The first time that the word "pray"
is found in scripture is in Genesis 20:7. The
English verb "pray" is from the Hebrew word #6419
(pronounced paw-lal'), which means to intreat, judge
or make supplication (Strong's Greek/Hebrew
Dictionary). According to Vine's Expository
Dictionary of Hebrew words, the word "palal" means
to intervene, mediate, judge. Vine's goes on
"The first occurrence of palal in the Old
Testament is in Genesis 20:7, where
the reflexive or reciprocal form of the verb
expresses the idea of "interceding for, prayer
in behalf of": "...he shall pray for thee...."
Such intercessory praying is frequent in the Old
Testament: Moses "prays" for the people's
deliverance from the fiery serpents (Numbers
21:7); he "prays" for Aaron (Deuteronomy
9:20); and Samuel "intercedes"
continually for Israel (1 Samuel 12:23). Prayer
is directed not only toward Yahweh but toward
pagan idols as well (Isaiah 44:7).
Sometimes prayer is made to Yahweh that He would
act against an enemy: "That which thou hast
prayed to me against Sennacherib king of Assyria
I have heard" (2 Kings 19:20)."
"Just why this verb form is used to express
the act of praying is not completely clear.
Since this verb form points back to the subject,
in a reflexive sense, perhaps it emphasizes the
part which the person praying has in his
prayers. Also, since the verb form can have a
reciprocal meaning between subject and object,
it may emphasize the fact that prayer is
basically communication, which always has to be
two-way in order to be real. (from Vine's
Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words -
Copyright (C) 1985, Thomas Nelson Publishers)
Although Genesis 20:7 is the first time that
"palal" is recorded, it is in Genesis 4:26 that men began
to "call upon the name of the Lord;" which is
another way to express prayer to God or entreating
The first time the word prayer (noun) is found in
scripture is in 1 Kings 8:28. The English noun
"prayer" is from the Hebrew word #8605
(pronounced tef-il-law') which means intercession or
According to Vine's Expository Dictionary, the
Hebrew word "palal" expresses the idea of: (give the
best answer below)
- Interceding for someone.
- Prayer in behalf of someone.