Definition of prayer in US English:

prayer

noun

  • 1A solemn request for help or expression of thanks addressed to God or an object of worship.

    ‘I'll say a prayer for him’
    ‘a commitment to a life of holiness through prayer and Bible-reading’
    • ‘He muttered a quick prayer to God, asking him for forgiveness.’
    • ‘A remote, retroactive intercessory prayer was said for the well being and full recovery of the intervention group.’
    • ‘The conclusion that is drawn later is that remote, retroactive intercessory prayer is effective.’
    • ‘I take in shattered breaths, gathering all the strength I need, uttering a silent prayer to God.’
    • ‘The core of the Muslim liturgy is the five obligatory daily prayers, whether performed alone or in congregation.’
    • ‘Just before the final dive into the Pacific Ocean, she is heard leading the sinner's prayer for salvation.’
    • ‘God answers our prayers because by addressing them to Him we acknowledge His Lordship and power.’
    • ‘Jillian said a silent prayer to the gods of all small percussionists.’
    • ‘Human beings are addressing God in prayers for help against the inducements of the devil.’
    • ‘At each shrine you pause, and you say some prayers and you greet each deity.’
    • ‘I may be a sinner, but the sinner whom these prayers were describing was not me.’
    • ‘The milder and more beneficent forces of nature were addressed as female deities and invoked with prayers.’
    • ‘Sincere prayer also furthers the glorification of God, the goal of all creation.’
    • ‘Anne prayed her prayer of thanks to the Lord for this gracious meal and heard Luke praying with her.’
    • ‘There are Shinto prayers and Shinto rituals, but the doctrine is minimal.’
    • ‘He fell to his knees, hands clasped in a prayer of thanksgiving.’
    • ‘So I am humbly requesting whatever prayers, good vibes and help you can muster.’
    • ‘The church also offers intercessory prayers for public authorities, both ecclesiastical and political.’
    • ‘He concludes with a section on famous prayers and another of prayers by the famous.’
    • ‘Helen closed the door behind the man, and said a silent prayer of thanks.’
    invocation, intercession, devotion
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1prayers A religious service, especially a regular one, at which people gather in order to pray together.
      ‘500 people were detained as they attended Friday prayers’
      • ‘He refused to transact business on Sundays, held regular family prayers, and was a student of biblical prophecy.’
      • ‘Youth will begin the workshops with opening and closing prayers and a sunrise ceremony each day.’
      • ‘Friday afternoon prayers are widely attended and Muslim holidays are observed.’
      • ‘The mosque is now used by about 100 people for regular prayers and up to 200 for religious festivals.’
      • ‘Barring these, the place looked the very picture of a religious place where the prayers were about to begin.’
      • ‘Salat is the obligatory Muslim prayers, performed 5 times each day by every good Muslim.’
      • ‘A roll call was read out and Christian and Muslim prayers observed.’
      • ‘Those who remain on-site during the workday gather for midday prayers before eating lunch.’
      • ‘Last week they also gathered to attend Friday prayers, but did not hold discussions afterwards.’
      • ‘Scheduled prayers and services on Radio 4 throughout the week will reflect events.’
      • ‘There are about 30 mosques in the city where prayers are being held regularly.’
      • ‘Prayer for divine healing is held on Wednesdays at 7.45 pm.’
      • ‘With your graciousness come to honor her loving memory during the funeral services and prayers.’
      • ‘Before we got ready to sleep the three of us knelt together for prayers.’
      • ‘Never did I, or any other boy from a lower caste, get a chance to lead the prayers at the morning assembly.’
      • ‘A special prayer around the Cross for young people takes place for the Lenten Season.’
      • ‘Teachers and other dignitaries attended his funeral prayers in a large number.’
      • ‘The strike came as worshippers had gathered for afternoon prayers, witnesses said.’
      • ‘In legal writings the term is applied to the leader of the congregational prayers in the mosque.’
      • ‘The same dress code applies to marriages and funerals and normally applies to morning and evening prayer on Sundays.’
      religious worship, worship, religious observance
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 An earnest hope or wish.
      ‘it is our prayer that the current progress on human rights will be sustained’
      • ‘Our deepest sympathies, prayers and best wishes go out to our fellow citizens who were injured in the blast.’
      • ‘Villagers waiting more than 30 years for a new village hall hope their prayers will soon be answered.’
      • ‘Just when she is about to give up hope, the answer to her prayers seems to fall out of the sky.’
      • ‘So we got a lot of work ahead of us, but you know, we need all the hopes and the prayers from everybody at home.’
      • ‘We asked girls to share their thoughts, their hopes, their fears and their prayers.’
      • ‘He could only hope that someday his prayers would be answered.’
      • ‘She started the restaurant when her marriage dissolved, on little but hope and prayers.’
      • ‘To them, and to all of you, it is my wish and regular prayer that this new year will bring peace and harmony.’
      • ‘Swan will carry the hopes and prayers of Ireland as the country's current equine hero seeks to retain his crown.’
      • ‘But they are hoping the answer to their prayers lies in a disused warehouse on Westlea Industrial Estate.’
      • ‘You can send your prayers and good wishes to the families using the comments section below.’
      • ‘The hopes and prayers of red squirrel-loving people everywhere march with you.’
      • ‘With a silent prayer hoping that her plan would work, she threw the talisman at the demons.’

Phrases

  • not have a prayer

    • informal Have no chance at all of succeeding at something.

      ‘he doesn't have a prayer of toppling Tyson’
      • ‘Under his plan, you don't have a prayer of getting a flu shot, ladies and gentlemen.’
      • ‘The numbers mean that most people who can't afford a lawyer don't have a prayer of getting one for free.’
      • ‘If he relies on weapons like that, he doesn't have a prayer.’
      • ‘Logically, she doesn't have a prayer, but you never know what a jury's going to decide.’
      • ‘Information is often given to pros at road shows that average investors don't have a prayer of receiving.’
      • ‘He was doing the best he could, but he doesn't have a prayer in succeeding.’
      • ‘In July one didn't have a prayer of getting any equipment internally, no matter how important your group was.’
      • ‘A highly skilled mechanic with a bad attitude doesn't have a prayer in our camp.’
      • ‘Faced with such daunting challenges, a rural economy that values land ownership above land productivity doesn't have a prayer.’
      • ‘If you cannot write some big cheques you don't have a prayer, which means that the system always throws up the same people.’
      have no hope, not have a chance, not stand a chance, have no chance, stand no chance, not have the ghost of a chance, not stand the ghost of a chance
      View synonyms

Origin

Middle English: from Old French preiere, based on Latin precarius ‘obtained by entreaty’, from prex, prec- ‘prayer’.

Pronunciation

prayer

/prɛr//prer/