2171 EUCHE (3): a vow made to God to perform certain actions, such as shaving one's head, as in Act.18.18: "But Paul, having still stayed there many days, saying farewell to the brothers sailed away to Syria, and with him Priscilla and Aquila; having cut the hair of his head in Cenchrea, for he had [made] a vow (euche)." Also, Act.21.23-24 (addressed to Paul): "So then, do this which we tell you: We have four men with us having a vow (euche) on themselves. Take them and spend [money] on them so that they will shave [their] heads, and all men will know that there is nothing [to] what they have been told about you."
Note that vows made under the Law of Moses and the two vows mentioned above were between each individual and God. They were voluntary and were for personal purposes. The context of these two passages indicates that the vows were made by Jewish Christians, and that the custom of making vows was still practiced at that time, even though the Law of Moses had been "nailed to the cross." For more information concerning vows see Lev.27, Num.6 and Num.30.
But (euche) has a much different meaning in Jas.5.13-15. The intensity and earnestness of a vow to God carries over into the usage of euche as a kind of prayer: "Is anyone among you+ undergoing hardship? let him pray (proseuchomai). Is anyone cheerful? let him sing a poem. Is anyone among you+ sick? let him call the older men to him and let them pray (proseuchomai ) over him, having rubbed him with oil in the name of the Master. And the earnest prayer (euche) of trust will heal the one who is sick, and the Master will raise him. And if he has been persuaded [into] wrongdoings he will be forgiven."
When euche means an "earnest prayer," the communication is still from man to God, but is intended for the benefit of others rather than self.
See "prayer" (4335 proseuche ) for a listing of other kinds of prayers.
2172 EUCHOMAI (6): to earnestly pray to God. Euchomai is the verb form of euche, above. In the FCM it always means "to pray earnestly," as in Act.27.29: "...and being afraid lest we might crash somewhere against rough places, they put out four anchors and prayed earnestly (euchomai) for day[light] to come." Also, Act.26.28-29: "Then Agrippa [said] to Paul, 'You are persuading me with a little, to make me a Christian.' And Paul [said], 'I earnestly pray (euchomai) to God, whether with a little or with much, [for the] possibility [that] not only you but also all those hearing me today also become such as I am, except these bonds.'"
So, this "earnest praying" may originate with believers or unbelievers for something like personal safety, as in Act.27.29; or may be for spiritual good to others, whether believers or unbelievers, as in the other four passages in which euchomai occurs. It is the kind of prayer that anyone might pray in an emergency or in serious trouble; a crying out to God for help.
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