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Whose Prayer Is This Anyway?

But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.  Luke 5:16 NIV

Photo courtesy of pixabay.Lonely? Why would anyone seek loneliness?

One morning while sipping my coffee, I happily read from the book of Luke. Then, I reached chapter five where the writer said Jesus often withdrew to lonely places. Wait? As an introvert, I don’t think of my solitude and lonely places as lonely. They are restoring.

So, why did the translators choose the word lonely to describe Jesus’ prayer place? Was it possible the original word had a different meaning?

I discovered lonely was directly translated from the Greek word erémos, meaning wilderness. The word can also be an adjective meaning solitary or desolate. None of the descriptors have to mean lonely. Comforted by my newly discovered information, I was about to move on, but something prompted me to look up the word prayed.

Proseuchomai means to pray. Pros means towards, exchange. Euxomai means to exchange wishes. When the two are combined, the word means, “to interact with the Lord by switching human wishes (ideas) for His wishes as He imparts faith.”

Wait a second. God is supposed to answer my prayers, right? Since when am I supposed to pray His prayers? What if He wants something I don’t? I flinched as my flesh reared its ugly and selfish head.

Like many of us, I get caught in the age-old battle of sacrifice and trust versus selfishness and fear. Sometimes the battle is easy, such as agreeing with God’s wishes for someone to be saved. But what about when it comes to what He wants for my life? That’s often a hard-fought choice—a willed crucifixion of my desires—that is sometimes accompanied by kicking, screaming, and denial. Only later do I admit God was spot-on. In my need to be right—to determine my own destiny—I can lose sight of God’s plan.

Thankfully, God has mercy on my humanity. The last and key portion of the definition is “as He imparts faith.” God helps us in our weakness—even in prayer. He meets us and provides faith, confidence, and peace that the sacrifice of our desires for His is the correct choice.

The next time your flesh overruns your prayers, remember to pause, wait for God to impart His faith, and trust He will provide.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

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Felicia Ferguson

Felicia achieved master's degrees in healthcare administration and Speech-Language Pathology but has written since childhood and dreamed of authoring books that teach and inspire others. An award-winning fiction and non-fiction freelance writer, she is the past president of the Destin chapter of Word Weavers International and a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers Association. Her radio devotional, Build Faith for the Journey, airs Saturdays on Christian Mix 106. As a child, Felicia lived in Kansas, Texas, and Louisiana before her family settled on a horse and cattle farm in Kentucky. For the past ten years, though, she soaked up the Florida sun. But then God moved her once again. This time out of the South and into the mountains of Colorado. When she’s not glued to her laptop, Felicia enjoys hiking, meandering with her twelve-year-old Frenchie, and looking forward to the next story.