Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Acronyms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
Related to prayer: The Lord's Prayer

not a hope in hell

Absolutely no possibility of succeeding, coming to pass, or achieving something. There's not a hope in hell that you'll find me living in this town after I graduate.
See also: hell, hope, not

have a prayer

To not have any chance at all of doing or achieving something. With that giant supermarket opening up across the street, our little grocery store won't have a prayer of staying open. You think you can beat me? Ha! You don't have a prayer.
See also: have, prayer

not have a prayer

To be completely impossible or incredibly unlikely; to have no chance whatsoever. Usually followed by "of." As a Democrat, you won't have a snowball's chance in hell of winning an election in this part of Texas. We don't have a chance in hell of catching up to their score.
See also: have, not, prayer

the/an answer to (one's) prayers

The perfect solution to a desperate need. Can be used literally (when one has actually prayed) or in a more figurative sense. I really believe this job was the answer to my prayer for a better life. This grant is an answer to our prayers. The center can stay open now!
See also: answer, prayer

on a wing and a prayer

Without much preparation (and thus little hope of success). I didn't have time to edit my term paper so I just submitted it on a wing and a prayer.
See also: and, on, prayer, wing

in someone's prayers

[of someone] remembered and called by name when someone prays. I am sorry to hear of your sickness. You will be in our prayers. The whole family is in my prayers because they have suffered so much.
See also: prayer

*on a wing and a prayer

Fig. to arrive or fly in with one's plane in very bad condition. (Sometimes used fig. of other vehicles. *Typically: come (in) ~; arrive ~.) Finally we could see the plane through the smoke, coming in on a wing and a prayer.
See also: and, on, prayer, wing

not a hope in hell

Also, not a prayer. No chance at all, as in There's not a hope in hell that we have a winning bid, or If you don't watch the conductor you won't have a prayer of coming in on time. The first term was first recorded in 1923, the second in 1941. Both allude to the chance for heavenly salvation. Also see snowball's chance in hell.
See also: hell, hope, not

prayer, not a

see under not a hope in hell.
See also: not

not have a prayer

If you say that someone does not have a prayer, you mean that it is impossible for them to achieve something. The team was on such good form, their opponents didn't have a prayer. He did not seem to have a prayer of regaining the world title.
See also: have, not, prayer

on a wing and a prayer

If you do something on a wing and a prayer, you do it in the hope that you will succeed, even though you do not have what you need to do it. Dozens of airlines have entered the industry on a wing and a prayer, and dozens have gone bankrupt. In the past, teams have been run on a wing and a prayer. Note: This is the title of a song by H. Adamson, written in 1943, which referred to the emergency landing of an aircraft: `Tho' there's one motor gone, we can still carry on, Comin' In On A Wing And A Pray'r.'
See also: and, on, prayer, wing
References in classic literature ?
Why do you expose me to it during prayers and in God's house?
His life in solitude was hard--not on account of the fasts and the prayers (they were no hardship to him) but on account of an inner conflict he had not at all anticipated.
Then he dropped the folds of the cassock again and began reading the prayers, making the sign of the cross and prostrating himself.
He easily raised his light and emaciated body on his strong sinewy legs and tried to continue saying his prayers, but instead of doing so he involuntarily strained his hearing.
He did not reply and she heard him muttering something, probably his prayers.
He did not reply, but continued to read his prayers.
She tucked the child up in bed, mentally vowing that she should be taught a prayer the very next day, and was leaving the room with the light when Anne called her back.
I'd forgotten it, but I felt a prayer should be finished off in some way, so I put in the other.
Will you believe that she never said a prayer in her life till tonight?
God always wants little girls to say their prayers.
Don't you know it's a terrible wicked thing not to say your prayers every night?
And anyhow I'd always be too tired at night to bother saying prayers.
With a slight bow to Levin he began immediately reading prayers in the official voice.
For all my tears, my cares, My exile, and my chains, I have my youth, my prayers, And God, who counts my pains.
I fear that this was in some measure owing to the fact that Tom could probably have thrashed any boy in the room except the prepostor; at any rate, every boy knew that he would try upon very slight provocation, and didn't choose to run the risk of a hard fight because Tom Brown had taken a fancy to say his prayers.