And it came to pass, when He was in a certain city, behold a man full of leprosy: who seeing Jesus fell on his face, and besought Him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. And He put forth His hand and touched him, saying, I will: be thou clean. And immediately the leprosy departed from him (Luke 5:12,13).
The Greek language is carefully definitive in its selection of words, making it an excellent vehicle for conveying New Testament truths. For example, there are seven kinds of prayer from seven major Greek words, each with a little different shade of meaning, three of which we will consider here: Deomai and its cognates appear 42 times in the New Testament. They indicate a desperate need, best described in English by the words beseeching, asking, or supplicating. In our verse above, the leper had a very great need, besought Jesus to heal him, and Jesus did. Proseuke, appearing 115 times, expresses the right attitude in prayer: turning ourselves over to God in surrender or consecration. This attitude is essential for effective prayer. In Romans 12:1, Paul beseeches us to present our bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God. . . . Aiteo, used 74 times, indicates that prayer must be accomplished by a strong desire, as in Philippians 4:6: Be careful (anxious) for nothing, but . . . by prayer and supplication . . . let your requests be made known unto God. Aiteo does not express quite the desperation of the leper who fell on his face, and besought the Lord to heal him.
It is humbling to realize that in II Corinthians 5:20, Paul uses the word deomai to describe the urgency and emotion with which he says we pray (beg) you in Christs stead, be ye reconciled to God. JLG