Earnest Prayer: a study of the Greek word ektenos

Prayer A to Z

 

According to Thayer’s Greek Lexicon, this Greek word “[comes] from a verb which means to ‘stretch out the hand,’ thus it means to be stretched out.”  In prayer, it conveys the idea of praying fervently, without ceasing and not relaxing in effort.  This kind of prayer is a continuous prayer of straining and stretching to gain the answer.

Ektenos is found only twice in the New Testament.  In Acts 12:5, it is used to describe the kind of prayer the church prayed for Peter, who was kept in prison.  In this verse ektenos has been translated at least four different ways.  The NIV and the RSV translate it as “earnestly praying” and “earnest prayer for him was made.”  The KJV translates ektenos as prayer “without ceasing,” the NKJV as “constant prayer,” and the NASB as prayer being made “fervently.”  I’m not sure which one of the translations is the…

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