending in ever-increasing fulness and clearness all through to the very close of the canon. The Messianic prophecies are too numerous to be quoted. "To him gave all the prophets witness." (Compare Mic 5:2; Hag 2:6; Isa 7:14; Isa 9:6, Isa 9:7; Isa 11:1, Isa 11:2; Isa 53:1; Isa 60:10, Isa 60:13; Psa 16:11; Psa 68:18.) Many predictions also were delivered by Jesus and his apostles. Those of Christ were very numerous. (Compare Mat 10:23, Mat 10:24; Mat 11:23; Mat 19:28; Mat 21:43, Mat 21:44; 24; 25:31-46; 26:17-35, Mat 26:46, Mat 26:64; Mar 9:1; Mar 10:30; 13; Mar 11:1, Mar 11:14; 14:12-31, Mar 14:42, Mar 14:62; Mar 16:17, etc.)
Prophet (Heb. nabi , from a root meaning "to bubble forth, as from a fountain," hence "to utter", compare Psa 45:1). This Hebrew word is the first and the most generally used for a prophet. In the time of Samuel another word, ro'eh , "seer", began to be used (Sa1 9:9). It occurs seven times in reference to Samuel. Afterwards another word, hozeh , "seer" (Sa2 24:11), was employed. In Ch1 29:29 all these three words are used: "Samuel the seer ( ro'eh ), Nathan the prophet ( nabi' ), Gad the seer" ( hozeh ). In Jos 13:22 Balaam is called (Heb.) a kosem = "diviner," a word used only of a false prophet. The "prophet" proclaimed the message given to him, as the "seer" beheld the vision of God. (See Num 12:6, Num 12:8.) Thus a prophet was a spokesman for God; he spake in God's name and by his authority (Exo 7:1). He is the mouth by which God speaks to men (Jer 1:9; Isa 51:16), and hence what the prophet says is not of man but of God (Pe2 1:20, Pe2 1:21; compare Heb 3:7; Act 4:25; Act 28:25). Prophets were the immediate organs of God for the communication of his mind and will to men (Deu 18:18, Deu 18:19). The whole Word of God may in this general sense be spoken of as prophetic, inasmuch as it was written by men who received the revelation they communicated from God, no matter what its nature might be. The foretelling of future events was not a necessary but only an incidental part of the prophetic office. The great task assigned to the prophets whom God raised up among the people was "to correct moral and religious abuses, to proclaim the great moral and religious truths which are connected with the character of God, and which lie at the foundation of his government." Any one being a spokesman for God to man might thus be called a prophet. Thus Enoch, Abraham, and the patriarchs, as bearers of God's message (Gen 20:7; Exo 7:1; Psa 105:15), as also Moses (Deu 18:15; Deu 34:10; Hos 12:13), are ranked among the prophets. The seventy elders of Israel (Num 11:16), "when the spirit rested upon them, prophesied;" Asaph and Jeduthun "prophesied with a harp" (Ch1 25:3). Miriam and Deborah were prophetesses (Exo 15:20; Jdg 4:4). The title thus has a general application to all who have messages from God to men. But while the prophetic gift was thus exercised from the beginning, the prophetical order as such began with Samuel. Colleges, "schools of the prophets", were instituted for the training of prophets, who were constituted, a distinct order (Sa1 19:18; Kg2 2:3, Kg2 2:15; Kg2 4:38), which continued to the close of the Old Testament. Such "schools" were established at Ramah, Bethel, Gilgal, Gibeah, and Jericho. The "sons" or "disciples" of the prophets were young men (Kg2 5:22; Kg2 9:1, Kg2 9:4) who lived together at these different "schools" (Kg2 4:38). These young men were taught not only the rudiments of secular knowledge, but they were brought up to exercise the office of prophet, "to preach pure morality and the heart-felt worship of Jehovah, and to act along and coordinately with the priesthood and monarchy in guiding the state aright and checking all attempts at illegality and tyranny." In New Testament times the prophetical office was continued. Our Lord is frequently spoken of as a prophet (Luk 13:33; Luk 24:19). He was and is the great Prophet of the Church. There was also in the Church a distinct order of prophets (Co1 12:28; Eph 2:20; Eph 3:5), who made new revelations from God. They differed from the "teacher," whose office it was to impart truths already revealed. Of the Old Testament prophets there are sixteen, whose prophecies form part of the inspired canon. These are divided into four groups: (1.) The prophets of the northern kingdom (Israel), viz., Hosea, Amos, Joel, Jonah. (2.) The prophets of Judah, viz., Isaiah, Jeremiah, Obadiah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah. (3.) The prophets of Captivity, viz., Ezekiel and Daniel. (4.) The prophets of the Restoration, viz., Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi.
Propitiation That by which God is rendered propitious, i.e., by which it becomes consistent with his character and government to pardon and bless the sinner. The propitiation does not procure his love or make him loving; it only renders it consistent for him to exercise his love towards sinners. In Rom 3:25 and Heb 9:5 (A.V., "mercy-seat") the Greek word hilasterion is used. It is the word employed by the LXX. translators in Exo 25:17 and elsewhere as the equivalent for the Hebrew kapporeth , which means "covering," and is used of the lid of the ark of the covenant (Exo 25:21; Exo 30:6). This Greek word ( hilasterion ) came to denote not only the mercy-seat or lid of the ark, but also propitiation or reconciliation by blood. On the great day of atonement the high priest carried the blood of the sacrifice he offered for all the people within the veil and sprinkled with it the "mercy-seat," and so made propitiation. In Jo1 2:2; Jo1 4:10, Christ is called the "propitiation for our sins." Here a different Greek word is used ( hilasmos ). Christ is "the propitiation," because by his becoming our substitute and assuming our obligations he expiated our guilt, covered it, by the vicarious punishment which he endured. (Compare Heb 2:17, where the expression "make reconciliation" of the A.V. is more correctly in the R.V. "make propitiation.")