prayed; praying; prays

transitive verb

: entreat, implore
often used as a function word in introducing a question, request, or plea
pray be careful
: to get or bring by praying

intransitive verb

: to make a request in a humble manner
: to address God or a god with adoration, confession, supplication, or thanksgiving

Examples of pray in a Sentence

There's little else to do now but hope and pray. The minister said, “Let us pray.” He prayed that they would have the strength to go on. He prayed that he would find a parking spot.
Recent Examples on the Web The Founding Fathers knew of the fate of the 3,000 idolaters who prayed at the golden calf while Moses conversed with God on Mount Sinai, and of the money-changers driven from the Temple by Jesus. Bruce Fein, Baltimore Sun, 11 July 2024 There’s Anthony Davis – usually playing for the NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers – with a cross and praying hands across his forearm. Gustavo Morello, The Conversation, 10 July 2024 You’re left just hoping and praying for one kid, and that’s fine. Annie Daly, Allure, 9 July 2024 Community prayed for boy to pull through The boy’s grandmother shared updates on Facebook after the shooting and asked for prayers. Saleen Martin, USA TODAY, 8 July 2024 See all Example Sentences for pray 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'pray.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English, from Anglo-French prier, praer, preier, from Latin precari, from prec-, prex request, prayer; akin to Old High German frāga question, frāgēn to ask, Sanskrit pṛcchati he asks

First Known Use

13th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of pray was in the 13th century

Dictionary Entries Near pray

Cite this Entry

“Pray.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition


: to ask earnestly : beg
I pray you, tell me where they went
: to address God with adoration, confession, pleading, or thanksgiving

Legal Definition


transitive verb
: to ask for
plaintiff prays judgment against the defendants
used especially in pleadings

intransitive verb

: to make a request of a court especially in a complaint or petition
complainant prays for declaratory relief

More from Merriam-Webster on pray

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