The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Pray \Pray\, v. i. [imp. & p. p. Prayed; p. pr. & vb. n.
Praying.] [OE. preien, OF. preier, F. prier, L. precari,
fr. prex, precis, a prayer, a request; akin to Skr. prach to
ask, AS. frignan, fr[imac]nan, fricgan, G. fragen, Goth.
fra['i]hnan. Cf. Deprecate, Imprecate, Precarious.]
To make request with earnestness or zeal, as for something
desired; to make entreaty or supplication; to offer prayer to
a deity or divine being as a religious act; specifically, to
address the Supreme Being with adoration, confession,
supplication, and thanksgiving.
And to his goddess pitously he preyde. --Chaucer.
When thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou
hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in
secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall
reward thee openly. --Matt. vi. 6.
I pray, or (by ellipsis) Pray, I beg; I request; I
entreat you; -- used in asking a question, making a
request, introducing a petition, etc.; as, Pray, allow me
I pray, sir. why am I beaten? --Shak.
Syn: To entreat; supplicate; beg; implore; invoke; beseech;