Earnest Prayer: a study of the Greek word energeo

Energeo.  We said earlier that earnestness, by the word ektenos, conveyed the idea of not relaxing in effort.  Well, energeo carries on that idea but goes further.  Energeo brings the idea of work being efficient, effective and productive.  In prayer our earnestness is effective for only one reason—because God is helping us.  He is the one who puts earnestness in us, and helps our prayers to be productive.  He works His power in us so that whatever effort we make in prayer, that work becomes effective—so that it will bring answers to our prayers.  But more than that, when He works in us by His mighty power—as He is putting His own earnestness into our prayers—He will bring things into our life that far exceed what we ever thought of asking for (Eph. 3:20).

Elijah was a great example of one who prayed with true earnestness—earnestness that was effective.  James tells us (in James 5:17-18) that “He prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months.  And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruits.” 

Now that is effective and productive prayer!  But what made his prayers so effective?  Was it just pure earnestness and striving?  No!  More than that; he toiled in prayer with the power of God as He lived a life that was pleasing to God.  James 5:16 says, “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (Energeo is the word used here to describe Elijah’s prayer.).  Thus, when we commit ourselves to God in doing His work, as Elijah did, He will work His power and earnestness in us to produce great and wonderful results.  This is earnestness at its best.


About Stephen Nielsen

I'm an author, a self publisher, and a painting contractor. I live in beautiful Minnesota, USA . Welcome to my blog site.
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3 Responses to Earnest Prayer: a study of the Greek word energeo

  1. Anonymous says:

    Stephen, Thanks for the insight on earnestness and energy. Helpful in my devotional I wrote today to my staff. I am the president of a small ministry in Colorado Springs that helps churches around the world use sports to share the good news of salvation in Christ. http://www.uwsportsministry.org Thanks Tim Conrad

  2. Stephen says:

    Thanks Tim,
    I’m glad this writing was helpful to you. One thing about this idea of earnest prayer that I have found helpful recently is that our prayers are made earnest (or effective) when we confess our sins to each other and pray for each other. This is brought out in James 5:16 where this word is used. So we see that when confession of sins are made a cleaning and healing is brought about and then our prayers are given energy and effectiveness.

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