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First Things First

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Back ground and Definitions

Talk to God

PetitionsThe first is deēsis, which we have translated as request. It is not exclusively a religious word; it can be used of a request made either to another person or to God. But its fundamental idea is a sense of need. No one will make a request unless a sense of need has already wakened a desire. Prayer begins with a sense of need. It begins with the conviction that we cannot deal with life ourselves. That sense of human weakness is the basis of all approach to God. As Joseph Hart’s hymn ‘Come ye sinners’ has it:
Barclay, W. (2003). The Letters to Timothy, Titus, and Philemon (3rd ed. fully rev. and updated, pp. 63–64). Louisville, KY; London: Westminster John Knox Press.
The Letters to Timothy, Titus, and Philemon The Way of Prayer (1 Timothy 2:1–7 Contd)

The second is proseuchē, which we have translated as prayer. The basic difference between deēsis and proseuchē is that deēsis may be addressed either to others or to God, but proseuchē is never used of anything else but approach to God. There are certain needs which only God can satisfy. There is a strength which he alone can give; a forgiveness which he alone can grant; a certainty which he alone can bestow. It may well be that our weakness remains with us because we so often take our needs to the wrong place.

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