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makes a fervent request; beseeches; implores; offers a prayer to a deity: prays for guidance
Not to be confused with:
praise – glorify, exalt; acclamation, approbation, compliment; laud: Her performance received praise from all the critics.
preys – victimizes: preys upon the poor
Abused, Confused, & Misused Words by Mary Embree Copyright © 2007, 2013 by Mary Embree


v. prayed, pray·ing, prays
To utter or address a prayer or prayers to a deity or an object of worship, often as an entreaty: people praying in the pews of the church; people praying for divine guidance; people praying for their loved ones.
1. To use prayer to request (that something may happen): The congregation prayed that the drought would end soon. The child prayed to be more considerate of others.
2. To say (a prayer or group of prayers): pray the rosary.
3. To make a devout or earnest request for: I pray your forgiveness.
4. To utter or say a prayer or prayers to; address by prayer: "I pray Heaven that I never may forget the dear girl" (Charles Dickens).
5. Archaic To ask (someone) imploringly for something; beseech. Used chiefly in the phrase I pray you to introduce a polite or urgent request or question: I pray you be careful.
Used to make a polite or urgent request or question: Pray don't apologize.

[Middle English preien, from Old French preier, from Latin precārī, from precēs, pl. of *prex, prayer; see prek- in Indo-European roots.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
References in classic literature ?
"As one community, without distinction of class, without enmity, united by brotherly love- let us pray!" thought Natasha.
"For the world of angels and all the spirits who dwell above us," prayed Natasha.
Two neighbours came before Jupiter and prayed him to grant their hearts' desire.
When Father Sergius assured her that only God could heal the sick, she replied that she only wanted him to lay his hands on the boy and pray for him.
He remembered the parable of the unjust judge, and though he had previously felt sure that he ought to refuse, he now began to hesitate and, having hesitated, took to prayer and prayed until a decision formed itself in his soul.
hear you, Master Doctor; now you have sent away my guess, I pray who shall pay me for my a
Why did not Faustus tell us of this before, that divines might have prayed for thee?
And when he crouched to pray; Who watched him lest himself should rob
Gray figures on the floor, And wondered why men knelt to pray
--Because ye at last did again as children do--namely, prayed, folded your hands and said 'good God'!
But now leave, I pray you, THIS nursery, mine own cave, where to-day all childishness is carried on.
"Doubt is natural to the weakness of mankind, but we must pray that God in His mercy will strengthen us.