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The earliest may not be easy to find, but I'll put a marker down. St Ephraim the Syrian, who died in 373, prayed: Ye victorious martyrs who endured torments gladly for the sake of the God and Saviour; ye who have boldness of speech towards the Lord Himself; ye saints, intercede for us who are timid and sinful men, full of sloth, that the grace of Christ ...


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Most Christian traditions (I'd not like to speak for all) would say yes, prayer involves more than supplication. TEC (The Episcopal Church in the USA) outlines various forms of prayer in its catechism: What are the principle [sic] kinds of prayer? A. The principle kinds of prayer are adoration, praise, thanksgiving, penitence, oblation, ...


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Saint Jerome (347-420 AD) spoke of the practice with approval, saying: "If the Apostles and Martyrs, while still in the body, can pray for others, at a time when they must still be anxious for themselves, how much more after their crowns, victories, and triumphs are won!" His wording indicates that it was a common practice at the time: so there is ...


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It certainly doesn't have to include supplication. My 2-year-old daughter regularly prays: Thank you Jesus for my food. Amen. There's no supplication there, but it's certainly prayer. Romans 11:33-36 is also a prayer, but it's praise and adoration, with no supplication. Similarly Romans 16:25-27, or Psalm 8.



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