[Note: This is an excerpt from What is "prayer" according to the scriptures?. It is important enough to have a heading of its own.]
Most people are familiar with 1 Thess 5:17
"Pray without ceasing." (KJV)Does this make sense? Should we be in "prayer" 24/7/365, as "prayer" is defined in English?
Let's first look at the word for "without ceasing."
αδιαλειπτως (Strong's G89, "adialeiptOs"), is a combination of α (Strong's G1, "a"), which is the negative particle meaning "without," just like the English prefix, δια (Strong's G1223, "dia"), which is the preposition/prefix "through," and λειπω (Strong's G3007, also LSJ #64294, "leipo"), which is a verb that means to quit/fail/lack/leave.
The verb λειπω is in the following places:
Luke 18:22 "...still one thing you are lacking. Sell everything..."The prepostion/prefix δια adds a sense of continuance, persistence, thoroughness, or permanence to the "lack." διαλειπω (LSJ #25995, "dialeipo," found in other classical literature) means to leave an interval or gap between.
Tit 1:5 "...that you should be amending what is lacking..."
Tit 3:13 "...that nothing may be lacking..."
James 1:4 "that you may be...lacking nothing..."
James 1:5 "...if any of you is lacking wisdom..."
James 2:15 "...if a brother or sister should be...lacking nourishment..."
The particle/prefix α negates it.
The -ως ending makes it an adverb.
So the combination is literally "without-through-quitting-ly" or "un-intermittently."
Besides 1 Thess 5:17, in the New Testament the adverb αδιαλειπτως is also in:
Rom 1:9 "...as/how αδιαλειπτως I am making recollection of you always upon the prayers (προσευχων, "pros-euchon") of me.The same thing as an adjective (with the -ος, etc., ending), αδιαλειπτος (Strong's G88, "adialeiptos"), is also in
1 Thess 1:3 "αδιαλειπτως remembering of-you(plural) the work of-the faith and the toil of-the love and the endurance of the expectation of the Lord of-us..."
1 Thess 2:13 "...and we are thanking to-the God αδιαλειπτως..."
Rom 9:2 "that sorrow to-me is great and αδιαλειπτος pain to-the heart of me"So you can see that the sense is something that does not quit/cease, or is without a gap in interval, or is un-intermittent.
2 Tim 1:3 "...as I am having αδιαλειπτον remembrance concerning you..."
Coming back around to "praying," 1 Thess 5:17 says,
"προσευχεσθε αδιαλειπτως"Here's the thing: The command, at face value, is "without ceasing," "without a gap," or "un-intermittently." That would mean 24/7/365. If this was English "praying," then that would mean no eating, no sleeping, no talking (except to God), and, well, you see the dilemma.
But if it's a "toward-vow" then there is no problem with this verse. You make the vow toward something and then you don't quit the vow.
You don't quit, you don't pull back, you don't back off, from your declaration or intent made in faith.
Here you see that the actual Koine Greek definition of the word makes sense, whereas the English traditional meaning of "praying" does not.