Fortress Press

They Cried to the Lord: The Form and Theology of Biblical Prayer

They Cried to the Lord

The Form and Theology of Biblical Prayer

Patrick D. Miller (Author)


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Both compellingly and clearly, Patrick D. Miller introduces biblical prayer in all its varied forms and from different angles: the prayers of Israel's neighbors, the names of God in prayer, prayers for help, the response of God, praise, the prayers of women, confession and penitence, prayers for others, blessing and curse, and Jesus and Paul at prayer.

The perspective throughout is that of faith—and its relation to prayer and theology. The result is a book of importance for church members, students, scholars, and others.
  • Publisher Fortress Press
  • ISBN 9780800627621
  • Format Paperback
  • Dimensions 6 x 9
  • Pages 480
  • Publication Date August 1, 1994


"Some of us theorize about the possibility of doing biblical theology, but Patrick Miller practices it. His inclusion of the New Testament witness on prayer is not just an appendix to his work but a masterful contribution to the subject. His discussion of the continuity between the Testaments is held in fruitful tension with the issue of other perspectives that the new Testament opens up."
— J. Christiaan Beker

"This is an excellent book on faith's center and source of power. Patrick Miller shows the wealth and diversity of forms and effects prayer has and , along the way, introduces the reader to the theology and spirituality of the Old and New Testament traditions. This volume will become a standard work not only for exegetes but also for both practical and systematic theologians, for pastors, and for anyone interested in understanding the foundations of piety."
— Michael Welker

"Patrick Miller's book on biblical prayer is simultaneously scholarly and inspiring. His consummate knowledge of canonical texts and related ancient Near Eastern material combines with his superb theological understanding to produce a landmark study that touches both the mind and the heart of the reader."
— Paul D. Hanson


"I have sought to take a broad and detailed look at the shape of prayer, its primary features, structure, and content in its various forms, and in that context to discern something of the theology of prayer, but even more determinedly of the character of the God to whom these prayers are lifted, the human ones who utter them in joy and sorrow, and what we can discern from them about the divine-human relation."
— from the Introduction

"Prayer and theology exist in relation to each other in a correcting circle, the one learning from the other and correcting the other."
— from the Introduction

Table of Contents


  1. "What Other Great Nation Has a God So Near to It?": Israel's Neighbors at Prayer

  2. "Whenever We Call": Prayer by Any Name

  3. "They Cried to You": Prayers for Help

  4. "Do Not Be Afraid": The Response of God

  5. "O Give Thanks to the Lord": Doxology and Trust

  6. "Things Too Wonderful": Prayers Women Prayed

  7. "We Have Sinned": Prayers of Confession and Penitence

  8. "Intercession for the Transgressors": Prayer for Others

  9. "The Lord Bless You": Blessing and Curse

  10. "Teach Us to Pray": The Futher Witness of the New Testament

    Appendix 1: A Structural Outline of Prayers for Help and Intercession in Prose Texts

    Appendix 2: The Form of the Hymn of Praise

    Index of Scriptural References