prayer

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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

not a hope (or chance) in hell

no hope (or chance) at all. informal
An elaboration of this phrase is not a snowball's chance in hell .
See also: hell, hope, not

not have a prayer

have no chance at all of succeeding at something. informal
1998 Oldie Show them you can re-programme the computer to eliminate the Millennium Problem and you are in. Confess that you don't even know how to turn it on, and you haven't a prayer.
See also: have, not, prayer

on a wing and a prayer

with only the slightest chance of success.
This expression comes from the title of a 1943 song by the American songwriter Harold Adamson , ‘Comin' in on a Wing and a Prayer’. He himself took it from a contemporary comment made by a wartime pilot speaking to ground control before making an emergency landing.
See also: and, on, prayer, wing

the ˌanswer to somebody’s ˈprayers

a thing or a person that somebody has waited for or wanted for a long time: If you’ve been looking for a good quality fleece at a reasonable price, this one could be the answer to your prayers.
See also: answer, prayer

not have a ˈprayer (of doing something)

have no chance of succeeding: She’s done no work at all this term, so she doesn’t have a prayer of passing her exams.
See also: have, not, prayer

on a ˌwing and a ˈprayer

with only a very slight chance of success: He started the business in his own home, on a wing and a prayer, but it looks like he’s really going to make a success of it.This expression was first used in the military to describe how pilots flying very badly damaged planes succeeded in returning to base.
See also: and, on, prayer, wing
References in classic literature ?
It is the hour of prayer and I have not yet washed myself.
So he went back in anger, and Apollo, who loved him dearly, heard his prayer.
Father Jove, if I ever did you service in word or deed among the immortals, hear my prayer, and do honour to my son, whose life is to be cut short so early.
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.
And anyhow I'd always be too tired at night to bother saying prayers.
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.
No, it seems to be beginning again," he thought, listening to the prayers.
If the Eternal Ear could ever tire it would have ceased long ere this to listen to Deacon Milliken, who had wafted to the throne of grace the same prayer, with very slight variations, for forty years.
Men who their hands, with prayer and blessing, lay On Israel's ark of light.
He had inherited from his mother some acquaintance with medicinal herbs and their preparation--a little store of wisdom which she had imparted to him as a solemn bequest--but of late years he had had doubts about the lawfulness of applying this knowledge, believing that herbs could have no efficacy without prayer, and that prayer might suffice without herbs; so that the inherited delight he had in wandering in the fields in search of foxglove and dandelion and coltsfoot, began to wear to him the character of a temptation.
It includes, for instance,-- what is a command, a prayer, a statement, a threat, a question, an answer, and so forth.
Then she heard the muttered words of prayer, in the midst of which she started, and would have arisen.
I thank you, good deities," said the Herdsman, continuing his prayer, "for showing me the thief.
5) And so hail to you, lord: in my song I make my prayer to thee!